Syed Zahir Abbas
Anita Desai portrays the present crisis of man and the enduring human conditions from the viewpoint of the urban metropolis. Man has to exist in society amidst all troubles, pains and suffering. The problem before him is how to exist and not how to exit. Anita Desai feels that exile or escape from the society cannot solve the problem. The basic problem is how to exist in society by maintaining one’s individuality. She depicts the uselessness of existence and man’s useless attempt to survive in the face of all calamities as an individual. The character Nanda Kaul in the novel Fire on the Mountain is basically tragic, for even as she accepts her destiny, she refuses to surrender. Her hyper sensitive nature makes her alienated and solitary. The defeat and disillusionment in Anita Desai’s fiction not only leads to agony and suffering but also to an acceptance of life.
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