Themes In Anita Desai's Sale In Contemporary India

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Anita Desai writes the short story, “Sale” in contemporary India. In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to an unshaven man. He sits quietly dropping cigarette butts on the floor of a messy, unlit art room. The banging against the door and the querulous voices are left ignored by the unnamed man as he decides to push an inner door ajar. On the other side of the inner door, he discovers his wife kneading dough in a brass bowl and his little child. He watches them, silently, absorbing the little details in, such as the long hair brooding down his wife’s shoulders or his son’s soft, wavering fingers touching ‘unsympathetic’ steel, using metaphors to describe the little details that he sees. It is not long after, though, that his wife…show more content…
His visitors grow sympathetic and tender but the unnamed artist soon snaps back into reality, desperately explaining them they could buy that painting too. That he could just paint another one for his son, yet his desperate explanations are left ignored and refuse to do so. They exclaim that they want to buy a picture of a figure for their newly built house, believing it might brighten up the room. The unnamed artist is left speechless as he explains them that they told him they wanted landscapes and his art room was full of them. Yet there is nothing that has caught their eyes and hearts, not quite right even though they were amazed by his pictures. They begin to walk away, already on their way, in the car but the desperate artist flings himself in front of them, unwilling to let them pass. He cries desperately, trying to pursue the three, telling them that he would paint the picture of their desires and they hesitate. “But, my friend, have you ever seen snow?”, knowing exactly that in India, snow was not seen as the climate was rather hot one. The artist smiles and taps his forehead. In his mind, he says, he can see anything he wants too. He can imagine anything he wants too. The visitors perceive him as crazy and perhaps drunk and tell him not to hurry and that can paint it when he is in the mood. The artist refuses, declaring that he was in the mood then and tells them that he would bring it to them the very next day. They laugh and the engine starts. The desperate artist, unwilling to let go of his customers, thrusts himself upon the car, scaring the woman, asking for an advance. They have no money with them at all and promise to give him the money when he brings the picture. The desperate man is left desperate as his wife

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