The Village by the Sea written by Anita Desai depicts the story of a family living in the small village of Thul. Lila is shown to be the main character within the story.
Lila is shown to have multiple characteristics that creates depth to her personality. In the opening chapter Lila 'took the flowers from her basket and scattered them about the rock, then folded her hands and bowed.' This shows that Lila is very spiritual and has strong beliefs that she has most likely been taught from birth. Her strong beliefs are shown when she 'came to begin the morning with an offering of flowers to the sea.' Another point that is acknowledged is that she is an inquisitive thinker through her prayers. When she prayers she has time to think and reflect on what her priorities in life are.
A challenge that Lila is confronted with is the challenge of aiding for her extremely ill mother. Love, affection and devotion are the characteristics expressed through Lila's actions. The simple act of 'stopping to add extra milk to the tea' shows the reader that she acts as a caregiver and she is very nurturing. Her relationship with her mother is very strong because of her condition.
The relationship with Lila's father is somewhat different. Within the story it is shown that her father is intoxicated most of the time and he is unable to support his family so he looks to Lila and her brother Hari to support the family. Lila had to take responsibility ever since she was a little girl. 'It was the smell she had known and hated since she was a small girl.' In this case this is referring to the smell of alcohol. Lila is shown to have a fear of her father. 'But no one dared tell him, least of all her mother.' From this sentence the reader is immediately given the idea that the father's personality is erratic and uptight.