Summary of A Devoted Son by Anita Desai | Class 12 English Summary

Summary of A Devoted Son by Anita Desai

Class 12 A Devoted Son (by Anita Desai) Summary in both English and Nepali. This summary will help you understand the story very easily. Summary of A Devoted Son can also make students capable of answering different types of questions that are asked from this story.

In this article, we have only provided the summary of the story so if you want to get the notes i.e questions answers of a A Devoted Son then you can get it by clicking here (Get Notes).

About the Author 

Anita Desai

Anita Desai, originally known as Anita Mazumdar (b. 1937), is an Indian novelist, short story writer, and children's book author. Growing up as a biracial child with a German mother and Indian father, Desai was exposed to the languages of German, Hindi, and English from an early age. After completing her B.A. from the University of Delhi, Desai began publishing her stories and novels.

Her novels, including CryThe Peacock (1963), Where Shall We Go this Summer (1975), Fire on the Mountain (1977), Clear Light of the Day (1980), In Custody (1984), Baumgartner's Bombay (1988), Journey to Ithaca (1995), Feasting, Feasting (1999), and Zigzag Way (2004), received a mixed response from readers. She was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award for her novel Fire on the Mountain. The film adaptation of her novel In Custody was released in 1993.

Desai also published several volumes of short stories, including Games at Twilight and Other Stories (1978) and Diamond Dust and Other Stories (2000). Her children's books The Village by the Sea (1982) and The Artist of Disappearance (2011) gained popularity among Indian children. "The Devoted Son" is an excerpt from her collection of stories, The Complete Short Stories.

"A Devoted Son" is a realistic story that explores parental ambitions for their children and the son's sense of duty towards his parents.

Main Plot

A Devoted Son is about the strained relationship between Varma and his son, Rakesh. Varma wrongly believes that Rakesh doesn't care for him and ignores him, leading to a strong dislike for his own son. Varma's declining health requires him to take pills, which he resents and wishes to avoid. The story explores family dynamics, miscommunication, and the consequences of misunderstanding.


  1. Rakes: A young Indian man who earns the top position in his national exams, main character 
  2. Varma: Rakesh’s father
  3. Verma's Wife: Mother of Rakesh
  4. Veena: Uneducated village girl, Rakesh's Wife
  5. Mr. Bhatia: Mr. Varma best friend and his next door neighbour 

Central Theme of the Story 

The story explores the negative effects of misunderstandings and miscommunication within a family. It shows how false beliefs and not understanding each other can strain relationships and even lead to hatred. The story highlights the importance of open and clear communication in maintaining healthy and positive family dynamics.

A Devoted Son Class 12 Summary 

The story "A Devoted Son" is a realistic story based on familial relationships. This story has been written by an Indian author Anita Desai. This story has been extracted from a story collection called "The Complete Story Stories". This story has presented a story of a man named Dr. Rakesh of India. 

The story has focused on his unselfish devotion toward his family members, especially his father. Rakesh's family background was so poor. His grandparents used to sell vegetables in the market. His parents were quite laborious. His father used to work in a kerosene depot. His mother spent her life honestly caring for family members and household tasks. Rakesh was full of good manners and brilliant student since his childhood.

The story starts with good news in the morning time. Rakesh touched his father's feet and revealed his top pass marks in the country. All his family members and neighbours celebrated the occasion as a festival. 

Next, Rakesh won a scholarship for his MD thesis and made his family members happy and proud. His father didn't like the term America. He only learnt to say the USA. Rakesh moved to the USA and completed his medical degree easily. He returned to his homeland after earning experience and money. His parents were surprised to find him back in India. 

He married an uneducated village girl against his parents' will. His wife was a fat pretty woman who was so careful about her household tasks. Rakesh started his job in the city hospital and he did his job quite honestly there. He got a promotion soon. Later he left his job at the city hospital and started his clinic. 

He remained dutiful towards his profession and became able to get a name, money and popularity. He became so happy at the time of his son's birth.

Next, Rakesh became so sad about the death of his mother. His father Varma suffered from depression. Due to his old age, he was even retired from his job. He started falling ill mysteriously and frequently. Rakesh provided him with much care. 

He cared overall activities of his father. He even postponed his son's birthday party to recover his father's health. He provided his father with morning tea in a brass tumbler. He read morning newspapers for his father. He became angry with his father to find him giving bribes for jalebis to his son. He banned Varma's desirable foodstuffs as sojjie-halwa, oily and other foodstuffs. Varma got irritated to find his son and daughter-in-law's activities. 

He started complaining about them to his friend Bhatiya. Their relationship became quite weak. Varma cried and even smashed the bottles of medicine and asked his son to let him die. He wanted to spend his remaining days enjoying and eating his desirable foodstuffs. But Rakesh kept on providing his services to his father being a devoted son till the end. He didn't step back in the matter of his devotion.

A Devoted Son Class 12 Summary in Nepali

When reading any story or poem. It is very necessary to understand it properly. Unless we understand the main theme of the chapter we won't be able to answer any of the questions. For us, it is easier to understand them in nepali rather than in english. 

So if you want to the summary of 'A Devoted Son' in nepali then you can listen to the audio embedded below. This audio provides you the complete summary of the story and you'll be able to understand the story very easily.

Listen to A Devoted Son Summary

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Analysis & Interpretation

  • The story shows how misunderstandings and not understanding each other can strain family relationships.
  • Varma believes that his son, Rakesh, doesn't care for him and ignores him, which makes him dislike his own son.
  • Varma's declining health and the pills he has to take represent his worsening physical and emotional state.
  • The pills symbolize the burden of medical treatment and loss of control over one's own body.
  • Varma's genuine pain and desire to die rather than take more pills show how unhappy and desperate he feels.
  • Rakesh tries to help by offering a new tonic, but Varma refuses because he doesn't want more medicine.
  • The story raises questions about the importance of talking openly, understanding each other, and showing empathy in families.
  • It reminds us that misunderstandings can have serious consequences on relationships, so it's important to communicate honestly.
In summary, the story explores family dynamics, miscommunication, and the impact of misunderstandings on relationships in a touching way.
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