Fasting Feasting by Anita Desai

1899 Words Aug 12th, 2013 8 Pages
Part 1, Chapters 1 and 2 Summary
Anita Desai's novel of intricate family relations plays out in two countries, India and the United States. The core characters comprise a family living in a small town in India, where provincial customs and attitudes dictate the futures of all children: girls are to be married off and boys are to become as educated as possible. The story contrasts the life of the main character, Uma, the family's older daughter, with Arun, the boy and baby of the family. Uma spends her life in subservience to her older demanding parents, while massive effort and energy is expended to insure Arun's education and placement in a university in Massachusetts.
As the story begins, Uma's parents, Mama and Papa, swing on the
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Mama actively responds to matrimonial ads in the newspapers; but most people reply that they are looking for someone younger or more beautiful than Uma. After many rejections the family is disheartened about Uma's prospects for marriage. Then, one day, a response comes that a man is interested in meeting Uma. The prospective bridegroom is older, was married before, and works in the pharmaceutical industry. The man is positioned as being responsible...
Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary
On an evening when Mama and Papa have gone out to play cards, Uma finds herself in a rare moment alone in the house. Because Uma has so little time to herself, she delights in indulging in one of her favorite pastimes without fear of interruption by Mama, Papa or the cook. For years, Uma has collected Christmas cards given to her by Mrs. O'Henry, the Baptist missionary's wife, Mother Agnes, and other friends who know of Uma's love for the cards.
After putting the card collection away, Uma stealthily dials Mrs. O'Henry's phone number, afraid that Papa will appear at any minute and demand an explanation for this unwarranted behavior. Uma learns that Mrs. O'Henry is not at home so Uma slams down the phone and proceeds to the veranda where she swings in the moonlight until Mama and Papa return home.
Before long, Aruna has accepted a marriage...
Part 1, Chapters 10 and 11 Summary
Mrs. O'Henry invites Uma to a coffee party, much