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Deven as Anti Hero in Custody

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,009 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,226 Views

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Deven is heavily dependent on others, is inactive even though it may seem that he's doing a lot but any amount of action leading to no result is useless action, and has a difficult time communicating his feelings or desires to anyone. To his wife he's never been able to show any affection even when he has, he thinks showing affection will amount to losing control over her. Towards Murad, who keeps dominating him, Deven tries to undermine his authority yet is never able to speak with authority over any issue. When Murad persuades Deven into helping him, Deven comments pointedly to Murad, "If only we got payment for the articles and reviews that we write for magazines and journals, that would be of some help" (IC 14). This line indicates that Deven has written for Murad's magazine, Awaaz, in the past and yet has never been paid for his submissions. He bullies Deven into doing work that he needs done because he is able to dominate all their conversations, whether in Mirpore or Delhi. Even towards his students, he has no influence over them too, never looks in the eye while teaching and gets unnerved when they do so. He would rather that they looked out while he taught as he himself stares at some distant point while teaching. Desai writes, "He had for years been practicing this trick of ignoring his class and speaking to himself, or someone outside, invisible. That was what made him a boring teacher who could not command attention, let alone win the regard, of his unruly class" (IC 12-13). Deven allows his life to be torn up into small, insignificant, non-functioning relationships by his incompetence toward the explicit exchanges he is invited to participate in as well as his refusal to accept the absolute meaning of what the life is trying to teach. He turns a blind eye towards his failures, even though breaking under its pressure incessantly, yet failing to accept it.

Deven's characteristic role, that of an anti hero, is played out over the course of the novel in many of his personal and social interactions. His mention of money to Murad is extremely uncharacteristic and since it was extraordinary situation hence he had done so, else he would have preferred staying invisible even in this situation. Desai writes, "The desperation of [Deven's] circumstances made him say something he never would have otherwise. All through his childhood and youth he had known one way to deal with life and that was to lie low and remain invisible" (IC 14). Though not quite invisible in his ordinary interactions, Deven's life does little to affect others in a positive or significant manner.

In the course of the novel we learn about Deven's failed attempt to write Urdu poetry and also the occurrence of Sarla's pregnancy, these two together had forced Deven to submit himself to a life teaching Hindi. This occupation


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