Fasting Feasting By Anita Desai

901 Words4 Pages
Anita Desai’s novel Fasting, Feasting, is a two part novel set in the 20th century. The first part is situated in India, while the second is situated in Western Massachusetts, in the United States. Desai focuses very seriously on the theme of gender and social roles, particularly referring to female characters. The author reveals that America’s society, in those days, placed gender expectations to its members, especially regarding to female beauty. The written task intends to show how and why American women are represented through the character of Mrs Patton. This is the reason why, in this essay I will analyse the first prescribed question, “How and why is a social group represented in a particular way?”, of the topic “Power and Privilege”. In the text, Mrs. Patton is the sister of Mrs. O'Henry, the wife of Mr. Patton and the mother of Rod and Melanie. Also, she is the one who invites Arun to stay with her and her family in Western Massachusetts. Desai presented her character in order to portray the stereotypical women of America.…show more content…
In several moments of the novel, such as in “It seems to be frying in the sun because she has spread quantities of oil over it” where Mrs Patton is depicted sunbathing. At this point it is explicit that women living in America are fascinated with hazardous grades of thinness and over-tanning, which are the ideals of female beauty. It is revealed that Mrs Patton seeks to keep herself cheerful with the shopping and her sun-bathing. What is more, this enthusiasm that Mrs Patton has with her body image is also a concern to her children. It is shown that they both deal with the obsession of thinness, however, they struggle to maintain skinny in different ways. Rod is always jogging, and only eats late at night. Melanie, instead, is always eating fast food despite she never finishes digesting food and always throws it
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