Clear Light of Day

Tara and Bim attempt to reconcile their childhood dreams with their adult lives and work to resolve the lingering guilt of past family conflicts. When Tara returns for a visit with Bimla and Baba, old memories and tensions resurface and blend into a domestic drama that is intensely beautiful and leads to profound self-understanding. Their struggles with autonomy and independence are echoed in the backdrop of the newly-partitioned nation Plot summary The book is split into four sections covering the Das family from the children’s perspective in this order: adulthood, adolescence, childhood, and the time perspective returns to adulthood.
The book centers on the Das family, who have grown apart with adulthood. It starts with Tara, the wife of Bakul, India’s ambassador to America, greeting her sister Bimla (Bim), who is a history teacher living in Old Delhi as well as their autistic brother Baba’s caretaker. Their conversation eventually comes to Raja, their brother who lives in Hyderabad. Bim doesn’t want to go to the wedding of Raja’s daughter, showing Tara an old letter from when Raja became her landlord, unintentionally insulting her after the death of his father in law. 2] In part two the setting switches to partition era India, when the characters are adolescents in what is now Bim’s house. Raja is severely ill with tuberculosis and is left to Bim’s ministrations. Aunt Mira (Mira masi), their supposed caretaker after the death of the children’s often absent parents, becomes alcoholic and dies of alcoholism. Earlier Raja’s fascination with Urdu attracts the attention of the family’s Muslimlandlord, Hyder Ali, whom Raja Idolizes. When he heals, Raja follows Hyder Ali to Hyderabad.
Tara escapes from the situation through marriage to Bakul. Bim is then left to provide for Baba alone, in the midst of the partition and the death of Gandhi. [3] In part three Bim, Raja and Tara are depicted in pre-partition India awaiting the birth of their brother Baba. Aunt Mira, widowed by her husband and mistreated by her in-laws, is brought in to help with Baba, who is autistic, and to raise the children. Raja is fascinated with poetry. He shares a close bond with Bim, the head girl at school, although they often exclude Tara.

Tara wants to be a mother although this fact brings ridicule from Raja and Bim, who want to be a hero and a heroine, respectively. [4] The final section returns to modern India and showcases Tara confronting Bim over the Raja’s daughter’s wedding and Bim’s broken relationship with Raja. This climaxes when Bim explodes at Baba. After her anger fades she comes to the conclusion that the love of family is irreplaceable and can cover all wrongs. After Tara leaves she decides to go to her neighbors the Misras for a concert and she then decides that she will go to the wedding Amazon. o. uk Clear Light of Day is an examination of contemporary India and a family history in which two sisters, Bim and Tara, learn that, although there will always be family scars, the ability to forgive and forget is a powerful ally against life’s sorrows. Twenty years ago when Tara married, she left Old Delhi and a home full of sickness and death, while Bim continued to live in the family home taking care of their autistic brother, Baba. Now Tara has returned, her first visit in 10 years, for their niece’s wedding.
Bim refuses to attend; she can’t visit their brother Raja who, like Tara, left her many years ago. Instead Bim dwells bitterly on her feelings of abandonment and the impact on her of her country’s recent history: the violent conflict between Hindus and Muslims, the death of Gandhi and the ensuing struggle for political power and the malaria epidemic that killed so many. In Bim’s presence, Tara once again feels “herself shrink into that small miserable wretch of 20 years ago, both admiring and resenting her tall striding sister”, while “Bim was calmly unaware of any of her sister’s agonies, past or present”.
With language that describes both the harshness and beauty of family and the land, Anita Desai takes the reader with Tara and Bim on their struggle to confront and heal old wounds. —Alex Freeman, Amazon. com From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith Clear Light of Day is both an examination of contemporary India and a family history in which two sisters, Bim and Tara, learn that although there will always be family scars, the ability to forgive and forget is a powerful ally against life’s sorrows.
Twenty years ago when Tara married, she left Old Delhi and a home full of sickness and death, while Bim continued to live in the family home, taking care of their autistic brother, Baba. Now Tara has returned, her first visit in ten years, for their niece’s wedding. Bim refuses to attend; she can’t visit their brother Raja who, like Tara, left her many years ago. Instead Bim dwells bitterly on her feelings of abandonment and the impact on her of her country’s recent history: the violent conflict between Hindus and Moslems, the death of Gandhi and the ensuing struggle for political power, and the malaria epidemic that killed so many.
In Bim’s presence, Tara once again feels “herself shrink into that small miserable wretch of twenty years ago, both admiring and resenting her tall striding sister,” while “Bim was calmly unaware of any of her sister’s agonies, past or present. ” With language that describes both the harshness and beauty of family and the land, Anita Desai takes the reader with Tara and Bim on their struggle to confront and heal old wounds. —For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let’s Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. Ce texte fait reference a une edition epuisee ou non disponible de ce titre. .[5] Desai’s warm and compassionate novel about the ebb and flow of sisterly love, set in Old Delhi against the backdrop of some of India’s most significant historical events (the death of Gandhi, the malaria epidemic that killed so many), does what only the very best novels do: it totally submerges us. It takes us so deeply into another world that we almost fear we won’t be able to climb out again (Anne Tyler, New York Times Book Review).
A book where passages must be read and reread so that you savor their imagery (Washington Post Book World), Clear Light of Day is a beautifully written story about family scars, the ability to forgive and forget, and a woman’s reactions to the political events of her time. I consider Anita Desai’s “Clear Light of Day” as a poetic novel as it considerably deals with symbols and suggestions. Her use of “the house” imagery is at the center which signifies dust, dullness and decay. As the novel begins, you’ll notice that the house of the Das family does not change except decays.
Like Anita Desai’s other novels, the setting is Old Delhi. The interesting thing you’ll notice is she skillfully synthesizes the image of house with the lives of the Das family. The house is associated with sickness, dust, and disorder. And for that reason, the “grey” color is described again and again. So, the house reflects the mentality and sickness of the entire Das family. In other words, nobody in the Das household enjoys life, all merely exists! The sickness and disorder pervade in the mind of the family members. This house is exactly in contrast with the house of Haider Ali and that is why Raja gets attracted towards it.
For this house of Das family, the symbol of “web” is described which is apt from every point of view. As I say the house does not change but decays, it is fair to remark that because of such sickness and dusty atmosphere of the house everybody feels “suffocated” and that is why they try to find escape in one thing or another. For that reason, Raja is attracted towards Haider Ali’s house. Tara often goes to Mira Mansi and finally, she succeeds in escaping completely by marrying off Bakul. Baba seeks escape in music and plays his gramophone all the time.
Bimla becomes the professor of history. In this way, the house plays a vital role behind the escapist nature of the Das household. Anita Desai beautifully describes the state of the Delhi city. Sometimes, the whole city seems to be dead and the houses are referred to in the novel as the “tombs”. The house of the Das family seems to be deserted and therefore, Bimla does not prevent Baba playing his gramophone loudly because she thinks that the silence of the house is more dreadful. For her, the noise produced by Baba’s gramophone gives peace to her. Even when Mr.
Das and his wife were alive, they were just like the outsiders as Mr. Das was known for his entrance. The mother was either engrossed in the cards or confined to the bed. That is why Tara sometimes feels that even the ghost of her father could create the noise of papers and nothing else! The decaying aspect of the house is felt on the Das family and this why the whole family gets scattered and only Bim remains with Baba in the “dead house”. This is how, the house has symbolic significance, which plays a major role in the actions and deeds of the Das household and becomes the central episode in the novel.

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