Main Themes of Anita Desai's 'Where shall we Go This Summer?'

Anita Desai's 'Where shall we Go This Summer?' portrays the emotional and temperamental chasm between the pairs of lovers in the novel- Sita and Raman. The natural flow of affection between the lovers, is very often intact but more frequently it is blocked due to misunderstanding, lack of adequate forbearance and patience. The central theme in the novel is Sita's repugnance and disgust at the thought of the birth of her fifth child. She is an experienced keen eyed mature mother. She knows the joy of motherhood and is comparatively contented. But she is emotionally hurt in the recent years; her shock comes from modern town culture. The strain involved in the earlier childbirths was not felt but being hurt in several ways this time she is not prepared for the delivery of the child. She is afraid that different nurses and doctors will offer indignity to her person. The process of hospitalization and the details of the procreative procedure are repugnant even in their mental picturing to Sita. Therefore she seeks to escape from this predicament. The theme of this novel is a very complex one but very delicately handled by the novelist.

Sita is of course affectionate to her husband, she has a deep concern for his problems, but she has an unquiet mind. Unable to compromise with her husband. She leaves for the Island Manor!. Once she leaves her husband she feels very sorry for having abandoned him. She thinks he will suffer without being able to look after their children properly. To quote her agonised speech:"His boys at home must have worried him, while he was at work in the factory which was not without its problems either. He looked worn much older than his years. Nor could he stay here resting as she was doing. But Sita is often despondent and unhappy and fails to satisfy her husband by a show of natural affections, and emotional and affectionate reassurances, so frequently needed to make life pleasant, she regards the assurance as false. "It simply did not exist for her and should not make it exist. So she did not speak any words of love or reassurance to him.

Free flow of love and sympathy may make marital life heavenly but Anita Desai's ladies being born with higher sensibility fail to provide them. This is the kind of emotional inadequacy existing between pairs of lovers in her books. There is no deliberate attempted element in their discord. The discords are the results of temperamental differences and there is an unconscious quality about them. Thematically Anita Desai makes a minute study of the undercurrent feelings between the husband and wife. Thus the husband is irritated by Sita's exaggerated concern about the welfare of the helpless eagle being attacked by crows. He rejoices in Sita's discomfiture at the outcome of the incident. "They've made a good job of your eagle", (said her husband comjng out with her morning cup of tea. "Look at the feathers sticking out of that crow's beak, He laughted".

Because of this standing difference between the two Sita does not open her heart to her husband and maintains a certain reserve, which is the inherent seed of permanent discord of a subtle and minor type between the two.In circumstances, she desirous of complete surrender to her husband, on his visit to Manori keeps back her feelings. "She felt so weak, she wanted to lay down her head and weep, "My father's dead-look after me". She cleared her throat. 

"All right, she said hoarsely...". I "he natural flow of affections and necessity of affections is thus retarded. The deep psychological insight of human nature that Anita Desai possesses reminds one of the tradition of George Eliot. The novelist brings out this point all through the book and frequently refers to Sita's "Wanting and not being given. What she wanted" and refers to her face. "It was the face of a woman unloved a woman rejected”. The theme of needs, of love rejected or not understood characterises most of her novels.