Fasting, Feasting Response

The passage shows Arun’s feelings of discomfort and aversion to the current situation, as well as the contrast between him and his host family.   The author uses various literary devices such as speech, diction, and point of view to convey these messages.
The excerpt begins by explaining that Arun “cannot plead work” which tells the reader right away that there may be a situation he wants to avoid.   Arun’s despondence is sharply contrasted by Mrs. Patton’s stubborn enthusiasm.   It is clear as she refuses to hear Arun’s excuses, that what she believes to be ideal day plans may not be at all in Arun’s best interest.   We can see by her “new and animated prance galvanizing her dwindled shanks” that perhaps she has had a recent personal transformation that is driving her ardor and confidence.   The awkwardness and discomfort Arun is feeling is demonstrated as he and Melanie “try to find a way to walk that will not compel them to be side by side or in any way close together.”
As they make their way through the forest, the description begins by giving a positive light on the situation, illustrating the cicadas as “small harps suspended in the trees.”   Then, the author shows another point of view in order to contrast Arun and his host family’s perception of the forest as she describes the birds with diction such as shrieking, hoarsely, ugly, and jarring.  
As the author says that it seems the animals “are in hiding or have fled” she shows that to run away from the wilderness is exactly what Arun would like to do.   Arun’s discomfort becomes more apparent as he starts to sweat and “the hair on the back of his neck begin to prickle.”   The fact that Arun almost trips then “stumbles and has to steady himself so as not to spill the contents of the basket” is a portrayal of Arun’s effort to hold himself together in such an uncomfortable situation.
In the passage, Arun’s perception is contrasted with that of his host family with the author’s use of literary devices.   Also,...