CITY AS A METAPHOR: A CRITIQUE OF ANITA DESAIâ€™S VOICES IN THE CITY
Anita Desaiâ€™s novel Voices in the City published in the year 1965 is a realistic representation of a decadent city culture. Society appears in the form of the city of Calcutta. The story is based on the life of the middle class intellectuals of Calcutta.
This novel clearly presents the crowded city of Calcutta where the three brothers and sisters feel left alone. The whole novel depicts three protagonists who come to the city with all the energy and enthusiasm to work and establish themselves but all their creative energies do not cover in a common point of integration. Each character in the novel performs a particular kind of activity and each activity encounters only failure. The novel focuses that these failures are related to the actions of the three central characters. Their lives are shaped by their mother in the unconscious and mother discovers the unconscious influence from foster mother, which is none other than Calcutta city. The characters waver between their success and failure. At the end, they realize their futility of their struggle. This is an artistic and authentic experience of life in Calcutta. It is a quest for inner as well as outer reality. The disparity in Amlaâ€™s idealized image and reality tosses her between two tendencies-regression and progression: and it enables her to see her internal conflicts and the external support that she needs in order to grow. Basically a product of not so happy a home, she develops not casuistic attitude. She constantly requires reinforcement from others to counter balance her intrinsic demand with her grandiose self. What she gets in Calcutta does not satisfy her expansive drives, and her anxieties increase. She is agitated till she gets an abundant of love from Dharma.
Monisha feels fed up with the city of Calcutta and wants privacy which is denied to her. This creates a conflict in her being. Attaining a negotiated meaning of existence is far from her reach. Her desire to achieve privacy is obvious. In the city, Calcutta, which stands as metaphor of millions of people.