Rod is shown as a typical teenage male.
He spends time with his father eating and watching TV. Rod is living the life Mr. Patton wants his son to live which is to be in the football team. Rod is a contrast to Melanie, he is seen as a fitness fanatic, who is seen spending all his time and energy in exercising.
This puzzles Arun as “one can’t tell what is more dangerous in this country, the pursuit of health or of sickness.” Rod and Melanie represents the two sides.Rod overworks himself for health and Melanie throws up for sickness.
Compulsive exercising is another outlet of behaviour. On the surface on his goal may seem to train, but ultimately the exercise gives him a sense of temporary power, control or self-respect. It is another way to forget about his underlying issues and to relieve guilt and pressure of the stresses that build. One of the thing he might be guilty about is neglecting his sister. He knows that she has a disorder but refuses to say anything to his parents.
This might build up his stress and a way to relieve it is to exercise.Rod is a minor character, he is not very important as he doesn’t have many interactions with Arun. His interactions with Arun are small and his lack of presence in the book could demonstrate the lack of family life.
Melanie’s refusal to eat Mrs. Patton’s cooking is one of the conflicts within the family. Melanie does not know what she wants, but instead vents her anger at her mother. Mrs.
Patton usually cooks vegetables for Arun, which makes Melanie dislike their guest, she hates and respect Arun at the same time, considering him an outsider while considering herself a victim of injustice.’I’m not going to eat any of that poison. Everything you cook is- poison!’ A dash might be used to emphasis the word poison. Poison can kill or severally injure someone. By saying that Melanie could be meaning that her food would kill her or her soul.
By refusing to eat Mrs. Patton’s food it might mean that she does not accept Mrs. Patton as her mother.
Meat can be seen as power, this is not only because meat usually cost more than vegetables. Traditionally, meat, is considered to be the food of strength and strengthening, granting vitality, blood and health. It was seen as the food of men, who eat it twice, while the women suffice with a small portion. Meat is seen as important to Rod because he needs proteins to help his exercising. Meat is something that makes Mr. Patton feel macho. Meat has changed Papa’s life ‘A meat diet has been one of the revolutionary changes brought about in his life.
‘Fasting Feasting presents two contrasting settings. It shows two contrasting cultures and in the end both cultures show that women are slaves, the opposites are in the end the same. Although Uma’s family is not perfect, there is still some sort of family inter-connection between them.
For example, they eat dinner together, and they talk to each other. But despite that, the Patton family is quite similar to Uma’s family. They live in a male dominated society, where the father runs the house at all times and husbands ignore wives’ requests. While the Patton family lacks family inter-connection, but the females in their society are free do do what they want and eat what they want.
Conclusion America is a consumerist country, even though we have many times more technological advances than a few decades ago, we spend less time with family. I can’t see how they have time to spend with each other when they are constantly busy with buying more and more stuff to engorge themselves. I think Desai is saying that despite America being so much more advanced to India, the ends are still the same. Nobody is happy in the end.