NAGAPPAN SETHURAMAN Existentialism as a doctrine is historically and culturally of European beginning. Ever since it was recognised as the ruling doctrine of the West in the midtwentieth century. it has left “its impact on literature [ which ] has both been significant and significant” ( Chatterji 10 ) . Existentialism does non offer a set of philosophies or a individual doctrine system. It has been variously defined and interpreted by assorted minds over the old ages.
As a consequence. “as a doctrine. existential philosophy by its really nature defies and abhors systematisation” ( Ahmad 10 ) . However. it is possible to place certain traits of this school of idea. All the existential philosophers “emphasise the importance of the person every bit good as his freedom and duty for being what he is” ( Das 423 ) . In their effort to depict man’s “existence and its struggles. the beginning of its struggles. and the expectancy of get the better ofing them” ( Ahmad 13 ) . existential philosophers focus their attending on certain facets of human being.
Srivastava enumerates them as follows: B ) it is ne’er safe and of all time at the clemency of opportunity. degree Celsius ) it is full of enduring. of one assortment or other. vitamin D ) it is full of struggle. vitamin E ) it is rotted in guilt. degree Fahrenheit ) it can non get away from the concluding state of affairs of decease ( 185 ) . These dogmas of existential philosophy have been widely reflected in the literature of the universe since the coming of Sartre who established an interaction between literature and doctrine in his Hagiographas. John Macquarrie sums up the kernel of existential philosophy as. “On the whole. it has been the tragic sense of life… that has been prevailing among the existentialists” ( Macquarrie 164 ) .
About all great authors of the present coevals have handled the philosophies of existential philosophy in their plants. This is the chief ground why “man’s disaffection. apprehension. absurdness. bad religion. duty. committedness to freedom. torment are the really trademark of twentieth century literature” ( Ahmad 5 ) . As a novelist. Anita Desai exhibits a strong disposition towards the existentialist reading of the human quandary. In peculiar. she voices “the deaf-and-dumb person wretchednesss and weakness of married adult females tormented by existential philosopher jobs and predicaments” ( Prasad 139 ) .
A adult female novelist. Desai has won a niche by researching the emotional universe of adult females. conveying to illume the assorted deeper forces at work in feminine esthesia every bit good as psychological science. This preference leads her to analyze the mind of her adult females supporters when they are confronted with the absurdness of life. This draws her attending to the darker side of life. She undertakings a tragic vision in her novels by puting her female supporters in hostile state of affairss. Desai farther examines her adult females supporters as persons who find themselves forced into incompatible environments. contending against the odds.
This job of the The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 tragic tenseness between the person and their unfavorable environment acquires the dimensions of experiential angst. Get downing from her first fresh Cry the Peacock to the latest Baumgartner’s Bombay. all her novels highlight the existentialist’s preference for portraying the quandary of adult male. Many critics have traced sunglassess of existential philosopher thought in the novel of Anita Desai. Time and once more her subjects and characters have been interpreted in the visible radiation of experiential doctrine.
In this respect it has been pointed out: Desai’s head concern is human relationship. Her cardinal subject is she experiential quandary of an person. which she undertakings through incompatible couples- really sensitive married womans and ill matched hubbies. She is a minute perceiver and perceives everything wordlessly. circumstantially and finely. Whenever she creates a poetical state of affairs. she gives it a perfect poetic intervention to every item ( Singh 12 ) Anita Desai’s characters are self-aware of the world around them and they carry a sense of solitariness. disaffection and pessimism.
She adds a new dimension turning inward into the worlds of life and plunges into the deep-depths of the human mind to hit out its enigmas and pandemonium in the heads of characters. Particularly Fire on the Mountain has been identified as “the lyrical fictionalisation of the ether of existentialism” ( Gupta 185 ) . A close survey of the texture and subject of the novel in relation to the dogmas of existential philosophy justifies the above observation. It has been noted that “Fire on the Mountain shows adept dramatization of experiences of certain adult females embroiled by the transverse manner of life” ( Choudhury 77 ) .
This fresh trades with the experiential angst experienced by the female supporter Nanda Kaul. an old lady life in isolation. It besides undertakings the interior convulsion of a little miss. Raka. who is haunted by a sense of futility. Third. it presents the predicament of a incapacitated adult female. Ila Das who is in struggle with forces that are excessively powerful to be encountered. ensuing in her tragic decease. Therefore. the experiential subjects of purdah. disaffection. the futility of human being and battle for survival signifier the major subjects of the novel.
Fire on the Mountain falls into three subdivisions. each farther divided into several short chapters of unequal length. The first subdivision titled “Nand Kaul at Carignano” runs into 10 chapters. This subdivision deals with Nanda Kaul. the chief protagonist’s lonely life in Kasauli. “Raka comes to Carignano” signifiers the 2nd subdivision and it contains 20 one chapters. It portrays Nanda Kaul’s alteration of attitude towards Raka. her great granddaughter. The concluding subdivision “Ila Das leaves Carignano” is divided into 13 chapters. This subdivision presents the tragic terminal of Ila Da. Nanda Kaul’s childhood friend.
In all. the book runs to 145 pages. The structural integrity. as suggested by the subdivision captions is offered by Carignano. Nanda Kaul and Raka. running counter to one another complemented by that of Ila Das besides provide integrity of construction. Like the other plants of Anita Desai. the present novel contains neither any narrative value nor events that are interesting by themselves. The full novel revolves round the experiential angst experienced by the adult females supporters. In this novel. “the narrative component is really thin and there is practically no action except for the tragic end” ( Indira 96 ) .
The narrative revolves round the interior lives of the two female supporters. Nand Kaul and Raka. Nanda Kaul is the married woman of Mr. Kaul. the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab University. When the novel begins. Nanda The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 Kaul is populating in Carignano. far from the madding crowd. She is taking a life of isolation and self-contemplation. She shuns all human company. Even the postman’s reaching to present the missive is frowned upon by her. But this apparent tranquillity does non last long.
Raka arrives at Carignano to recuperate after her typhoid onslaught. The old adult female and the immature miss live in dual straightforwardness. But as yearss base on balls by. Nanda Kaul finds herself careworn towards Raka. something she had non expected. But the small miss refuses to be befriended and escapes into the hills looking for company in purdah. Ila Das. Nanda Kaul’s childhood friend visits Carignano to run into Raka. A one clip talk in the Punjab University. Ila Das had lost her occupation subsequent to Mr. Kaul’s retirement. She has come to Kasauli now in her new capacity as an officer in the societal public assistance section.
She battles against child matrimony by edifying the local people about the immoralities of this pattern. This invites the wrath of many of the villagers of whom Preet Singh is one. His efforts to barter his small girl for a bantam piece of land and a few caprine animals have been successfully thwarted by Ila Das. He is lying in delay to settle his mark with her. One eventide. when Ila Das returns tardily from Carignano to her low house in the vale. he waylays her. colzas and slayings her. When the intelligence of Ila Das’s decease is conveyed to Nand Kaul over the phone. she is impolitely aghast and falls dead.
Raka unaware of her great grandmother’s decease. hastes into the house proclaiming wildly that she has set the wood of fire. Nanda Kaul. Raka and to some extent Ila Das. are incarnations of the experiential quandary experienced by the person in an un-understanding and even hostile existence. A elaborate scrutiny of the characters of these supporters brings to illume how Anita Desai has succeeded in giving look to her existentialist world-view through these characters and by a elusive usage of imagination and symbols. When the novel begins. Nand Kaul is presented as a hermit.
Populating all entirely. except for the company of the retainers who dare non upset her privateness. she brooks no human presence. “She wanted no 1 and nil else. Whatever else came. or happened here. would be unwelcome invasion and distraction” ( FM 3 ) . She spends her yearss in isolation. chew overing about her yesteryear and sing the experiential boredom. “From the contemplations of her agitated head it appears that as the married woman of the vicechancellor for the Punjab University and the female parent of several kids. she has lived a really busy and palling life “ ( Raizada 44 ) .
Anita Desai unfurls her yesteryear in the signifier of long interior soliloquies punctuated by auctorial breaks. Nanda Kaul had witnessed merely treacheries and demands in life before her retirement to Kasauli. She had lived a humdrum life receiving and handling the eternal watercourse of visitants who used to name on her vice-chancellor hubby. Her hubby had carried on a life-long matter with his mathematics kept woman Miss David. whom he would hold married. had she non been a Christian. Again. the memories of her kids make Nanda Kaul frisson at the really idea of her yesteryear.
As a female parent of several kids. all demanding and unaccommodative. she had been given excessively many dying minutes. Now all entirely in Carignano. a house associated with many eldritch narratives. Nanda Kaul feels that solitariness is the lone indispensable status of human life. Whenever she looks at the tall pine trees that stand out from among the underbrush. she is reminded of her ain disaffection. Not precisely witting of what she is waiting for. nonetheless. she is expecting the inevitable terminal to all human being: decease.
She is haunted by the experiential angst which has led her to reason that human life is fundamentally a alone battle against the odds of life. In her instance the odds have manifested themselves in the signifier of an extramarital hubby and bloody-minded kids. Strongly convinced The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 that life and cover a natural trade to her. she has resolved to happen the significance. if any. of her being in isolation. “She treasures her freedom. her privateness. glad her duties towards her household are over. glad she needs cipher and cipher now needs her” ( Krishnaswamy 260 ) .
This has coloured her mentality on life to a big extent. Her reaction to the reaching of the mailman and Raka. her invalid great granddaughter. makes it look that she has become a misanthropist. But the truth seems to be that she is a sensitive individual preoccupied with the existent nature of her being as opposed to the illusive life of her yesteryear as a vice-chancellor’s married woman and female parent to kids. “If Nanda Kaul was a hermit out of retribution for a long life of responsibility and duty. her great expansive girl was a hermit by nature. by inherent aptitude.
She had non arrived at this status by a long path of rejection and forfeit [ like Nanda Kaul ] . she was born to it. merely “ ( FM 48 ) . Desai’s above observation about Raka’s character at one time brings out the similarity and difference with that of Nanda Kaul’s in their mental do up. Raks’s characters has been introduced by the novelist as a foil to Nanda Kaul’s. If Nanda Kaul symbolises a peculiar facet of existential philosophy. which is examined elsewhere in this chapter. Raka epitomises another facet of the experiential quandary: the influence of her parents on her life.
Anita Desai makes Raka both immature temperamentally and solitude-loving. When Raka is foremost introduced. the reader is informed that she is the granddaughter of Asha. the most debatable of Nanda Kaul’s girls. That she is an unwelcome interloper into Nanda Kaul’s life is suggested by an image. As Nanda Kaul foremost looks at her greatgrand girl who is walking towards her. she reminds the old lady of an insect: Raka slowed down. dragged her pes. so came towards her great grandma with something despairing in her attitude. .
She turned a brace of abundantly big and slightly convex eyes about in a manner that made the old lady feel more than of all time her resemblance to an insect. ( FM 39 ) . However. the old lady is shocked to see the picket and gaunt small miss and is moved to commiseration. But “to Nanda Kaul she was still an interloper. an foreigner. a mosquito flown up from the fields to badger and worry” ( FM 40 ) . Raka herself does non trouble oneself much about the “blatant deficiency of warmth” ( FM 40 ) exhibited by her great grandma. She prefers to remain off from company. Like a wild carnal freshly caged. she keeps prowling barefoot in her room. looking at the rock tons.
She is non interested in flowers or playing as kids of her age usually be given to make. By utilizing two reptile images in turn in a span of two pages. and by a implicative intimation about Raka’s deficiency of involvement in drama and flowers. Desai impliedly establishes that there is something eldritch about her. Soon through several interior soliloquies enacted in Raka’s subconscious head. the ground for the abnormalcy in her is unfolded. The girl of an ill-matched twosome. Raka has been witness to the ferociousness and futility of human being.
She is haunted by the remembrances of the bloodcurdling darks that have made her about a child-stoic. Somewhere behind them. behind it all was her male parent. place from a party. stumbling and crashing through the drapes of the dark. his oral cavity opening to allow out a inundation of icky malodor. whipping at her female parent with cocks and fists of abuse-harsh. foul maltreatment that made Raka cower under her bed clothings and wet her mattress in fear. experiencing the watercourse of urine warm and weakening between her legs like a watercourse of blood. and her female parent lay down on the floor and shut her eyes and wept.
Under her The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 pess. in the dark. Raka felt that level. wet gelatin of her mother’s being quelling and quaking. so that she didn’t cognize where to set her pess and wept as she tried to acquire free of it. Ahead of her. no longer on the land but at some distance now. her female parent was shouting. Then it was a Canis aureus weeping. ( FM 72 ) The sudden displacement from the interior soliloquy about her acrimonious yesteryear to the present observation of the Canis aureus weeping. the latter superimposed on the former brings out Raka’s quandary.
By making this. the novelist likens the haunting memories to the weeping Canis aureuss. So Raka’s life is a close brush with things that are wild and frightful- be it the memories of her female parent beaten to mush by a rummy male parent or the chilling call of the Canis aureuss. Alternatively of seeking to get away from this harsh and formidable experiences and memories. Raka goes further and deeper into them as if to penetrate the underside of such wild worlds.
After some initial vacillation. she ventures deep down the ravine to the Monkey Point- a topographic point non frequented by others and from where the calls of the Canis aureuss are heard: No 1 of all time came here but Raka and the fathead that sand invisibly. These [ the fathead ] were non the duteous domestic birds that called Nanda Kaul to attending at Carignano. They were the brainsick birds that raved and beckoned Raka on to a land where there was no sound. merely silence. no visible radiation. merely shadiness. and skeletons kept in beds of ash on which the footmarks of Canis aureuss flowered in grey.
( FM 90 ) This transition efficaciously coveys Raka’s predicament and significance. She is at one time a small miss with a splintered mind and an unmistakable symbol of the individual’s pursuit for significance. The Canis aureuss are symbols of the enigma of life and Raka’s walk to the Monkey Point is symbolic of her hunt for something unknown. yet inevitable and indispensable. Not all kids would make bold to weather the unsmooth terrains of the ravines and impending threat of the Canis aureuss. Similarly. non all human existences are witting of the futility of human being nor are they in hunt of newer values.
The experiential subject of pursuit for intending undertaken by those who refuse to stay simply as members of the battalion is good brought out in the alone and metagrobolized rovings of Raka. In this regard it has been pointed out by Shantha Krishnaswamy: Her [ Raka’s ] childhood has hardened her into a small nucleus of lone autonomy and now. a immature miss up here in the mountains. . her spirit is noncompliant plenty to travel intoning ‘I don’t attention. I don’t attention. I can’t attention of anything’ ( FM 73 ) . The conventional sweet odors and sounds of maidenhood are ignored. she feels drawn by scenes of desolation and failure.
The forest fires tingle her and she bursts from the shell of Carignano like a crisp. lament edged explosive to put fire to the versant. ( Krishnaswamy 261. 262 ) The reasoning portion of the foregoing observation refering Raka’s preference for the forest fires needs luxuriant analysis for it has symbolic overtones. Ever since her reaching at Carignano. Raka evinces a acute involvement in wild fire. This compulsion with the forest fire provides yet another dimension with the forest fire provides to her existentialist preoccupations.
Immediately after her reaching at Carignano. on witnessing a fire in the forest she becomes haunted with forest fires for they seem to her the empirical manifestation of her interior struggle: whether to go on with her mediocre and painful and adrift being imposed upon her by heredity and environment or to revolt against their dictates and effort to make her ain values. The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 By an luxuriant look of her free will and presentation of her ability to take and move. she sets the wood on fire towards the terminal of the novel.
The fire created by her is the consequence and manifestation of her experiential angst to destruct the old and meaningless to do room for the new and important. It is an avowal of her hunt for values in an otherwise ineffectual being. Ila Das is the 3rd female supporter of the novel. Unlike Nanda Kaul and Raka who are cardinal to the narrative. her function is merely fringy. Nonetheless. Anita Desai has projected yet another facet of the existential philosopher doctrine through her character. “Her life suggests another dimension of wretchedness and meaningless existence” ( Jena 30 ) .
She is foremost introduced to the readers. when she calls Nanda Kaul on the phone and informs her of her intended visit to Kasauli to run into Raka. She speaks in a “hideous voice” ( FM 21 ) and is instead field in her expressions. Through a long interior soliloquy in Nanda Kaul’s head. the readers are informed of her yesteryear. She was Nanda Kaul’s childhood friend. She had besides served in the university as a lector. thanks to Nanda Kaul’s good offices. But shortly after the decease of Mr. Kaul she had been ousted and had struggled a batch before happening the present employment as a societal public assistance officer.
A poorness afflicted lone wolf of blue of child matrimony. a pattern rampant among the tribals. This lands her in an awkward state of affairs. She finds herself contending a alone conflict against a mindless battalion. But she is non cowed down by hardship. She remains firm in her strong belief and refuses to do any via medias. Though she is cognizant of the dire effects that she might be forced to meet. she remains faithful to her cause. She succeeds in crouching several such child-marriage. the outstanding one being the matrimony of Preet Singh’s seven twelvemonth old girl.
Prolonging herself on a meager wage and seting up with the inevitable status of solitariness. she wages a valorous conflict against the dictates of the society. Finally. she pays a beloved monetary value for her strong beliefs and refusal to compromise. She is raped and murdered by Preet Singh who has been deceasing for retaliation. Though Ila Das plays a minor function in the novel. she is besides an allegorical figure. She non merely lives in isolation but besides braves the beastly bulk with strong belief and committedness as her tools.
True. she meets with a tragic terminal but has made her being important in exhibiting bravery and finding in the face of stiff opposition and menace to life. ”Her existent engagement in people’s public assistance assumes enormous symbolic significance “ ( Jena 30 ) . She epitomises the existential philosopher construct of battle against the odds of life. “For the existential philosopher. adult male is ne’er merely portion of the universe but ever stands to it in a relationship of tenseness with possibilities of tragic conflict” ( Macquarrie 17 ) .
She stands for the believing person who dares to exert her free will and move harmonizing to her pick instead than subject meekly to the odds of life. The mindless tribal society in general. and Preet Singh in peculiar. stand for the malevolent facet to human existence-forces that are dead set upon queering the individual’s intent and undoing her. “One of the many ways of specifying calamity sees it as a clang between the aspiration of human freedom and creativeness with a cosmic order that is stronger and lickings adult male “ ( Macquarrie 189 ) .
Though Ila Das loses her celibacy and life in the procedure of her battle with such beastly forces. her life has however become meaningful by virtuousness of the fact that she chooses a cause. battles for it and sacrifices herself in seeking to carry through her undertaking. An scrutiny of the usage of symbolism and imagination in the fresh proves beyond uncertainty the novelist’s experiential concern. She portrays a tragic universe where no via medias are made. no epiphanies are exploded. to be wholly destroyed. as the The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No.
I – Jan. 2005 sensitive. the airy suffer nil but asphyxiation and subjugation. So. the content of the novel is absolute force. The lives of the chief characters are ‘unloved’ and ‘unlived’ . ( Indira 95. 96 ) . In maintaining with this construct. Anita Desai resorts to the effectual employment of imagination and symbolism in Fire on the Mountain. Her preference for prey-predator imagination abounds in this novel besides. Images of ugliness. solitariness. devastation and obliteration are systematically used in order to reflect the experiential tone of the novel.
An ambiance of lone self-contemplation is created with the aid of several images. For illustration. when she receives a call from Ila Das. Nanda Kual “turned her caput this manner and that in an flight. She watched the white biddy retarding force out a worm inch by defying inch from the land till it snapped in two. She felt like the worm herself. she winced at its mutilation “ ( FM 21 ) . The same is continued in the following page besides: “Still get downing at the biddy which was avariciously quaffing down spots of worm. she thought of her husband’s face and the manner he would braid his fingers across his stomach… “ ( FM 22 ) .
This prey-predator image of biddy picking at a worm is implicative of Nanda Kaul’s present inner convulsion. Her past agony at the custodies of the extramarital hubby and her present consciousness about the rough worlds of life are both successfully established by this image. Another of import image employed recurrently is that of the pine tree that stands burned and entirely. which is frequently an object of attractive force for Nanda Kaul: “She was gray. tall and thin … she fancied she could unify with the pine tree and be mistaken for one. To be a tree. no more and no less. was prepared to undertake” ( FM 4 ) .
Again. this image besides contributes to the existentialist subject of the novel. “Nanda’s sense of designation with the pine trees suggests her desire for absolute hush and backdown from life” ( Indra 97 ) . The image of the charred pine tree is repeatedly employed in the novel. Raka is reminded of the futility of being while she looks at the alone hills and charred pine trees: “This hill. with its one destroyed house and one unbuilt one. on the ridge under the fire-singed pines. appealed to Raka… There was something about it- bastard. sturdy and lawless… .
The sense of desolation and failure drew her. inspired her “ ( FM 90 ) . Images of insects like lizards. birds like bird of Joves and parrots. and “the thematic image of the ‘fire’ with its intensions of force and urgency occur at regular intervals. warning the reader of the at hand tragedy” ( Indira 96 ) . The critic S. Indira sums up the significance of imagination in Fire on the Mountain citing D. H. Lawrence and the novelist herself: It is the capturing mosaic of imagination woven so skilfully by the novelist that makes the Novel a work of art. Quoting D. H.
Lawrence who said ‘If I eat an apple. I like to eat it with my senses. ’ Anita Desai herself stated that the novel in which she attempted this intimacy of adult male and animal. Earth and veggie was Fire on the Mountain. Imagery entirely makes it possible and. in the procedure. the novel additions a richer texture and greater deepness. As a critic says. “this fresh deprived of its imagination. would be an ugly skeleton. chilling the reader” … The important house imagination. the images of workss. coloring material. atmosphere and moon- all contribute to the textual denseness and symbolic centrality of the novel.
( Indira 96 ) Another of import facet of this novel’s narrative technique is its symbolism. There are several symbols that deepen the philosophic deductions of The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 the novel. To get down with. Carignano. Nanda Kaul’s present residence. is symbolic of the solitariness and barrenness of human life in general and Nanda Kual in peculiar: What pleased and satisfied her so. here at Carignano. was its barrenness. This was the main virtuousness of Kasauli. of course- its starkness…Occasionally an bird of Jove swam through this clear undoubted mass of visible radiation and air.
( FM 4 ) The alone house is symbolic of the alone life of Nanda Kual and Raka. The barrenness and absoluteness associated with its symbolise an indispensable human status –alienation which is the cardinal note of all experiential doctrine. The eagle symbol. like the house symbol. is repeatedly used in the class of the novel to foreground another facet of experiential doctrine. viz. quest. The sight of the bird of Jove winging high. makes Nanda long to be able to surge like the bird: “An bird of Jove swept over… . its wings outspread. gliding on currents of air without one time traveling its great muscular wings which remained in rest. in control. She [ Nanda Kaul ] .
had wished. it occurred to her. to copy the eagle-gliding. with eyes closed” ( FM 19 ) . This yearning for surging above the range of deterministic confines is the hall grade of Raks’s characters. To underscore this facet. the novelist employs the eagle symbol while depicting Raka’s walk to the Monkey Point. “She was higher than the bird of Joves. higher than Kasauli and Sanwar and all the other hills…” ( FM 61 ) . Therefore Nanda Kaul’s want and Raka’s effort merge in the eagle-symbol. which denoted their experiential angst and pursuit for values. The forest fire scene has symbolic overtones.
Like the “The Fire Sermon” in T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. the fire in Fire on the Mountain “ … is a destroyer. It is besides a purifier” ( Brown 557 ) . By doing usage of the cosmopolitan fire symbol. Anita Desai endows Raka’s character with allegorical deductions. Raka. the invalid restless small miss who is the merchandise of a broken place. becomes the symbol of the existentialist’s perceptual experience of the person who finds herself in this hostile and ineffectual universe. Yet out of irresistible impulse. she strives to happen or make values and significance for her being.
In this respect it has been observed that the symbolic deduction of the forest fire is reinforced by the rubric of the novel. Fire on the Mountain is extremely important from the thematic point of position. The mountain symbolises Nanda Kaul and the fire is symbolic of Raka’s wild nature. “Nanda is the ‘rocky belt’ . dry. hardened by clip and age. Raka is soundless. Swift and endangering like forest fire… The novel. therefore [ sic ] may be noted as a narrative of inabilities of human existences to disregard the universe. to put oneself in another’s position” ( Choudhury 79 ) .
Another factor that adds to the philosophical deductions of the novel is the frequent allusions to books and verse forms. As in other novels in Fire on the Mountain excessively Anita Desai uses poesy. and this clip it is a verse form by Hopkins: I have desired to travel Where springs non neglect To fields where files no crisp and sided hail And a few lilies below And I have asked to be The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 Where no storms semen. Where the green crestless wave is in the oasiss dumb. And out of the swing to the sea. ( FM 87 ) .
This verse form has some connexion with he character of Nanda Kaul who quotes it and the verse form signifies her desire to be off from the monotony of life. to a Eden of nature far from the madding crowd. By presenting this affecting stanza from Hopkin’s verse form. Anita Desai highlights the subject of disaffection which is the cardinal subject of the novel. The same consequence is achieved by presenting an allusion to a transition from The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon which begins with a rubric ‘When a Woman lives Alone’ and through the image of a bedraggled house “with a affectingly bare expression “ ( FM 27 ) .
This image has symbolic overtones as it suggests the alone and bare life of Nanda Kaul herself. Again. when Nanda Kaul is in the company of Raka. there is an allusion to The Travels of Macro Polo ( FM 87 ) . The mention to this book reminds the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ . This besides adds to the symbolism of the novel. This is miniature escapade like the one Marco Polo undertook in hunt of something new and promising. Therefore. the characters of Nanda Kaul. Raka and Ila Das are surveies of adult females in isolation.
Basically a author of experiential dispositions. Anita Desai examines three of import facets of this school of idea through her supporters. The prevailing traits of existential philosophy are disaffection. quest and struggle. These three facets are epitomised in the lives of three female supporters. Nanda Kaul is a survey in disaffection and experiential angst. Raka symbolises the individual’s pursuit for intending in an otherwise ineffectual life. Ila Das stands for the ageless struggle enacted in the human play between the person and the forces of determinism.
One common land for these three characters is that they are adult females who live in isolation both out if pick and irresistible impulse. Desai has examined the quandary of adult females in wilderness by puting these three characters Kasauli. a topographic point surrounded by hills and vales. for removed from civilization. She has consciously done it to analyze the quandary and mind of adult females in isolation. By puting her female supporters with nature herself as the background. Anita Desai has endowed a symbolic and cosmopolitan significance to the predicament of her supporters.
In this respect it has been pointed out: Basically. Desai is a novelist of existential philosopher concerns. chiefly sing what F. H. Heinaman described as ‘the digesting human status. ’ In her novels. she has competently dwelt upon such existentialist subjects as maladjustment. disaffection. absurdness of human being. quest for the ultimate significance in life. determination. withdrawal. isolation and clip as the 4th dimension. concentrating on how adult females in the modern-day urban surroundingss are courageously fighting against or impotently subjecting to the relentless forces of absurd life ( Prasad 140 ) .
To sum up. Fire on the Mountain invites comparing with Shakespeare’s King Lear. In this great calamity. when he dramatises the torment of betrayed male parent. Shakespeare removes Lear from the castle and topographic points him in the wild heath- a hostile place- to propose that the predicament of Lear is indistinguishable with the agony of every wronged male parent.
Shakespeare employs carnal imagination to bespeak the rotten and corrupt universe of the dramatis character of King Lear. Images of ugly and evil animate beings like Canis aureuss and wolves are recurrently used making an carnal imagination that reinforces the thematic concern of the drama. viz. the calamity of human life. The Indian Review of World Literature in English. Vol. 1. No. I – Jan. 2005 personified in the life of Lear. a victim of indifference in old age. Anita Desai’s usage of imagination of King Lea.