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.


«Poinsettias», by Beverley Naidoo

Dear Senior 4,

As promised here’s the file to the story I mentioned in class, «Poinsettias», written by the same author as of Journey to Jo’burg.

Read it focusing on the issues we have been dealing with: Racism, Segregation, Apartheid, and whatever else the text sparks off in you.

We’ll discuss it next Wednesday, April 6th, so bring a print out to class with your notes and highlights.

Enjoy it! And reflect…



Journey to Jo’burg: Travelling across Centuries of Segregation

Set during the Apartheid in South Africa, Beverley Naidoo’s Journey to Jo’burg triggered interesting discussions around the topic of segregation. Concepts llike discrimination, racism and, of course, segregation, inevitably came up in students’ thoughts and opinions.

So, after working on context, text and some intertexts, such as an article on «Pass Laws» in South Africa in the twentieth century and a poem by Wole Soyinka entitled «Telephone Conversation», students were asked to think about instances in history or in everyday life in which segregation, racism and/or discrimination could be identified.

You can explore their work below!

Guille Allende, Abril Lopez E. and Lucìa Paz worked on bullying as an instance of discrimination.

Mechi Anelo worked on the novel The Help and its film adaptation to illustrate segregation in the U.S. 

Cami Carnemolla and Valen Liotti analysed a song which provides a positive message regarding difference.

Diego Goldaracena and Lucas Posse delved into Nazi Germany’s frame of mind.

Vicky González Navarte and Jose Zubizarreta worked on a poem about the K.K.K.

Mati Grande and Santi Montoya made a presentation about Nelson Mandela and his life work against segregation.

Juan Landolfo and Pipe Reynal explored what life of an immigrant was like in the U.S. in the 1920`s by focusing on the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

Juli Molmenti and Cande Zufriategui traced gay history in Russia and how homosexuality is still an issue nowadays.

Delfi Urso worked on Nazism and analysed a segment of the film The Wall.