Satisfactory Essays
Fasting, Feasting Topics for Discussion
Discuss what you think the author really means by "fasting" and "feasting." What are the physical and emotional implications of each?
How do you think the story would have been different if it had been Uma who had gone to America instead of Arun?
Do you think Anamika and Aruna ended up having better lives than Uma did? Explain why or why not.
What commonalities do you see in the dynamics of both families? What things are vastly different?
Discuss the importance of everyday spirituality in India as opposed to the apparent lack of any spiritual substance exhibited by the lives of the Pattons.
Why do you think Mrs. Patton has not recognized Melanie's obvious cries for help when they are clearly
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7. Arun "ponders these omens and indicators" of life in Massachusetts—the objects that adorn the interiors and exteriors of the houses. What do these "omens and indicators" reveal to Arun and to us as his summer stay with the Potters proceeds?

8. What differences and similarities are there between the Indian and American families, between corresponding members of the two families (for example, Mama and Mrs. Potter), and between the their communities?

9. "I've always been aware of food as an obsession," Desai has said. What function does food play in the novel? How does food provide both "focus and continuity" in both societies?

10. What instances and images of imprisonment and entrapment occur in the novel's two parts? To what extent is entrapment of one kind or another envisioned as an inescapable fact of life?

11. What are the purposes of the various rituals, ceremonies, traditions, and routines—personal, social, and religious—that are observed in the novel's two parts? What are the consequences of ignoring tradition and custom and of disrupting established routine?

12. Arun takes up jogging, having recognized the American joggers' struggle "to free themselves and find, through endeavor most primitive, through strain and suffering, that open space, that unfettered vacuum where the undiscovered America still lies ..." Why does Arun partake of this American struggle?

13. How does Desai establish Mama
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