Child psychology is presented in Games at Twilight

Child psychology is presented in Games at Twilight

Question: Discuss the child psychology presented in the short story “Games at Twilight”.


Anita Desai (1937 – present) is a luminous Indian English novelist. She has illustrated child psychology in his remarkable short story “Games at Twilight” through a simple game ‘hide and seek’ which is played in the afternoon in the Indian sub-continent.

Tendency for playing

At the very outset of the story, it is noticed that the children are insisting on their mothers to go outside for playing. It is still too hot outside that is why the mothers do not allow them to go out for playing.

“Please, ma, please, they begged. we will play in the veranda and porch-

we won’t go a step out of the porch”.

After a long struggle, they get permitted and burst into outside in the very hot afternoon with a wild ecstasy. So, in the story, the authoress, first of all, look into children’s utmost tendency for playing which is similar throughout the world not only in India.

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Submission to the powerful

Submission to the powerful starts in the childhood within human beings. Raghu is the antagonist of the story. He is bigger than other boys and has a dominating nature. He is also powerful and a football champion. All the boys are very submissive before him including small Manu and Ravi who is the protagonist of the story. When the game starts, small Manu is caught very earlier and Raghu dominates over him. Manu submits himself to the powerful Raghu and requests him to find the others as Manu does not want to be a seeker. Raghu boastfully replies:

“I know I have to, idiot, Raghu said, superciliously kicking him with his toe.”

Dream and goal

Dreams and goals are important aspects of child psychology. The protagonist of the story Ravi is a different boy from others. He dreams to defeat his prestigious, powerful, and dominating fellow boy Raghu and wants to get the honor of the winner. This time Ravi fixes his goal that he will defeat Raghu by hook or by crook. Such dreams and goals make him more valiant than his age and experience. He hides in a dangerous garage and imagines his victory.

Stubbornness and possessiveness

It is very natural and universal that every child has stubbornness and possessiveness. By such psychological aspects, Anita Desai means to say that child psychology is very natural. The antagonist of the story Raghu is negatively stubborn and possessive but on the other hand, the protagonist is positive in this respect. To achieve his goal, Ravi has to tolerate unbearable pain and fear in the locked garage. He has to face different kinds of insects and overcome his fear. He thinks that Raghu will not be able to find him but it is very ironic that he has kept in mind only one side of the game that is hiding and he forgets the time range. Such stubborn and possessive thinking is very natural in children and it must be respected and evaluated.

The feeling of loneliness and failure

Human life moves from childhood to onward. Finally, when Ravi comes out claiming his victory, he has to face a bitter ironic experience. The children have already started a new game “funeral”. They are so busy playing that they cannot pay minimum attention to Ravi. Ravi is surprised to see that he has no demand as a winner. He is humiliated and mocked by his mother too. Ravi was not prepared at all to face such an insulting situation and wanted victory, not another game.

“He wanted victory and triumph – not a funeral”.

The children and his mother also suggest him to join the funeral game. This makes him secluded and forces him to feel that he is a failure certainly. This depression also makes him utter silent.

“He lay down full length on the damp grass, crushing his face into it,

no longer crying, silence by a terrible sense of his insignificance.”


In fact, the story gives us a wonderful picture of a little boy’s suffering and psychological tortures. The depiction of child psychology has made the story very interesting and enjoyable. It provides a message to the world that children are very sensitive and they should be granted. Otherwise, it will be very destructive.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

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