The Village by the Sea: Reaching the end, going back to the beginning.

This novel has taken us on a journey from Thul to Bombay, and from Bombay to Thul. In the middle of this journey we encountered different obstacles, reflected upon different circumstances, and felt different feelings.

Here are some essay questions that focus on some of the many aspects of analysis The Village by the Sea offers. Pick a mate, choose ONE of the following and write.

  1. The Village by the Sea is dense with cultural signifiers: rituals, festivals, climatic phenomena, food, clothes, religious practices and so on. All these make up Indian identity. To what extent can we say that Anita Desai’s novel is a portrayal of Indianness?
  2. The Village by the Sea is narrated in 3rd person. However, the narrative technique is focalized: in other words, it shows a very specific perspective – that of Indian childhood. Discuss how imagery, themes, linguistic choices and symbols contribute to building up this particular point of view.
  3. The Village by the Sea depicts Hari’s journey to Bombay and back home and his development as a character that grows from childhood into a certain maturity. How far would you say this novel is a rite-of-passage text?
  4. The role of men and women seems to be clear cut in Hindu families and communities. Discuss how being either female or male impacts on the identity and life of some of the characters in the novel The Village by the Sea.
  5. The Village by the Sea tackles some sociopolitical issues which affect plot development. Taking into account Biju’s business, the differences between villagers and city people, the setting of factories in Thul, the role of the Sahib, etc. describe the different points of view and discourses present in the novel and analyse how far social background has an effect upon the decisions characters make.

Voice your feelings, analyses and ideas, but always make sure you illustrate with clear examples and suitable quotations.

thevillagebythesea

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