Fasting, Feasting

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Rod Character Analysis

Rod is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Patton and the brother of Melanie. Even-tempered and unemotional, Rod betrays little reaction to the conflicts and tension within his home. He knows about Melanie's eating disorder, and while he disapproves, he accepts it as an unfortunate reality. Athletic and accomplished, Rod is usually found working out or watching sports and eating with his dad. For Rod, sports are an escape from the difficult reality of his family life. Rod makes some effort at befriending Arun, but for the most part keeps to himself. In the end, he like Arun escapes his family by going away to college.

Rod Quotes in Fasting, Feasting

The Fasting, Feasting quotes below are all either spoken by Rod or refer to Rod . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of Fasting, Feasting published in 2000.
Chapter 22 Quotes

We don’t sit down to meals like we used to. Everyone eats at different times and wants different meals. We just don’t get to eating together much now that they’re grown. So I just fill the freezer and let them take down what they like, when they like. Keeping the freezer full—that’s my job, Ahroon.

Related Characters: Mrs. Patton (speaker), Arun, Mr. Patton , Melanie , Rod
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

Arun is spending time with the Patton family, an "all-American" clan that celebrates sports, success, and competition. The problem with the Patton family, it's suggested, is that they don't have any real sense of community. Mrs. Patton tells Arun (she can't even pronounce his name right, emphasizing the distance between her culture and his) that her family no longer eats together--a pretty good metaphor for the breakdown of the traditional American family over time. Mrs. Patton is a mother, but she's lost any real connection to her children apart from her literal, material duty to give them things to eat. Once again Desai compares ideas of plenty to scarcity--the Pattons have plenty to eat, but little real connection, and the Patton children have plenty of freedom, but little happiness.

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Chapter 23 Quotes

Mr. Patton ignores her. He is getting a can of beer out of the refrigerator. Opening it with a shark jerk of his thumb, he demands, ‘Where are the kids? Are they going to be in for dinner tonight? What have they been doing all day? Are they doing any work around here?’

Related Characters: Mrs. Patton , Mr. Patton , Melanie , Rod
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Patton is a gruff, action-focused husband--a parody of the American masculine ideal. He's not a particularly considerate or kind man, either. When he returns from work, he doesn't seem to show any affection or love for his wife; he just asks her where his children are. By the same token. Mr. Patton doesn't really ask about how his children are doing; he just asks about what they've done all day (how many chores, etc.).

Mr. Patton is an unusually bullish, stern man, and yet Arun (who's witnessed the entire scene) seems to take him as a representative American husband. Based on Arun's earlier observations, it would seem, Arun thinks of Mr. Patton and Papa as similar kinds of people--basically dismissive of others' needs (particularly women), and too focused on actions. Arun notices that Mr. Patton ignores his family's feelings, and starts to dislike him for doing so.

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Rod Character Timeline in Fasting, Feasting

The timeline below shows where the character Rod appears in Fasting, Feasting. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 20
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Tradition/India vs. Modernity/West Theme Icon
Loneliness and Togetherness Theme Icon
...that night, Arun hears noise and looks out his window to see the Patton’s son Rod, eating leftover meat off the grill in the yard. A little while later, he looks... (full context)
Chapter 21
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
Family Life and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Returning from work at the university library, Arun passes Rod, who handsomely jogs by, inviting Arun to join him. Arun turns him down, feeling embarrassed... (full context)
Chapter 23
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
Family Life and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Tradition/India vs. Modernity/West Theme Icon
...is very concerned about whether anybody is “Doing work,” and when Mrs. Patton says that Rod is working out, he responds, “And Melanie...What’s she in training for, Huh?” He is angry... (full context)
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Tradition/India vs. Modernity/West Theme Icon
...hears her going into her room, and he thinks he hears her crying. Arun finds Rod, who is doing leg-lifts and stationary cycling in his room, and shyly tells him that... (full context)
Chapter 27
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
Family Life and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Tradition/India vs. Modernity/West Theme Icon
Loneliness and Togetherness Theme Icon
...tidies Melanie’s room, on her knees, and seeks out new age spiritual literature and programs. Rod has won a football scholarship. Arun has just received the box with a brown shawl... (full context)