The Village By the Sea

Desai in this story tried to show the happiness and the importance of the children. Explain with evidence



Hari comes home by bus. Mr. Panwallah and Jagu buy him a ticket jointly for the bus and the former gives him another ten rupees as a farewell present. Jagu advises him to keep the money safe till he gets home. On the way he is excited to see the sea again and smell the salty wind.

His three sisters are happy to see him back home again. They are delighted to have beautiful presents from him for Diwali. Hari tells them about his plans to earn a living in the future. He tells them that although his watch-mending skills are of no use in Thul where no one wears watches it will be a highly lucrative career once a factory comes up and there will many people wearing watches there around. He also tells them that they can start a poultry farm.

Lila tells him of the new developments at home. Hari is happy to hear that their mother is recovering fast and that their father has given up drinking. They go to the beach and buy fish to celebrate his coming home after a long absence. Hari and the two little girls enjoy themselves running and playing on the beach. The girls tell him about the boats lost in the monsoonal rains and how Biju's boat was of immense help to recover them.

After finishing their dinner they talk about their different experiences. Hari tells them about the hard life he lived in Bombay and how Mr. Panwallah and Jagu helped him. They in turn tell him about how the de Silvas helped them in various ways and

how Sayyid Ali is paying them a salary for doing his work. He congratulates them for managing everything so well.


The chapter marks the happy reunion of the brother and the sisters. When Hari leaves the village he was an escapist who had no vision to grapple with his problems. The concluding lines of Chapter 4 paint his despondent attitude. He has come to the uppermost level of his endurance and is running away from home thinking that he would never return to them:

'Debt, debt, debt,' Hari gnashed his teeth. 'Father's always in debt because of toddy.' He got up and turned away from the dead dog and his wailing sisters, and walked out of the house. He would get away. He would go to Rewas. To Bombay. And never come back to this sad house, his frightened sisters, his ill mother, his drunken father. He would leave them and run, run as far away as he could go. (p. 102)

The lines bring out how thoroughly embittered he is about life. His only hope is escape. But he comes back as a passionate optimist. He is full of plans for the improvement of their family income. When Lila expresses her doubts about the utility value of his newly acquired watch mending skills Hari cheers her up by showing that when the factory has come up and a housing colony been built there would be enough work for a watchmaker. Further, when she points out that the poultry farm owned by Old Sabu had to be closed down due to lack of income, he explains to her hat it would not be so when thousands of people come to settle Own in Thul to work in the factory.

Desai also illustrates the joy they feel in their reunion. In the past they had not experienced such happiness because of their poverty and its attendant evils-drunkenness of their father and the sickness of their mother. But now, their worries being removed, they can feel the unhindered joy and warmth in one another's company. For the first time in their lives they seem to behave like children. The writer captures the moment in the following lines:

He ran to the wet sand, feeling it under his bare feet with joy. Bela and Kamal chased him. He dodged them. Lila laughed. Hari threw back his head and whooped so that the gulls rose from the sea's edge and wheeled about in the sky, mewing. He felt like a new person, like someone who had emerged from a tightly shut box and now saw the light and felt the breeze for the first time. He could have been newly born- a butterfly emerged from a cocoon. Bela caught one arm of his and Kamal caught the other. (p. 230)

Desai demonstrates their buoyant spirits with a few well-selected details indicating action, movement and sensations.

Although Biju, the most enterprising and innovative of all the villagers, was to be eclipsed by the visions of an upcoming factory complex, he stands his ground and proves his fortitude and resilience. He is the local entrepreneur whom Hari can consider as a favourable model character. Hari is touched by the news of Biju's voluntary act of leading the search party that had gone to save the lost fishermen. Biju is unaffected by failures or criticisms and works to achieve his goals with zeal. He is aware of the need to improve one's capacity to meet the oncoming changes. After rescuing the fishermen lost in the sea he proudly asserts this:

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The novel focuses on how fast Hari and Lila are forced to grow up before their time and how they adapt to their new living conditions. Both children realize that since their parents can’t take care of them, they must take care of themselves and their younger siblings. They both mature very quickly and assume the roles their mother and father were supposed to fill. Despite their young age, they learn how to take care of the house, how to manage their resources, and how to handle money. This is not depicted as an easy or pleasant task, of course, and even though the novel hews closely to their perspectives, Desai manages to critique adults and society at large for failing the younger generations.