Popular Literature Popular Culture Detective Fiction Children's Literature

Popular Literature Popular Culture Children’s Literature

Popular Literature Popular Culture Detective Fiction Children's Literature
Popular Literature Popular Culture Detective Fiction Children’s Literature Science Fiction


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Theatre Of The Absurd

Theatre Of The Absurd “Absurdist”

Theatre Of The Absurd
Theatre Of The Absurd


            The term “Theatre of The Absurd” was first derived by Albert Camus in an essay, ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ (1942) in which he derived the philosophy of the absurd. According to Camus, this philosophy says,

“Mom is trying to pursue the
 meaning of life and this
 pursuance has no meaning
 in its own. So the men
 quest for the existence and
 to derive meaning for life is
 meaningless and is of no use.”

            Later in 1961, this term was coined by “Martin Esslin” in his book “Theatre of Absurd”. It is a literary movement that began with a group of dramatists around the 1950s and continued till the 1980s. It was the death of Samuel Beckett in 1989 that marked the end of this movement. This literary movement spread across America and Other European countries during the 1950s to 1960s. It is the movement that simply expresses the thought of human existence that has no meaning or purpose. In it, the playwright also discussed the changed behavior of human beings which they saw in their surroundings, because of the impact of World War II.

Definition Of The Theatre of the Absurd

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term as,

“Theatre that seeks to represent
 the absurdity of human existence
 in a meaningless universe by
 bizarre or fantastic means.”

History Of The Theatre of The Absurd

            This movement influenced by existentialism, began in the form of experimental theatre in Paris and consequently, the spread of the absurd form in other countries. Absurdist plays were written in French. Absurd elements first came into existence after the rise of Greek Drama in the plays of ‘Aristophanes’ in the form of Wild humor and buffoonery of the old comedy.

            Then, morality plays of the Middle Ages can also be called a precursor of ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’. In 19th century. Ibsen and Strindberg also included some elements of absurd theatre in their plays, but the real precursor of the present Theatre of Absurd is ‘Alfred Jerry’s play ‘Ubu Roi’.

            World War II finally brought the Theatre of Absurd to life because the Chaotic atmosphere during that time was compelling them to think about their absurd existence.

Features & Characteristics of the Theatre of the Absurd

  • Absence of a real story or plot.
  • No action since all actions are insignificant.
  • The value of language is reduced, in fact, what happens on the stage transcends and often contradicts, the words spoken by the characters.
  • Extensive use of pauses, silences, miming, and absurd situations reflect a sense of anguish.
  • Incoherent babbling makes up the dialogue.

Characteristics and Features in Detail

            Following are the chief characteristics of the Theatre of Absurd, but all these characteristic cannot necessarily be found in all the absurdist play because it is not necessary that the playwright must have used all the characteristic of Absurd plays:

1. Questions of Existence

                        Absurd plays raise some basic questions of existence like why we are alive, why we have to die, and why there is injustice and suffering.

2. Distrust In Language

                        For the absurdist playwrights, language is only a meaningless communication and stereotyped exchange of Ideas because words fail to express the essence of human existence.

3. Illogical Speeches and Meaningless Plots

                              Through illogical speeches and meaningless plots, they wish to establish a feeling of freedom to make their own words. Dr. Culik Says,

“Rationalist thought, like language,
 Only deals with the superficial
 aspects of things, Nonsense,
 On the other hand, opens up a
 glimpse of the infinite.”

4. Re-establishment of Man’s communion with the Universe

                        They attempt to restore the importance of myth and rituals in the life of man and make them aware of the ultimate realities of their life.

5. Emphasis on Abstract values of Life

                        Absurdists force us to look at our abstract values of life like love and family. Thus, we may hope to accept the absurdity of life and try to find values in a world devoid of them.

6. Vagueness about Time, Place, and Character

                        Absurdists have no time, place, or character in their plays as they feel that there is no past or future, only the repetition of the present.

7. Lack Of communication Amid Characters

                        Each character lives an egoistic life and attempts to get another character to understand him which results in more alienation.

Playwright of Absurd Drama

            Martin Esslin considered four playwrights: – Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Arthur Adamov, and Jean Genet as leaders of the movement. After some time, ‘Harold Pinter’ was also introduced to this group, as some of the works of Albert Camus, and Edward Albee.

Samuel Beckett

            Beckett is an Irish dramatist and novelist, who came from an ‘Anglo-Irish’ Protestant family. Beckett uses formless language deliberately to present the absurdity in his work. Some of his highly popularised fiction novels, originally written in French, Scored success are ‘Murphy’. ‘Molloy’ and ‘Watt’ which also follow his story “More Pricks than Kicks”.

            His masterpiece in drama is ‘Waiting For Godot’ which is the English version of the French Play En Attendant Godot’. Beckett also wrote a ‘monologue’. “Krapp’s Last Tape” in which Krapp attempts to recapture the greatness of earlier days by listening to recordings of days when she was young.

Eugene Ionesco

            Ionesco is a Rumanian – French dramatist, write in French. Eugene Ionesco is a central figure in this genre and the foremost figure of the French Avant-Grade Theatre. His plays basically focus on criticizing the meaningless existence of human beings while offering a subtle solution to change this situation. In Rhinoceros, Ionesco tries to build hope at the end of the play by making Berenger, the protagonist, stick to his human self and not follow the mass movement.

            His famous works are ‘The Bald Prima’, ‘The Lesson’, ‘The Chair’ an absurdist tragic force, ‘The Killer’, ‘Rhinoceros’, ‘The Victim of Duty’, ‘How to Ged Rid of It’, and ‘Macbeth’ written during the cold war. The Chairs and The Lesson are the most notable works of Ionesco.

Arthur Adamov

            He was a Russian-born dramatist who lived in France and wrote in French Adamov wrote an autobiographical volume L’Avew, where he for the first expressed the deep sense of alienation, one of the significant features of ‘Theatre of the Absurd’.

            Some of his famous plays are ‘La Paradise’, ‘Professor Taranne’, ‘Le Ping-Pong’, and ‘Printemps 71’.

Jean Genet

            A famous French novelist, dramatist, and poet. Genet’s contribution can be classified both as an Absurd dramatist and as a follower of Art and in his ritualistic ‘Theatre Of Cruelty’.

            His very famous plays are “Deathwatch”, “The Maids”, “The Balcony”, and “The Screens.”

Harold Pinter

            Pinter was a great English Playwright screenwriter, Director, Actor, and a Novel Prize winner for literature in 2005. Harold Pinter became the most influential modern British dramatist. His writing career continued for more than 50 years. His early works were described by critics as “Comedy of Menace”.

            His first full-length play was ‘The Birthday Party (1958)’, which ran for three nights in London. It later made a strong impression on Television and was successfully re-staged in 1964.

            Printer’s other most famous works are “The Room”, “The Homecoming”, and “Betray.”

Some of his one-act plays are ‘The Dumb Waiter’, ‘A Slight Ache’, ‘The Collection, and The Lover’ which have been produced in the theatre.

Albert Camus

            Camus was an Algerian and French philosopher. He was the youngest writer who won the Nobel Prize in 1957 in Literature. His philosophical work came out as absurdism. His essay ‘The Rebel’ which treats both the metaphysical and the historical development of rebellion and revolution in societies, especially in Western Europe.

            ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ (1942) an essay by Camus, where he described meaningless things happening around him through the concept of ‘absurdism’ and this absurdist concept was first time seen in his work.

Edward Albee

            Edward Albee is an American playwright related to the theatre of the Absurd. He is known for his works written as one-act plays such as ‘As Zoo Story’, ‘The Sandbox’, and ‘The American Dream’. His first full-length play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”

            He won the Pulitzer Prize for three works – ‘A Delicate Balance’, ‘Three Tall Women’, and ‘Seascape’, written in the form of Drama.

            Besides these, other playwrights like ‘Tom Stoppard’, ‘Arthur Kopit’, ‘Friedrich Durrenmatt’, ‘Fernando Arrabal’, ‘N. E. Simpson’, and also many dramatists associated with this theatre.


            Thus, the Absurdist play or The Theatre of Absurd only demonstrates the absurdity and illogicality of the world in which we live but does not provide any solution to the problem. Through these plays, man is again and again reminded that his existence in the world is in fact absurd and meaningless.

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Method Of Teaching Fiction and Drama In Literature


Fiction is a form of literary art that is invented or imagined by the author. It is a type of storytelling that can be presented in various forms such as novels, short stories, novellas, and flash fiction. Unlike non-fiction, which deals with factual events and real people, fiction is created from the author’s imagination, allowing them to explore different themes and subjects without the constraints of reality.

Fiction is an essential part of literature, and it has the power to transport readers to different places and times, explore the complexities of human emotions, and challenge their beliefs and perceptions. It can be both entertaining and thought-provoking, and it often serves as a medium to reflect on the world around us and question our values and beliefs.

Method Of Teaching Fiction

Teaching fiction in literature is a fascinating and rewarding task for any educator. Fictional literature includes novels, short stories, and other forms of storytelling that engage readers in a world of imagination. A skilled teacher can help students develop critical thinking skills and foster a love of reading through effective teaching methods.

There are various methods of teaching fiction in literature and their benefits for students.

Teaching fiction is through close reading

This approach involves reading the text closely and analyzing its language, structure, and themes. It encourages students to pay attention to detail and to think critically about the author’s message. By asking students to identify literary elements such as characterization, point of view, and symbolism, teachers can guide them toward a deeper understanding of the story. Close reading also allows for classroom discussion and encourages students to share their own interpretations of the text.

Teaching fiction is through Creative Writing Exercises

 This approach encourages students to engage with the story on a personal level and to explore their own creativity. Teachers can ask students to write a short story or a character analysis based on the text they have read. This approach allows students to develop their writing skills and to gain a deeper understanding of the story by applying their own creative interpretation.

Teaching fiction is through Role-playing

 This approach allows students to act out scenes from the story, bringing the characters to life and encouraging students to think critically about their motivations and actions. Role-playing also encourages students to work collaboratively and to develop empathy and understanding for the characters.

Character Analysis

This method involves a study of the characters in the text. Students can be taught to analyze the characters’ motivations, relationships, and conflicts. This method can help students to understand the complexity of human behavior and the nuances of character development.

Comparative Analysis

 This method involves a comparison of the text with other works of literature or with other forms of media, such as films or television shows. This method can help students to see the connections and influences between different works of art.

Teaching fiction is through Literary analysis essays

 This approach involves asking students to analyze the text in-depth, identifying literary elements, and examining their significance. By asking students to write literary analysis essays, teachers can help students develop critical thinking skills and to gain a deeper understanding of the story.

Using multimedia tools such as films, graphic novels, and audiobooks is another effective method of teaching fiction in literature

These tools can help students engage with the story in a new way and can help visual learners understand the story better. By using multimedia tools, teachers can make the story come alive for their students and encourage them to think critically about the author’s message.

Fiction is a powerful and versatile form of storytelling that offers a unique way to explore the world and the human experience through the creative vision of the author.

Thus, we can say that there are several effective methods of teaching fiction in literature, each with its own benefits for students. Close reading, creative writing exercises, role-playing, literary analysis essays, and multimedia tools are all useful approaches for engaging students with fictional literature. By using these methods, teachers can help students develop critical thinking skills, foster a love of reading, and gain a deeper understanding of the stories they read.

Teaching Method Of Drama


 Teaching drama in literature requires a unique set of skills that go beyond the traditional lecture format. The goal is not only to convey the content of the play but also to engage students in a way that allows them to experience the play as active participants.

About Drama

Drama is a literary form that is meant to be performed on stage, film, or television. It is a collaborative art form that involves actors, directors, designers, and writers. Drama is different from other literary forms because it is meant to be experienced rather than simply read.

Method of Teaching Drama in Literature

Experiencing the Play

The first step in teaching drama is to create an environment that allows students to experience the play. This can be accomplished through live performances, screenings, or even reading the play aloud in class. Encourage students to participate in the performance by having them read parts of the script or by assigning them to create their own performances.

Analysis Of Drama

After experiencing the play, it is important to analyze it in detail. This includes examining the plot, characters, themes, and symbols. Encourage students to ask questions and explore their own interpretations of the play. Use discussion groups and writing assignments to help students delve deeper into the text.

Historical Background and Cultural Context

Drama is often influenced by the historical background and cultural context in which it was written. Discussing the context of the play can provide valuable insights into the themes and issues that the play addresses. Encourage students to research the historical background and cultural background of the play and to incorporate this research into their analysis.


Role-playing is an effective way to engage students in the drama. Assign students to create their own scenes or monologues based on the characters in the play. This not only encourages creativity but also helps students to understand the motivations and actions of the characters.

Performance and Production

Finally, encourage students to produce their own performances of the play. This can be done through staged readings, video productions, or even full-scale productions. Allow students to take on roles such as director, actor, set designer, and lighting designer to create a fully-realized production.


Teaching drama in literature requires a combination of theoretical analysis and practical experience. By creating an environment that allows students to experience the play, analyze the text in detail, discuss the historical and cultural context, encourage role-playing, and produce their own performances, students can gain a deep understanding and appreciation of drama as a literary form.

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The Hound Of The Baskervilles

The Hound Of The Baskervilles By Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound Of The Baskervilles
The Hound Of The Baskervilles By Arthur Conan Doyle


The Hound of the Baskervilles is a “Sherlock Holmes” novel written by his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is a popular detective and Gothic fiction novel. The Novel was Published in 1902. It is the story of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. John Watson. They investigate the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville. It is also about a ghostly dog that has haunted the Baskerville family for hundreds of years. a

The story revolves around the curse that haunts the Baskerville family and the investigation conducted by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson to unravel the mystery. The novel is filled with suspense, mystery, and atmospheric settings that add to the overall sense of foreboding. Doyle use of skillful red herrings, false leads, and unexpected twists. Conan Doyle keeps readers engaged until the thrilling conclusion. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” remains a beloved classic in the detective fiction genre.

About Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a Scottish author and physician, best known for creating the iconic world-famous character of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle’s works have had a significant influence on the detective fiction genre, and his writing style is characterized by keen observation, logical deduction, and vivid descriptions of settings and characters.

His notable works are The Hound of The Baskervilles, The Sign of The Four, A Study in Scarlet, The Adventures of Sherlock Homes, “Stories of Sherlock Holmes” and “The Lost World”. His writing Genres are Detective Fiction, Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and Historical Novels.

The Hound of The Baskervilles As A Detective Fiction

The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the most famous and influential works of detective fiction ever written. The novel features the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend Dr. John Watson as they investigate a mysterious death and the legend of a monstrous hound that haunts the Baskerville family.

The novel combines elements of the detective genre that is creating a thrilling and suspenseful story that keeps the reader guessing until the end. The detective genre is characterized by a plot that revolves around a crime, usually a murder, that is solved by a clever and rational detective using clues and logic.

The novel delves into the impact of family curses and legacies. The Baskervilles are haunted by a curse that has been passed down through generations, and the characters struggle with their family history and the expectations placed upon them. It shows the character of Sir Henry, who must confront his family’s dark past and come to terms with his inheritance.

As the investigation progresses, the novel masterfully builds suspense through vivid descriptions of the wild and desolate moorland, creating a Dreadful atmosphere. The characters of Sir Henry Baskerville, the last surviving heir of the Baskerville estate. Jack Stapleton, a suspicious neighbor, is introduced, adding complexity to the mystery. Holmes’s keen observation skills and deductive reasoning are showcased as he unravels the clues and evidence.

Sherlock Holmes detect the real crime reason that was Jack Stapleton who planned to kill everyone on mysteriously Baskervilles estate’s member with the help of a trained hound.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a masterpiece of detective fiction that demonstrates how Arthur Conan Doyle skillfully blended detective and gothic genres to create a captivating and memorable story. It also showcases how Sherlock Holmes is one of the most brilliant and charismatic detectives in literature, who can solve any case with his logic and wit.

Narrative Technique Of The Novel

The novel employs various narrative techniques to create a captivating and atmospheric story that explores rationalism versus superstition, nature versus civilization, and family inheritance.

One of the main narrative techniques used in the novel is the first-person narration by Dr. Watson, Holmes’s loyal friend, and assistant. Watson acts as a narrator who reports the events of the story to the reader, as well as a character who participates in the action and interacts with other characters. Watson’s narration allows the reader to follow his perspective and share his curiosity, confusion, and admiration for Holmes.

Watson also serves as a contrast to Holmes, highlighting the latter’s superior intellect and skills. For example, in Chapter 3, Watson is amazed by Holmes’s ability to deduce that Dr. Mortimer has a dog from his walking stick, while Watson himself could not notice any clues on the stick. Watson’s narration also creates suspense and mystery by withholding some information from the reader until Holmes reveals it at the end. For example, in Chapter 12, Watson does not know that Holmes has been secretly investigating the case on the moor until he sees him disguised as an old man.

Another narrative technique used in the novel is the use of Gothic elements to create a dark and dreadful setting that enhances the mood and theme of the story. The novel is set in Dartmoor, a remote and desolate region of England that is known for its wild and rugged landscape. The moor is described as a place of danger and mystery, where supernatural forces seem to lurk.

For example, in Chapter 6, Watson describes his first impression of the moor: “Over the green squares of fields and low curves of woods there rose in the distance a grey melancholy hill with a strange jagged summit dim and vague in the distance like some fantastic landscape in a dream.”

The moor is also associated with the legend of the hound of the Baskervilles, a monstrous creature that is said to haunt and kill the members of the Baskerville family. The hound represents the Gothic element of horror and terror that challenges the rational and scientific approach of Holmes. The novel also uses other Gothic elements such as an ancestral curse, a ruined abbey, a mysterious portrait, and a villainous schemer.

A third narrative technique used in the novel is the use of red herrings to mislead and confuse both Watson and the reader. Red herrings are false clues or suspects that divert attention from the real solution. The novel contains several red herrings that make the case more complicated and interesting. For example, one red herring is Barrymore, the servant of Baskerville Hall, who acts suspiciously and secretly at night.

Watson initially suspects that he might be involved in Sir Charles’s death or Sir Henry’s danger. However, it turns out that Barrymore is actually helping his wife’s brother escape from prison. Another red herring is Stapleton’s wife Beryl, who appears to be his sister at first. Watson thinks that she might be an accomplice or a victim of Stapleton’s plot. However, it turns out that she is actually his wife who was forced to help him by pretending to be his sister.

These narrative techniques make The Hound of the Baskervilles an engaging and memorable work of detective fiction that showcases Conan Doyle’s mastery of storytelling and character creation.

Summary And Analysis Of The Hound of The Baskervilles

Dr. Mortimer and the new heir to the Baskerville title come to London to hire Sherlock Holmes to investigate a suspicious murder. Their concerns are based on a generations-old legend about the family and Hall that includes a curse of a supernatural hound. Mortimer suspects that Sir Charles was frightened to death by the horror hound, and asks Holmes to help protect his heir, Sir Henry Baskerville, who has just arrived from Canada. The doctor has suspicions that the hound is real but needs the efforts of a detective to look into the possibility.

Holmes agrees to take the case, but he is too busy with other matters to go to Dartmoor himself. He sends Dr. John Watson instead, with instructions to observe and report everything that happens there. Watson meets Sir Henry and accompanies him to Baskerville Hall, where they encounter a number of suspicious characters and events. They also hear the terrifying howl of the hound at night and see a mysterious figure lurking on the moor.

Meanwhile, Holmes secretly follows them to Dartmoor and conducts his own investigation. He reveals himself to Watson and tells him that he has discovered the identity of the culprit behind the murder of Sir Charles and the plot against Sir Henry. It is none other than Jack Stapleton, a neighbour who is actually a distant relative of the Baskervilles. He has trained a ferocious dog to look like the legendary hound and has used it to scare and kill his relatives in order to inherit their fortune. He also has an accomplice, his sister Beryl, who is actually his wife.

As the investigation progresses, Holmes and Watson uncover the truth behind the mystery of the Baskerville curse and the monstrous hound. Stapleton is revealed to be the culprit, using the legend of the hound to cover up his crimes.

Holmes and Watson manage to save Sir Henry from being attacked by the hound and confront Stapleton at his house. Stapleton escapes into the moor, where he is presumably killed by his own hound or by sinking into a bog. Beryl is rescued and confesses everything to Holmes and Watson. The novel ends with Holmes explaining how he solved the mystery using his powers of observation and deduction.

The novel explores the contrast between superstition and science. The belief in the supernatural ghostly hound and the curse that haunts the Baskerville family is contrasted with Holmes’ rational and logical approach to solving the mystery. Doyle challenges the prevalent beliefs of the time and highlights the power of reason and science in solving mysteries.

The novel also reflects the societal and cultural norms of the Victorian era. The stark contrast between the wild and untamed moorland and the civilized world of Victorian England is portrayed through the setting and characters. The characters’ actions and beliefs are influenced by the social structure and expectations of the time, providing insights into the social and cultural context of the era.


The Hound of the Baskervilles is a masterpiece of detective fiction that showcases Arthur Canon Doyle‘s skillful storytelling, unique narrative technique, and rich analysis of various themes. The novel challenges superstition with reason explores the impact of family curses and legacies, and reflects the societal norms of the Victorian era.

The novel showcases Doyle’s masterful intricate plot, and vivid descriptions of the moorlands, which create a sense of atmosphere and suspense. The characters, particularly Holmes and Watson, are well-drawn and showcase the dynamics of their unique partnership. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is a captivating tale of mystery, intrigue, and detective work.

The novel shows the power of superstition and legend, the impact of inheritance and family legacy, and the triumph of reason and logic over fear and deception. It also highlights the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by the characters, as they navigate the complexities of human nature and the consequences of their actions. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is a timeless classic that shows us its intriguing plot, memorable characters, and rich themes.

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Voices In the City

Voices In the City By Anita Desai | Voices In The City Critical Analysis

Voices In the City
Voices In the City


            Voices in the city is the second novel written by Indian woman writer Anita Desai. It is a type of pessimistic novel cry, peacock. It has been first published in 1965 and won Sahitya Akademi Award. The story of this novel moves around the life of the white-collar class-educated people of Calcutta. From multiple points of view, the story of this novel mirrors the Indian social moves. It is a story of a Bohemian brother and his two sisters caught in the crosscurrents of changing social values.

            Voices in the city, as the little one suggests, deals with the voice of anger and the vision of fear in the city of Calcutta.

Present novel voices in the city are based on the times Desai spent in Calcutta in the early 1960s, and is a chronicle of the social changes in a modernizing India, exploring what happens when traditional, Indian ways of Life come into conflict with new ideas and the effect has on young people. Through this novel Desai presents the negative side of living in Calcutta, emphasizing the crowds, noisiness, frenzied, pace, and lack of places to think and reflect.

            The city is also presented as a place where young people are unable to find happiness in their lives or jobs due to constant pressure

About the Author

            The author of this novel Anita Desai is a great Indian novelist. Her published works included adult novels, children’s books, and short stories. During her literary career. She wrote approximately 16 novels. Some of the world-famous are – Fasting Feasting, The Village by the Sea, In Custody, Clear Light of Day, Bye Bye Blackbird, Fire on the mountains, and Where shall we go this Summar?” As a writer, she has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times. She receive a Sahitya Akademi Award in 1978 for her novel Fire on the Mountain.  She also won the British Guardian Prize for The Villages By the Sea.

Summary of Voices Novel

            The story starts with three siblings, Monisha, Nirode, and Amla. Monisha, the oldest is neurotic, sensitive, and prone to overthinking situations. She has married into a very traditional family, where she outwardly plays the role of a dutiful and devoted wife. However, internally, she is in deep turmoil due to the ugliness of her surrounding. She is unable to bear a child, one of her primary duties as a wife, which she interprets as an unwillingness to bring another life into a world that seems to her ugly and meaningless. At the end of the novel, Monisha commits suicide by burning herself alive in the bathroom.

            Though her sibling at first does not understand her seemingly out-of-character action, they soon find a diary that details her inner thoughts.

            Monisha’s younger brother Nirode also has trouble adjusting to life in Calcutta. At the beginning of the novel, he has a good job at a newspaper, which he soon quits because he cannot find the meaning of a made-for self, expression in work. Though his mother wealthy widow who lived in the countryside, offers to help him find a new job, Nirode rejects her aid, preferring to fail on his own.

            Nirode attempts several business, ventures including starting a magazine of his own and writing a play. However, all his attempts fail as his magazine folds and his play is rejected by theatre groups. He begins to equate the city of Calcutta with the goddess kali, a deity of destruction that kills creativity and self-expression.

Nirode attempts to model his existence after a painter named Dharama who seems to be at peace with his life in Calcutta. However, Dharma is a mysterious figure and Nirode is ultimately unable to understand his motivations. A visit from his mother finally resolves his conflict when Nirode dreams of his mother as Kali and realis that the goddess, with destructive powers, also has the power to preserve what is important.

            Amla the youngest daughter, struggles with many of the same issues as her sibling but is still relatively naïve and hopeful at the beginning of the novel. She also encounters Dharma, and he has a greater effect on her. Dharma considers Amla the ideal model for his painting drawing her into his circle of literate, cosmopolitan friends. At first, Amla is excited, but she soon grows tired of the cynical artists, as well as disillusioned when she finds out that Dharma is a philanderer who treats his daughter poorly.

            However, the experience also gives her a new perspective on her life, allowing her to come to terms with a dull job and boredom living in Calcutta. The death of her sister serves as a secondary shock that further motivates her to make changes in her attitude. Though her boring job at an advertising agency does not satisfy her, she finds something that does, making illustrations for a translation of the Panchatantra. This piece of ancient Indian Political philosophy appeals to her because she finds its message meaningful and its way of being conveyed, through fables about animals, to be interesting and creative.


            Thus, this novel explores the ways people try to find meaning in their lives. Sometimes, her character succeeds, as Amla does and sometimes they fail, like Monisha. So voices in the city is a brilliant novel, full of light and darkness, life and death.

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