Desai, Clear Light of Day:
- What are the differences in how Tara and Bim react to the rose walk, the dog, and the
other changes (or lack thereof) in their old home and past lives?
- What makes Old Delhi different from New Delhi? What is the "Old Delhi
decadence"? What does this say about the value of silence? (13)
- Describe Babas attempts to go out into the world.
- Contrast the houses influence on Tara with Bakuls plans for her (20-21).
- What has estranged Bim from Raja?
- Describe the various members of the Misra family.
- What is Bakuls attitude towards being an ambassador?
- How does Bakul describe India to outsiders? Why does Bim disagree with him? (35)
- Note Mulks outburst and his concerns with music.
- How does Tara respond to Bims quoting Eliot? (40-41)
- How do the sisters remember the summer of 47? (42-43)
- In what ways is poetry important to Raja? the Urdu language? (45-46)
- How does Raja react to Hyder Alis library? his home and lifestyle? (47ff.)
- What is significant about Rajas choice of college? Why does Rajas father
fear for his life?
- Describe Rajas experience at college.
- In what ways does Raja imagine himself as a Romantic hero? (55-56)
- How responsibility falls on Bim as part II progresses?
- What effect do the parents' deaths have on the remaining family? (64-65)
- Why is Bim equally bored with Dr. Biswas and Bakul?
- Note how Bakul describes the political situation surrounding the partition.
- What do they find at Alis house? Why is the servant afraid?
- How does Mira describe life? How does she respond to the children as flames? (77-79)
- Describe Dr. Biswas reaction to Mozart and German culture (82-83).
- How does Miras madness see her clothes and her life? (89-90)
- How do Bim and Raja react to Gandhis assignation? (93-94)
- Note Miras continuing and worsening madness: Why does Bim compare/ not compare
Miras death to drowning?
- Note how the novel loops back to former recalled moments in Bims and Taras
- Why is Mira sent for? What kind of relationship does she have with the other children?
- How did Miras former family treat her? (108)
- Why do the children think Mira is not fit to be a mother? Do you agree? (109-111)
- How does Raja react as he grows older? How does this shape his relationship with his
- How do each of the children respond to reading?
- Note how differently Tara and Bim respond to school (122-123).
- What two events "cut through the grey chalk dust of school life with stripes of
shocking color"? (127ff.)
- What do Bim and Tara think about wearing Rajas pants and smoking his cigarettes?
- Contrast Bims and Taras view of college and marriage (140-141).
What are Bims views of history?
- How does Bim imagine Rajas life? Why does she distinguish between Raja
having a "vocation" and a "hobby"? (145)
- What is Taras opinion of the way Bim runs her house?
- Why does Bim wish Raja were there to talk with Sharma about the insurance business?
- Note Bims continued anger and Taras concern over it.
- After becoming angry with Baba, what does Bim learn about her anger? her feelings
towards Babas silence? her love for her family? her need to forgive Raja? (163-165)
- Why do you think the emperors last words appeal to Bim so much? (167-169)
- Why is Tara still concerned about the swarm of bees that attackef Bim? What does Bim
mean by "Nothings over
- How are all the people at Mulks concert like a tapestry? (179-180)
- What does Mulks gurus voice represent? (181-183)
- What role does memory play in the novel?
- How is forgiveness tied to one's view of the past?
- What do we learn in the novel about men and women's roles? Who
has made the best choices?
- What do we learn about the racial tensions between Muslims and
Hindus? about class struggles? about generational differences?
- What is the work's overall message about family?