Like most other stories of initiation, The Peacock Spring shows how painful it is to lose one’s illusions. With her mother dead, Una has persuaded herself that her father loves her as much as she does him. Ignoring the fact that he had previously sent her away when his second wife, Hal’s mother, took a dislike to her, Una has continued to think of herself as her father’s favorite companion. Only her anticipation of once again being close to him tempers her unhappiness about leaving her school and giving up her hopes for a university education. Almost as soon as she arrives in Delhi, however, she realizes that she is not particularly important to her father. This is her first disillusionment.
Ironically, in her relationship with Ravi, Una repeats the pattern and thus makes a second disillusionment inevitable. Abandoning her interest in mathematics, Una focuses on Ravi, his poetry, and his future. She appears to be to Ravi what Alix has become to her father. She forgets how careful Edward has been to safeguard himself, however, so that he will not have to sacrifice his career for his romance. Ravi, too, is prudent when he sees that marriage to Una would cost him his position in his family and his future as a poet. Because she has given up her mathematics to become his muse, Una cannot believe that Ravi will not sacrifice everything for her and for their child. Again, she is disappointed.
Una’s perception is of personal betrayal,...
(The entire section is 513 words.)