Sunday, 29 May 2016

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories A Conversation with My Father (Grace Paley) Summary and Question Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories A Conversation with My Father (Grace Paley) Summary and Question Answers


Summary

This story introduces two generations in terms of writer and her father. The writer represents the new generation and her father represents the old generation. As the story proceeds, we learn that there is a difference of opinion between the approaches of both the characters defending two different generations. We notice a lack of willingness in both characters to accept the idea of reality interpreted by their own observations and exposures. This surely creates a generation gap that is apparent in the story. Her father is of quite an excessive age a heart patient.
The practical existence of this generation gap is more obvious when her father asks her to write a story like Russian writers used to write. The writer doesn't like telling stories that way because "it takes all hope away. Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life."
Even then she tries her best to write a simple and plain story to follow Russian writers.
It is a true story about writer’s neighbour woman who lives with her son happily until her son falls into a bad habit of drugs. She starts to use drugs as she thinks this will help her to be closer to her son. The son gives up drugs later and leaves the city and her mother behind.
But this is not what the father had in mind at all. "You misunderstood me on purpose . . .” You left everything out." The father asks the writer questions, attempting to fill in details of the story that he believes are important. The writer agrees to tell the story again.
Her father again puts up objections when she writes second version of story after totally changing it to satisfy her father. He tells her that her story lacks the reality and she should learn to write about reality. He considers that a character becomes weak if it is changed and it can not survive for long period of time. So she again fails to please her father even after writing a totally changed story.



Question Answers


Q 1. Discuss the generation gap in the story “A Conversation with My Father”. OR What is the conflict between the father and the daughter?
Ans. Generation gap holds the central importance in this story. Both writer and her father hare holding on to their own beliefs about reality. They have their own separate meanings and interpretations of reality and its nature. Element of rigidity is also found to a great deal in the story; both of the characters are not willing to accept that they are wrong at some points. No one is ready to see the things from a neutral point of view. This is the major conflict in the story between two persons.
For her father, the life is very simple and family is an important part of life. He believes that marriage is a relation that makes a life complete and beautiful. He thinks that a character loses its recognition if we change the natural attributes of that character. He is fond of the stories that end in a satisfactory and agreeable way because he has his own definition about reality. Writer’s approach to reality is immature and lacks seriousness in front of her father. In his opinion, young generation is reluctant to see, understand and face reality as it is and he is not going to accept young generation’s point of view.
Young generation looks at life in its own way, youth takes life as versatile and variable phenomena. For them, life is incomplete and there is always a space for improvement and every person can change with time and circumstances. It is not as easy as old generation thinks it is. Life is unhopeful, complicated and discouraging. Young generation holds a totally different opinion about family; they believe that married life is not important and it is personal choice whether to get married or not. We learn that both of the characters are firm on their point of view and not willing to accept other school of thought. They are inflexible and unbending as far as their observation and judgment is concerned.

Q 2. Why writer Grace Paley fails to write a story according to expectation of her father? OR Describe he reason why writer is not successful in writing a story to satisfy her father’s expectations?
Ans. The writer and her father are enjoying very happy and respectable relation. She tries her best to keep her father happy and not to go against his wishes or desires. Even in story writing, she tries to write a story according to her father’s expectations. She does not argue with her father even when there is a chance of argument. She writes a simple story to please her father but fails.
This is because of generation gap because writer belongs to young generation that thinks life story never ends and it is always depressing and disappointing. She believes in change, a change in character and his life.
She does not like the stories that start in a conventional way, she believes in open choices for a character. Therefore, we can conclude that the daughter has great love and care for her father. However, she cannot write a simple story for him. She has sensibilities of her own times. She is rigid and is not ready to accept what is wrong to her.

Q 3. What was the first version of the story written by the writer and what were her father’s objections?
Ans. The writer’s father asked her to write a simple story for him. The writer did like to write a simple story, but she wrote a story just to please him. It was a true story. It was about a woman who was a neighbor of the writer.
This woman had a son and they both lived nicely in a small apartment in Manhattan. Her son became a drug addict at the age of fifteen. It was not usual in that area. She also became a drug addict just to have a close contact with her son. However, for a number of reasons her son gave up drugs and left the city and her in disgust. Now the woman was hopeless and alone. The writer went to see her.
The writer’s father did not like the story and he raised many objections. Firstly, he said that she had not written the story according to his wishes. She misunderstood him on purpose. Secondly, she had left everything out. Thirdly, she had not written the story according to the Russian writers who could write a plain, ordinary story. She had not written the story for ordinary people.
Fourthly, she had not told about the physical appearance of the woman and about her hair. Fifthly, she had not told about the parents of the woman. If she had told, it would have been possible to tell why she had become such a person. Sixthly, she had not told about her husband and whether her boy. He believed that the bond of marriage was very important. Therefore, these were the objections of the father to the first version of the story.

Q 4. What was the second version of the story written by the writer and what were her father’s objections?
Ans. The father of the writer raised some objections to the first version of the story and asked the writer to write the story again. Therefore, the writer wrote the story again. This time she added many things.
The story was about a woman. She had a son whom she loved very much. He became a drug addict in his adolescence. He was a writer and wrote articles in newspapers.  I order to keep a close contact; she also became a drug addict. However, in spite of that she took great care of her son. She kept many orange juice, honey, milk and vitamin pills at home.
Once her son went to a cinema where he met a girl because of the girl, he gave up drugs and started his normal life again. The son asked his mother to give up drugs, but she could not.  The son left her and went away. The mother was alone now and she wept for her son. The writer visited her.
The writers’ fatter did not like the second version of the story either. He raised several objections. Firstly, he ironically objected that she had nice sense of humor. Secondly, he objected that she could not tell a plain story. Thirdly, he objected to the end of the story. He did not like that, the woman was left alone, and she had no hope. Fourthly, he objected that the writer did not want to face the reality. He believed that no character could change. It was a joke to show that in a story. If there was any change, it could not last long. It was the only truth for him. Therefore, these were the objections of the writer to the second version of the story.


Q 5. What kind of story does the writer’s father want her to write?
Ans. The father of the writer of the story “A Conversation with My Father” asks her to write a simple story for hmm once more. The writer used to write simple stories.
He wants that the story should have all the good qualities of a simple story. Firstly, he likes the stories of the Russian writers, so he wants her daughter to write the story according to these writers. Secondly, the story should be written about the real, recognizable people. Thirdly the physical appearance of the characters should be given. The writer should tell even about the hair of the characters fourthly the background of the character must be given. In this way, it will be possible for the reader to find out why the character had become such a person.
Fifthly, the bond of marriage must be given a lot of importance in the stories. Sixthly, he believes that the sense of humor must be nice. The writer of the story should face the reality and should give a convincing end to the story. The end of the story must be finished. The characters in a story cannot change and the writer must not try to change them. It is a joke if a writer does therefore. According to him, such a story is against reality and it is not true. He believes that if a character changes it is only for the time being.
Therefore, the father wants her to write a story according to his own sensibility.

Q 6. Why does the writer not like to write a simple story about real and recognizable people?
Ans. The father of the writer of the story “A Conversation with My Father” asks her to write a simple story for him once more. From a simple story, he means such story as the famous Russian writers used to write. According to him these writer used to write simple stories about real and recognizable people.
However, the writer does not like to write a simple story because of certain reasons. She is a representative of the young generation. The young generation considers the life story unfinished, complex, and depressing. To them family life or bond of marriage is not important. They believe that every person can change. That is a truth to them. When her father does not agree, she says, “No Pa, it could really happen that way, it’s a funny world nowadays.”
The writer hates the stories that start with the sentence: “There was a ….” She does not hate such stories because of literary reasons, but because she thinks that, every person or character of a story should have the open destiny of life. She feels a kind of responsibility for the characters in this respect. She fully believes that every character can change with time.
Therefore, we can conclude that the daughter has great love and care for her father. However, she does not like to write a simple story. She has the sensibilities of her own time. She is rigid and is not ready to accept what is wrong to her.

Q 7. What is the theme of the story “A Conversation with My Father”?
Ans. The theme of the story “A Conversation with My Father” is the generation gap between the old and the young writers.
The father of the writer represents the old generation of writers. For him life is simple and family oriented. He values in marriage. He also believes that a character in a story has some individuality and it does not change. He believes that the life story of each character should have a reasonable end.
He has his own idea of reality. The reality presented by the writer is just a joke to him. He is not going to accept it. He also believes that evasion is a characteristic of the young generation. The young generation is not ready to look the truth in the face.
Whereas, the young generation consider the life story unfinished, complex, and depressing. To them family life or the bond of marriage is not important. They believe that every person can change. That is a truth to them. The writer hates the stories that start with the sentence: “There was a….”
She does not hate such stories because of literary reasons. She thinks that every person or character of a story should have the open destiny of life. She feels a kind of responsibility for the characters in this respect. She fully believes that every character can change with time.
Therefore, the theme of the story is the generation gap between the young and the old writers. We see that the daughter has great love and care for her father. However, she cannot write a simple story for him. Both have sensibilities of their own times. They are rigid and are not ready to accept what is wrong to them.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Duchess and the Jeweler (Virginia Woolf) Summary and Question Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Duchess and the Jeweler (Virginia Woolf) Summary and Questions Answers


Summary

Oliver Bacon is this story's protagonist. Once a poor boy in the streets of London, he has become the richest jeweler in England. As a young man, he sold stolen dogs to wealthy women and marketed cheap watches at a higher price. On a wall in his private room hangs a picture of his late mother. He frequently talks to her and reminisces, once chuckling at his past endeavors.
One day, Oliver enters into his private shop room, barely acknowledging his underlings, and awaits the arrival of the Duchess. When she arrives, he has her wait. In his room, under yellow gloves, he opens barred windows to get some air. Later, Oliver opens six steel safes, each containing endless riches of jewels.
The Duchess and the Jeweler are described as "... friends, yet enemies; he was master, she was mistress; each cheated the other, each needed the other, each feared the other..." On this particular day, the Duchess comes to Oliver to sell ten pearls, as she has lost substantial money to gambling. Mr. Bacon is skeptical of the pearl's authenticity, but the Duchess manipulates him into buying them for twenty thousand pounds. When the Duchess invites him to an event that includes a cast of royalty and her daughter Diana, Oliver is persuaded to write a check.
In the end, the pearls are found to be fakes, and Oliver looks at his mother's portrait, questioning his actions. However, what Oliver truly bought was not actually the pearls: it was Diana.
In "The Duchess and the Jeweler" Virginia Woolf skillfully depicts the greatest amount of communication that takes place between the characters in the text in spite of their lack of verbal communication and also the deep understanding that the readers can get of the characters within the text though their emotions and states of mind is not expressed explicitly. She replaces the lengthy dialogues and direct descriptions of the states of the characters with brief but meaningful dialogues and use of images and entrance in to the mind of the characters and giving the reader the chance to read much of their present state and enough of their past lives needed to accomplish her story.



Question Answers


Character of Oliver Bacon

The Duchess and the Jeweler is the story of the world's greatest jeweler who had promised his mother to become the richest jeweler in the world in his childhood but now that his dream has materialized he does not feel satisfied. So trying to achieve satisfaction, knowingly he buys fake pearls from a Duchess in exchange for passing a whole weekend with her daughter whom he is in love with.
Oliver Bacon, the jeweler, is really the only developed character in the short story "The Duchess and the Jeweler" by Virginia Woolf. The author uses the indirect stream-of consciousness technique as well as her own words to depicts the enterprising merchant as a many-sided man: He is both ambitious and sympathetic.
The jeweler is highly arrogant and ambitious. His strutting smugness is evident through the animal metaphors used to portray him-from his physical bearing ("his nose was long and flexible, like an elephant's trunk"), to his ambition compared to a "giant hog" snuffing for truffles or a "camel sees the blue lake."He reveals his heart's deepest passion for cold stones rather than other human beings, especially since he does not have any real friends in the story. When Bacon opens his safe to relish his treasures, the jewels-"shining, cool, yet burning eternally, with their own compressed light"-his excitement is clear as he gives human attributes to the germs.
"Tears!" said Oliver, looking at the pearls.
"Heart's blood!" he said, looking at the rubies.
But then, he exclaims "Gunpowder!" at the blazing light from the diamonds, "Gunpowder enough to blow Mayfair-sky high, high, high!" At this point, Bacon becomes not just the mercantile manipulator, but a man of the British ruling structure, an edifice so massive that much of the population remained flattened by its pressures.
However, our sympathies are with the man who recalls his youthful self, "you who began life in a filthy, little alley" and who still incarnates the spirit of "the wily astute little boy;" the man who still works in "the dark little shop in the street off Bond Street" rather than in the world of the Duchess who, for all her dissipation, still covers the jeweler "with sparkling bright colors;" the man who worships the memory of his mother and apologizes to her for paying the Duchess 20,000 pounds for junk, trading his self-respect.

Character of Duchess

The Duchess and the Jeweler is the story of the world's greatest jeweler who had promised his mother to become the richest jeweler in the world in his childhood but now that his dream has materialized he does not feel satisfied. So trying to achieve satisfaction, knowingly he buys fake pearls from a Duchess in exchange for passing a whole weekend with her daughter whom he is in love with.
The character of Duchess represents the downfall of social elites in English Society and how they are desperately trying to maintain their pretense at the cost of their honor and moral values.
This fake appearance of status is shown when Duchess enters the Oliver Bacon’s shop, “then she loomed up, filling the door, filling the room with aroma, the prestige, the arrogance, the pomp, the pride of all the Dukes and Duchesses swollen in one wave.”
We come into contact with totally opposite personality of Duchess when reality unfolds later in the story. She is left with no prestige, wealth and status. These are the virtues she wants to acquire in front of her society no matter what price she has to pay. She is still sticking to aristocratic habits of wasting her money away just to show off her status. She has been gambling and losing money. The writer delivers a contrast between social high-ups and struggling lower class. Royal class of Duchess is going down its way and struggling class of Oliver Bacon is tracing its way higher on the social ladder.
On a particular day, the Duchess comes to Oliver to sell ten pearls, as she has lost substantial money to gambling. Mr. Bacon is doubtful about the pearl's authenticity, but the Duchess is successful in convincing him to buy them for twenty thousand pounds. When the Duchess invites him to an event that includes a cast of royalty and her daughter Diana, Oliver is persuaded to write a check. Apparently, we notice a bargain of peals against money but Duchess is selling out not only her own morality but the honor of her own daughter. It all happens under the cover of mutual greed that they both have in their minds.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Necklace (Guy de Maupassant) Summary and Questions Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Necklace (Guy de Maupassant) Summary and Questions Answers


Summary

The story “The Necklace” is about the fact that even a small thing can change the life of a person. Chance or fate plays very important role in human life. It is more powerful than human resolution. It is man’s destiny.
Mathilda is the central character of the story. She was very pretty. She thought that she was born in the family of clerks by the error of destiny. Her husband, Losiel was also a clerk.
She believed that she was born for all the luxuries of life. She did not like her poor house. She always dreamed of a big house.
One day her husband brought an invitation card for a ball at the residence of the Minister of Education. She was not happy at the invitation because she had no good dress to wear at the party. Loisel gave her 400 francs to buy the dress. However, she was still unhappy. Now she wanted some jewels to wear.
She went to her friend to borrow some jewel. She borrowed a necklace. She went to the party and enjoyed it. On her return, she lost the necklace. Her husband tried to find it but failed. Later they borrowed money and bought a new necklace to replace the lost one.
Now Loisel worked day and night to return the borrowed money. Mathilda discharged the maidservant and did everything of the household by herself.
They were able to return the money after ten years. Now Mathilda had lost all her beauty. She had changed so much that her friend could not recognize her. Mathilda told her the whole story but her friend told her that the necklace she had borrowed was not real.

Question Answers


The Substance of The Story

Mr. Loisel, a clerk, got an invitation to a party at the Ministry. His beautiful young wife was in tears because she had no jewelry for the great occasion. She did not like to miss this chance to show off. So she borrowed a beautiful necklace from a rich friend, Madame Forestier. Unfortunately she lost the necklace at the party. She had no choice but to replace it with an identical necklace. She bought one for 36000 francs on credit, and give it to Madame Forestier. The lady took it as her own necklace.
The poor clerk and his wife had to live in abject poverty for 10 years to repay the heavy loan. Then one day it came out that the lost necklace was an imitation worth only 500 francs. The disclosure came as a shock to the clerk?s wife but it had come too late.
Like a true Maupassant story, this story also has a surprise-ending. This was the writer?s famous trick by which he used to expose social or moral blunders committed by simple, honest people of this age---- the irony of fate and the irony of situation. The trick became widely popular. People loved to read his stories. Many of the well known writers followed his example. In Urdu fiction Saadat Hassan Manto was one of the most popular followers of Maupassant. Some of the other best writers of today also follow this good tradition. In real life, too, we often come across such sudden surprises.

Character Sketch of Matilda

Matilda is the young and beautiful wife of Mr.Loisel, a clerk in the board of Education. She is proud of her elegant beauty. She is unhappy with her poor lot. She thinks she is a victim of social injustice and irony of fate. She is unhappy with her husband?s small house and old furniture. She feels she has been deprieved of the comforts and luxuries which she might have enjoyed by marrying a rich man. In short she is sick and ashamed of her present miserable life. But all this does not mean that she does not love her husband. Of course she loves him deeply though much of the credit for this love goes to the husband. He does his best to make her as happy as he can afford. He puts up with her foolish demands, and yields to all her stupid whims. Matilda is a simple, child like immature girl until she finds her self face to face with the bitter consequences of her folly. The loss of the necklace proves a turning point in the development of her character. It makes her a careful and responsible woman. Her grumbling over the poor lot of her husband gives way to respect and gratitude for his tolerance and generosity.
Matilda thus plays two different roles in the story. Before the loss of the necklace she is a thoughtless, ungrateful, proud beauty, unhappy with the poverty of her husband. After the loss she becomes a mature, humble and grateful wife who can gladly sacrifice every pleasure to get her husband out of his financial misery. This change in her character makes her a lovable character in spite of all her faults and follies.

The Husband's Character

Mr. Loisel is a clerk in the board of Education. His role in the story is a role of a noble hero. His love and sacrifice for his proud, ungrateful wife make him a lovable character. He knows that his wife does not respect him. Still he loves and obeys her. He does his best to make her life comfortable. He never rebukes her for her insulting attitude. He does not reproach her for the loss of the necklace. His behaviour after the loss is the behaviour of an ideal partner--- a really great man. He does not grumble. Instead he manfully besides to face the misfortune. He almost sells himself away to pay for the loss. He works day and night to repay the heavy loan. He goes through the worst for his ungrateful wife. And yet he never complains, never blames her for his misery. In short he is an ideal life partner. He is surely a character to be loved and remembered.
Loisel is one of the few ---- very few lovers who remain lovers even after marriage. Usually a love marriage soon leads to disillusionment resulting in dissolution. Matilda is lucky to have Mr. Loisel as her husband. He loves her so much that none of her foolish pranks annoys him. He gladly faces the bitter consequences of his foolish wife?s acts of folly. He is a character to be admired and loved.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Telltale Heart (Edger Allen Poe) Summary and Questions Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Telltale Heart (Edger Allen Poe) Summary and Questions Answers


Summary


The story “The Tell-Tale Heart” throws light on the fact that a criminal cannot conceal his crime and the voice of one’s conscience cannot be subdued. It is impossible to ignore its pricking for long.
The narrator of the story decides to kill and old man just because of one of his eyes. That eye is very ugly. He also wants to prove that he is not mad, so he tells the reader how he killed the old man and why.
Whenever the old man’s eye fell on him he felt afraid, and so he decided to kill him. He kept on going to the old man’s room for seven nights. However, he did not kill him because his was always close.
On the eighth night, he was very careful. He found the eye open. He took a lot of time to kill the old man. He enjoyed the fears of the old man and laughed at him. Then he killed the old man. The old man screamed before dying. After killing him, he dismembered the dead body. He concealed the pieces under the flooring of the room.
Some neighbor had heard the screams and he had informed the police. Two police officers came to check the premises. He welcomed them and satisfied them that nothing wrong had happened. He took them to the old man’s room.
Then suddenly he started hearing the heartbeat of the old man. This sound went on increasing. He tried to overcome it but failed. He thought that the police officers knew about his crime and they want him to confess to his crime. He could not bear this situation for long. At last, he confessed to his crime before the police officers.

Question Answers


Story in Outline

The tell tale heart is a tale of horror. It reflects psychology of a killer. He kills an old man just because he does not like the old man?s vulture-like eye. The reason is not sound enough for a murder. But the murderer is not a mad man. He commits the murder concisely and very methodically. He goes to the old man?s house around midnight with a muffled light. He pushes the bedroom door open just a little and finds the man in his bed.
The old man wakes up. The killer waits few minutes. Then he again peeps in and finds the old man lying awake. He looks at the old man?s vulture eye with disgust and bursts in. He pulls the old man off his bed and overturns the heavy bed on him. In this way he smothers( ) the old man to death. Then he chops the dead body into pieces and conceals the pieces under the wooden boards of the floor.
Just then three policemen enter the house. They ask questions about a cry that was heard in the street. It came from the old man?s house. The killer tells them that it might have been his own cry in a dream. He says the old man was not at home and he had left him (the killer) to look after the house. He said he slept in the house.
Then suddenly the killer?s fear of detection gets the better of him, He hears the old man?s heart beating loudly under the floor. The fear goes on growing rapidly till the killer cries out in confession, declaring that he has killed the old man. He is arrested and taken away .The story ends on a note of horror.


Q: Is the killer in the story a mad man?
Ans: The killer tells the story in all its detail. he went to the old man?s house around midnight. He opened the door very carefully. But his hand slipped, and the noise awakened the old man. He sat up in his bed. Peering into the dark. The killer waited for about an hour. But the old man did not lie down to sleep. It seemed he was alarmed. The killer could not bear the suspense. He darted a thin gleam of light on the old man's face. It caught the vulture eye. The killer flew into a fury. He pulled the old man down and smothered him to death under the heavy bed. Then he chopped the body into pieces and concealed the pieces under the wooden planks of the floor. He did all this dirty job very quietly and neatly.
The killer does the dirty job very cautiously and methodically. A madman could not have been so cool and cautious. So the killer cannot be regarded as a madman. But the reason for which he kills the old man is not sound enough for murder. A normal man cannot commit murder for such a flimsy reason. Nobody in his senses can kill a man just for his ugly appearance. Therefore the killer is not a normal man in full possession of his senses.
The reason, for which the killer confesses the murder, is again inadequate( ). It is impossible for a human heart to go on beating after death. But the killer in this story says he clearly heard the dead old man?s heart beating under the floor.
On the bases of these two pieces of the killer?s reasoning we can say that he is not a normal human being. There is something seriously abnormal and dangerous in his nature.

Q: what happens after the murder?
Ans: By 4 O'clock the killer had disposed off the old man's dead-body. Just then there came a knock on the door. He opened the door. Three policemen entered the room. They told him that some of the neighbors had reported a cry in that house. The killer confidently told them that it was his own cry during sleep. He said the old man was not at home.
The policeman searched the house, but found nothing to rouse suspicion. The killer felt so safe that he began to chat with them. Suddenly he was startled by the noise of the dead man?s heart beating under the floor. He tried to keep cool, but the noise became louder. He thought the policemen were also hearing that noise. He got so nervous that he confessed the murder and handed himself over to the police. 
This part of the story reveals the effect of fear on the emotions of a weak man after committing a crime. He is afraid of exposure. The fear keeps haunting him till he is obliged to get rid of it either by coming out with a straight confession or by killing himself. It depends on the nature of the man. The killer in this story takes the first alternative. He at first tries his best to hush up the fear. He goes on speaking loudly and quickly in order to silence the voice of fear in his heart, and give the impression that he has nothing to hide. But the fear is too strong, so he suddenly breaks down and comes out with an open confession.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories Araby (James Joyce) Summary and Questions Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories Araby (James Joyce) Summary and Questions Answers


Summary

The story “Araby” conveys the idea that the personal feelings of a person and the real world are two different things. First, we do not understand this difference but when we come to understand that, we are disillusioned. Then we are sad.
The narrator of the story is a schoolboy and lives with his uncle. He plays with his companions in the street until dusk and then they return their homes.
Mangan is his playmate. He falls in love with his sister. However, he cannot express his love to her. He keeps looking at her from a distance. He keeps on thinking about her all the time. Her image is always before his eyes. He is very intense in his love. Tears fill his eyes but he does not know why.
Once she talks to him and asks him to go to Araby. Araby is a bazaar. He promises that he will bring something for her if he goes there. Now going to Araby becomes his business. He takes permission to go. He waits for the appointed day impatiently. Now everything appears to him unimportant and a child’s play.
On the appointed day, he leaves for Araby very late with a very little money. He goes to a shop, looks at things. However, he cannot buy anything because of his little money.  He repents on his promise and his eyes burn with anger and anguish.

Question Answers


Story in Outline

Araby was a sort of bazar. The writer visited it when he was a small schoolboy. His visit was a labour of love. He was asked by his beloved to visit the Araby. He was too small to be a lover, but he fell in love all the same. The girl was his friend Mangan?s sister. He loved her madly. Her word was more than a law for him. So he went to Araby just because she wished him to do so. He was late because he had to wait for his uncle to get some money. When he reached there the bazar had almost closed. Only a Chinaware stall was open. The boy stopped. The sales girl asked him if he wanted to buy anything. He said, no, he did not need anything. He had a strange feeling of frustration as he came out. He was too young, to understand that feeling.
The boy's visit to Araby was fruitless just like his childish love affair. He undertook this visit as a sacred duty. He only wished to please the girl without thinking of any other reward for his pains. He also wished to buy something nice for her. But he was too small to decide what he should buy for her. In his confusion he could not make any choice. So he came back frustrated. Still he was not angry with the girl who had sent him out on this useless errand. He is rather angry at his own adequacy.( )

The Boy's Love

The boy's love for the girl was not a proper love affair between a young man and a girl. The boy was too young for that. His love was just childish infatuation( ); a silent adoration. He was too timid to express his love by word or deed. He just looked at the girl whenever he had a chance. He felt small and foolish in her presence. Therefore he could never make his feelings known to her. He could never tell her how much he loved her. Sometimes he followed her along the street quietly and at a respectful distance, without a word between them. Sometimes he peeped at her from an upstairs window of his house, lying flat on the floor to avoid being seen. Sometimes he broke out into passionate expression like “O?Love, O?Love”, but he could never say these words in her presence. In short his love was just a childish, foolish, one-sided affair. It only made him suffer, still he could not give it up.
This kind of love is quite common in the process of growth from childhood to youth. This period of physical and emotional growth is called puberty. During this period the sensitive and imaginative child develops a deep attachment to one of the young people around him or her. Some students fall in this kind of love with their teachers. This kind of emotional attachment is sincere but transitory in nature. it Passes off as the child steps into youth.

The Title of the Story

Araby, the title of the story, is an apt choice. It applies to the story perfectly. Actually Araby is the name of a bazar. The hero of the story visits this bazar on the request of his beloved. He arrives late. The bazar is closed. Only a china ware shop is open. But the boy cannot buy anything. He forgets what he needs. He is disappointed with his visit to the bazar. He has undertaken this visit only as a labour of love. but now he realizes it was a labour lost, for it did not help him in his love affair in any way. His fruitless visit to Araby is like his fruitless love. it does not make him happy. His frustration at the end of the visit reflects his unhappy experience of love. his love affair is just like his visit to Araby.
The meaning of the title expands beyond the story. On the larger scale we may compare the world to the bazar Araby. Man?s life, an everlasting search for peace and love, is like the boy?s visit to Araby. The boy never knew what could bring him solid happiness and satisfaction. He keeps running after one pleasure or another. But every pleasure results in further search and struggle. Only by good luck a man may have what he really needs. Thus the title of the story sums up within it the whole story of human life, including the tragic end.

Written by: Asad Hussain

Saturday, 28 May 2016

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Happy Prince (Oscar Wilde) Summary and Questions Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Happy Prince (Oscar Wilde) Summary and Question Answers


Summary


The story “The Happy Prince” has at least three themes. The first theme of the story is that outward beauty is nothing. It is just a show. The real beauties are love and sacrifices. The second theme is that love and sacrifice are two saving forces. The third theme is that there is great gap between the rich and the poor, the rulers and the masses.
When the happy prince is alive, he lives in a palace where sorrow is not allowed to enter. He lives a life of happiness. However, when he dies his courtiers set u his statute on a tall column.
The statue of the happy prince sees all the misery of the city. He weeps when he sees people in trouble. He wants to help them.
A swallow stays at the feet of the statue of the happy prince for the night. On happy prince’s request, he prolongs his stay and helps the poor with the ruby and the sapphires. When the happy prince cannot see any more, the swallow decides to stay with the happy prince forever. The he helps the people with the gold covering of the happy prince. At the end, he dies frost. The heart of the happy prince also breaks.
Once, the mayor and the town councilors pass by the stature of the happy prince. They are shocked to see it without ruby, sapphires, and gold covering. It looks ugly without them. They pull it down and decide to make another statue. The heart of the happy prince not melt in the furnace and the workers throw it on the dust heap where the dead swallow is already lying. An angel comes and takes both the heart and the dead Swallow to God as two precious things.

Question Answers


Story in Outline

The story is an allegory. It brings out the importance of charity. We learn that love and sacrifice can endear us to God. The prince in the story is no living prince. He is the statue of a dead prince decorated with gold leaves and precious stones. He is known as the Happy Prince because there is a smile on his lips. But the smile gradually gives way to tears. The Happy Prince cannot help crying over the scenes of misery in the houses of the poor. He decides to help them with his gold leaves and costly stones. The little swallow acts as his messenger, and he gives away all his wealth. The Swallow was on his way back to his homeland when the prince had detained him to help the poor. He still wished to go back but now it was too late. The intense cold killed him. Thus the little swallow lost his life in helping the poor. His death broke the prince?s heart. So the swallow and the prince perished for a noble cause. But their death was not the end. It made them immortal. That is why the angel selected the dead swallow and the lifeless heart of the prince as the noblest things on earth. The story teaches a very useful and very true lesson. We learn that God loves those who love their fellow human beings.

The Little Swallow's Role

The little swallow plays a very important role in the story. He acts as the agent of charity. He carries gold leaves and precious stones to the poor people who need these things. He does the noble work of rescue and relief. Being a migratory bird the swallow is on his way back home. The winter is coming, and soon it will be too cold for the swallow to live. But he is a kind-hearted swallow. He stays with the happy prince to help the poor in the city. He knows that this noble job will cost him his life. But he is too kind hearted to leave the noble prince. He stays on till it is too late. The cold kills him. He dies but his work for a noble cause makes him immortal. The angle of God carries away his dead body as one of the most precious things on earth. The role played by the little swallow has a lesson for us. We learn that even a little bird can help the poor and the needy if he gets a chance. Why not human beings? Why not little children? They can also do a lot of good if they try. We also learn that God loves those who do good to others. The little bird gets an opportunity to do good. He takes pity on the unhappy prince and consents to help him in helping the poor and the needy. He lays down his life for this noble cause. He dies of cold but his noble role makes his name immortal. In the same way we, too, can become immortal by doing good deeds.

Role of The Prince

The Happy Prince is not a living Prince. He is the statue of a prince, mounted on a tall column in the center of the city. It is the statue of a dead prince with the soul of the prince in it. He is decorated with gold leaves and precious stones. There is a smile on his lips. People call him the Happy Prince because of this smile. He is a supernatural character, because he can see, hear and speak. Standing on the top of the tall column, he can see the condition of the people of the city. He is deeply moved by the misery of the poor. When he was alive he lived a life of comfort. He neither knew nor cared for the sufferings of the poor people of his country. Now he regrets why he did not help them when he was alive. He requests the little swallow to act as his messenger. Through this messenger he gives away all his wealth. He loses his outward beauty and gains the beauty of the heart. Then the little swallow dies, and his heart breaks, but God treasures his broken heart as the most beautiful thing on earth.
The Prince's noble role teaches us that we can get real happiness, peace and love of God by helping the poor.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories Take Pity (Bernard Malamud) Summary and Question Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories Take Pity (Bernard Malamud) Summary and Questions Answers


Summary

Two cultures are at conflict in the story “Take Pity”. These cultures are the Polish and the American. Eva represents the Polish culture and Rosen represents American culture. Because of different cultures, Eva and her husband are not ready to trust anyone.
Rosen is an ex-coffee salesperson. He tries to commit suicide. Davidov is a census taker. He has come to find out the reason of his attempt to commit suicide. First reason teases Davidov, but then tells him Axel's story to explain the reason of his attempts to commit suicide.
Axel Kalish is a Polish refugee. He has come to America to take refuge and for better career. He works very hard and starts a grocery store, but it fails. He asks for credit from a company. The company sends Rosen to analyze the business. He recommends okay out of pity. However, he tells Axel that his business will fail. He advises him to get rid of it. First Axel does not listen to him but then decides to act upon his advice. However, all of a sudden he dies of heart attack.
After his death, his wife, Eva, gets the insurance money. She invests that money in the business. Rosen has advised her not to do that. Her business fails. She and her daughters have nothing to eat. Rosen tries to help her, but she rejects every offer of help. Eva is not ready to accept Rosen’s help because of his idea of self-respect. Rosen wants to help her at every cost. He leaves everything to Eva in his will and tries to commit suicide. At the end, Eva comes to him but he abuses her and asks her to go back.

Question Answers


Story in outline

Take Pity is a pathetic account of a kind hearted man?s futile efforts to rescue a poor family from abject poverty and death. The man, Rosen, is a coffee salesman. The poor family is a widow, Eva, and her two daughters. Eva fails to make a living from her husband?s shop. She and her two daughters are starving. Rosen tries to help them in many ways. But Eva refuses to live on charity. Rosen asks her to marry him. But she rejects the offer. Then he sends her some money. He sends the money through a friend who says it was repayment of a loan given by her husband. Eva refuses to take the money. She is determined to live an independent life. She is very willful. But Rosen knows that she will lose her foolish war against Fate. He becomes desperate. He tries to kill himself, leaving all his property to her. But he fails even in this last attempt. Eva is moved. She comes to him to accept his offer of marriage. But Rosen has had enough. He refuses to do anything for her, although it goes against his nature to reject a request.
The story reveals some surprising secrets of human nature. It gives us a better understanding of human psychology and emotions.
Rosen's unusual softness is contrasted with Eva?s unusual stiffness. His frustration in his sincere attempts to help her out of her misery makes him desperate. It moves Eva at last, and she consents to marry him. But now it is too late. Rosen is no longer the generous self-sacrificing man he always had been. His character is changed. This change is more painful than Eva?s sufferings.

Eva's Character

Eva is a young widow with two daughters. She is determined to make her own living. So she rejects every offer of help from the kind-hearted coffee salesman, Rosen. She counts on her courage. But she fails to realize that courage alone cannot overcome fate. The truth dawns on her too late. She feels very sorry for her refusal to accept Rosen?s sincere offers of help. She regrets her harsh attitude towards the kind-hearted man. So she tries to make it up with him. But now he is sick of her. He has already gone too far in his sincere efforts to help her. He is frustrated. So he refuses to forgive her.
Eva's courage is heartless courage. She is too willful to realize the sufferings of her poor daughters. Why should she subject them to starvation, when she knows that she cannot make even a bare living? Her courage is rather pride that nobody can admire. It breaks Rosen?s heart and changes his whole character. In the end Eva repents. She feels sorry for her stiffness towards the sincere and kind-hearted man. Her character too is entirely changed. Her resolution to live her own independent life breaks down. She is moved to pity for the brokenhearted man. She decides to accept his offer of marriage although it is against her nature. But she repents too late. It is too late to make amends for the harm she has done to Rosen.

A Comment on Rosen's Behaviour

Rosen is a coffee salesman. He is a very kind-hearted man. He does his best to save the poor family of Axel Kalish. But Axel?s widow Eva is too willful. She is determined to make her own living. Rosen knows that it is impossible. So he offers to help her. But she rejects every offer. He even offers to marry her. But she refuses. Rosen cannot see her and her two daughters starving to death. He becomes desperate. He tries to kill himself, leaving all his property to the poor family. But this last effort also fails. He is a lovable character. He goes far out of his way to help the starving family. He is selfless and sincere. His role is a noble role. Human society has never been devoid of such people, but they are rare, too rare these days.
Rosen uses every trick to save the unfortunate family from starvation. Being a businessman he knows that the shop set up by Eva?s deceased husband will fail. The locality does not need that shop. He advises Eva to move away to a better location. But the headstrong girl refuses to take his advice. He tries to help her with food and money. But she heartlessly refuses to accept his sincere offers. He even offers to marry her. And finally he even tries to kill himself, leaving all his property to Eva and her daughters. He fails even in this last desperate attempt. It breaks his heart. Now at last Eva realizes her fault. She feels sorry for the pains that she has caused Rosen. She tries to make amends but now it is too late. Rosen is truly a great man although he is neither rich nor famous. His role in the story inspires love and respect.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories Breakfast (John Stienbeck) Summary and Questions Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories Breakfast (John Stienbeck) Summary and Question Answers


Summary


The story “Breakfast” throws light on the fact that the most important thing is contentment. If man has contentment, he can be happy even if he has no house, no permanent job, and no good food to eat.
Once, the writer is going somewhere. On his way, he sees a young woman working outside her tent. The writer is feeling cold and hunger. He goes to the tent. He finds the woman preparing breakfast.
An old man and a young man came out of the tent. They offer the writer to join them for breakfast. The writer agrees. All of them sit on the ground and enjoy a good breakfast. The old man and the young man thank God for that good breakfast. They have been eating good food only for twelve days, but they are happy.
After the breakfast, the young man offers the writer a job, but the writer denies and departs saying thanks for the breakfast. At the end, the writer expresses his feelings.

Question Answers

 

Substance of the Story

The story is a faithful account of the writer's visit to a family of cotton-pickers. He came upon this family as he was walking along a lonely road one morning. He saw a tent by the roadside. A woman carrying a baby was cooking breakfast for the family. Two men, one young and the other old, came out of the tent. They welcomed the writer and invited him to breakfast. They looked very happy and contented with their lot. They said they were happy because they had got a cotton-picking job. They had been working in the cotton fields for the past twelve days. As they sat down to breakfast they told the writer how happy they were with their honest labour. They offered the writer a job in the cotton fields. He was deeply impressed by the simple, honest living and hospitality of cotton-pickers.
The sudden meeting with the simple, honest family of cotton pickers became an everlasting sweet memory for the writer. It was a surprise for him because he did not know that such sincere and hospitable people existed in this society. The nice behaviour and devout faith of these poor uneducated people impressed him. They greeted the writer and invited him to breakfast. They told him how happy they were because they had a job to do and enough to eat. They offered the writer a job in the cotton fields. Before breakfast they thanked God for His blessings and prayed to him for further blessings. The story leaves a pleasant impression on the reader?s mind.

Q: What does the story teach us?
Ans: The breakfast, which the writer shared with the cotton pickers, was simple and delicious. It was delicious because it was the fruit of honest labour. The woman was a very good cook. The breakfast consisted of roasted meat, biscuits and coffee. Every thing was very well cooked and enough for all.
The young man said,
“We been eating good for twelve days.”
The simple statement shows how thankful these people are for the blessings God has bestowed on them. It reflects the poor man's faith in providence. This faith of the poor man is the element of great beauty, which the writer speaks of. He is impressed by the cheerful, contented life of the poor cotton-pickers. The breakfast with the cotton-pickers becomes a cherished memory for him. There is a lesson in the story for those who are not satisfied with their lot. It teaches them to be thankful for what they have instead of grumbling against the will of God. The simple, honest cotton-pickers are very hospitable. They love to share their things with others. They cordially welcome guests.

Q: The story gives us a glimpse of the free, happy and peaceful life of cotton-pickers. Do you agree?
Ans: Yes, the story gives us a glimpse of the free, happy and peaceful life of cotton-pickers. These poor people live on occasional day-labour. They have no permanent source of income. Cotton-picking is occasional employment. Yet the cotton-pickers can manage to live within their means. They live a simple life. They do not need much. Their wants are few and cheap. So they do not have to run after money.
The story also shows that the cotton-pickers are deeply religious people. They never grumble over their hard lot. They thank God for what they get. They are very generous and hospitable. They love to share their things with others. They are free from the vices of the rich. They are not selfish, greedy and dishonest. The story shows that they enjoy true happiness and satisfaction.
These simple but generous people live an ideal life of peace and contentment. They have no worries. They do not yearn for wealth and comfort. They love to work for a simple honest living. They have no ambitious plans for future. They are thankful for what they have at present. They love to share their blessings with others. They not only invite the writer to breakfast, but also offer to help him with a job in the cotton fields.
From what we read in the story we can safely conclude that these are the people who enjoy true happiness and satisfaction in this world of woes and worries.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The New Constitution (Saadat Hassan Manto) Summary and Questions

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The New Constitution (Saadat Hassan Manto) Summary and Question Answers

 

Summary

The story “The New Constitution” conveys the idea that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It also tells the reader about the true feelings of the common people of India for the British.
Ustad Mangu is a tongawala and lives in Lahore. He is illiterate. He is in the habit of overhearing his fares. Once he overhears from his fares about the communal violence. He is worried and tells his friends about the reason of this communal violence.
He hates the English because of their arrogance and insulting behavior. Once a gora soldier insults him and Ustad bears the insult silently. In rage, he abuses the English.
Once he overhears about the introduction of the new constitution. He is very happy. He returns to the Tonga stand and tells his companions about the news. After that, he overhears about the changes. He overhears that the Indians would be free. He thought that the new constitution would force the English to go back to England. The Indian would have elected assemblies. They would have equal rights. He waits for the introduction of the new constitution very impatiently.
On 1 April, he gets up early in the morning and comes on road to see the new constitution in force. However, he is disappointed to see no change. He meets a Gora soldier there and picks up a quarrel with him. He beats the Gora soldier. Two police officers lock him up. They tell him that nothing has changed and it is the same old constitution.

Question Answers


Q. Narrate the story in your own words.
Ans: “The New Constitution” is a story of political awareness at the lowest level of our society. It is a powerful story that shows how the common man looks hopefully at every promise of a change in the political set up. The New Constitution means the Government of India  Act, 1935, which introduced a democratic setup in India. Mangu, a tongawala of Lahore eagerly listened to his educated fares talking about the new constitution. They said it would ensure equality of rights. The people of India would form their own Government under the new constitution. They would no longer be slaves to the British Rule. Mangu believed what he heard, so he was very happy and hopeful. The new constitution was introduced on the first April. Mangu hated the ruling nation. To his dismay he learnt that the promise of the New Constitution was a false promise. The promised change had not come.
The story also expressed the falsity of the promises made by politicians in general and alien rulers in particular. As Mr. White, the British Deputy Commissioner of Mayaour in Paul Scott?s novel said, “we were in India for what we could get out of it”. At the same time it tries to create awareness among the people to save them from further exploitation by their rulers in future.
Manto is famous for his excellent stories on the movement for Pakistan. He is also one of the outstanding critics of society. In this story he makes us realize that the Indians were no doubt against the British rule but they were easily deceived by false promises because of their simplicity and ignorance.

Irony in the Story

“The New Constitution” brings to light the irony of political situation in the sub-continent under the British rule. The rulers introduced the government of India act, 1935 with tall promises. But those promises were never fulfilled. The New Constitution promised self-government. But it was only a restricted self-government as it was under complete British control. It did not bring any profitable change for the people. They had been told that this New Constitution would make life easy and comfortable for them. It would ensure respect for the common man. It would give them all the rights which their rulers enjoyed. But all these promises turned out to be false.
The New Constitution was nothing more than a new political set up. It failed to fulfill the hopes of the common man. The story brings out the irony of politics very effectively.
The irony is brought out suddenly when Mangu finds himself arrested for beating a gora soldier. What he did was unfair. He should not have lost his temper. But he was a simple honest man. His feelings of hatred against the alien rulers got the better of his manners. The so-called new setup had given him the courage to avenge the insult and injury he had once suffered at the hands of a gora. His hatred against that gora was generalized to the whole gora nation. In beating the gora soldier he was encouraged by the concept of equality of rights promised by the new constitution. But he soon learnt that the promise was false. This lesson of irony came to him as a shock. His fond hopes about the future of his nation were shattered by this incident.

Character Sketch of Mangu

Mangu is a tongawala in Lahore. He stands for the common man of the sub-continent. He is keenly interested in the politics of the country. His political awareness comes from contact with educated people who sometimes happen to travel by his Tonga. He has heard a lot about the New Constitution, which is going to be promulgated on first April. This new constitution promises to ensure basic human rights for all the people in the country. Like every body else Mangu, too, is very hopeful. He hopes that the new constitution will bring the British rule to an end. Then no gora will be able to bully an Indian.
Mangu shares his awareness with other tongawalas on the Tonga stand. He tells them what he hears from his fares about the new constitution every day. This has made him quite a leader of his community.
Like every common man in our country Mangu too is very optimistic about the future of the nation. He hopes things will improve under the new setup. But when the setup comes he learns that he was mistaken. The promised change does not come with it. The alien rulers are still the masters. Every person of their nation still enjoys the same prestige. Mangu?s fight with the gora soldier brings this sad fact to light for him. We pity him for having fought with a member of the ruling nation.
Mangu is not just a poor tongawala. He represents the Indian nation under the British rule. His hatred for the white rulers reflects the general hatred. It was this hatred that eventually led to the exit of the white rulers.
(In short Ustad Mangu is a wonderful character. He is a faithful representative of the slave nations who detest their foreign rulers but feel helpless against their inhuman treatment. He is a man who tries to look at the outside world in the light of his inner aspirations and expectations. This makes him ridiculous.

Written by: Asad Hussain

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Killer (Ernest Hemingway) Summary and Questions Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The Killer (Ernest Hemingway) Summary and Questions Answers


Summary

The story “The Killers” is about the idea that crime does not pay. Criminals try to escape the consequences of their crimes, but they cannot. They have to face them resignedly. Nobody can help them. They are alone and their own.
It is five o’clock. Two men enter a restaurant. Their names are Al and Max. They are killers. They have come to kill Ole Anderson. Ole is a customer. George, Nick, and Sam are members of the staff of the restaurant.
The two men sat at the counter. They order for a heavy dinner. George tells them that it is five O’clock and they can get the heavy dinner at six O’clock. They talk to the members of the staff rudely. They make fun of them and call them bright boys.
After eating his meal, Al takes Nick and Sam to the kitchen. He makes them hostages at the gunpoint. Max sits with George at the counter to handle the situation. Max asks George to tell the customers that the cook is off. Fortunately, Ole does not come. After waiting almost two hours, they leave the restaurant.
After their departure, Nick goes to Ole’s residence to tell him about the killers. However, Ole listens about the killers very casually. He tells him that nothing can be done. He thanks Nick on his coming and telling him about the killers. Nick returns and tells George about Ole. Nick is afraid of and wants to leave the town. George agrees to it. 

Question Answers


Q: Describe the scene in Henry?s Lunchroom on the arrival of the Killers.
Ans.
Henry's Lunch-room was a small restaurant. It was visited regularly by middle and lower-middle class people. At the time of the incident the lunch- room was making preparations for dinner. The killers Al and Max entered the lunchroom. It was almost empty at that moment. They asked for some food that was not ready at that moment. They were provided with the available food. They ate with their gloves on. Their faces were different but they were dressed like twins. They were wearing derby hats, tight over coats, silk mufflers and gloves. They talked vulgarly.
They covered the staff with guns and started setting the scene for murder. They gagged the staff. They declared that they had come to kill a man named Ole Anderson. They looked quite calm and composed because they were professionals.
The atmosphere in the lunchroom was charged with horror and suspense. It could be sworn that a murder was in the offing.
Then, slowly the suspense began to dissolve, as the victim did not turn up at his usual time. The killers decided to go back. They left, and the atmosphere came back to normal. After the killers had gone away, the proprietor sent one of the servants to Ole Anderson?s residence to warn him against the danger to his life.
The business in the lunchroom resumed. The shadow of terror cast by the presence of the killers vanished with their departure.
The scene at the lunchroom during the presence of the killers is not unusual. In the slums of all big cities scenes of violence, drunken brawls and dacoaties are quite common. Restaurants and lunchrooms are usual venues of such events. That is why there is no unusual commotion or panic in the lunchroom during or after the scene.

Q: What does the story tell us about American Society?
Ans.
The story is a realistic picture of American social life at the lower level of society. It is a movie picture. We can see the characters in action and can hear what they say. We learn a lot from what we see and hear. We learn that Americans are very practical and business like. They are neither romantic nor emotional. 
They do not try to sugar coat their bad deeds. They do not waste time in excuses and explanations. The killers in the story just announce that they are going to kill a man.
They do not bother about excuses. They are callous like machines--- horror proof and even shame proof. We see that crime is no longer a horror in American society. For some people it is just business. You can hire a killer as easily as you can engage a taxi. This is, of course, the bottom of moral decline. American society of the present day is a purely materialistic society. The people have lost their softer human side. They think only in terms of money and power. Everybody lives for himself. Therefore nobody cares for what another does. Nobody is interested in the affairs of the man next-door. Nobody likes anybody to stand in his way. Therefore they do not hesitate from doing away with their rivals. This purely selfish attitude of individuals results in the collapse of society. And American society is now on the verge of a terrible collapse.

 

A Brief Note on Ole Anderson

The character of Ole Anderson has great significance in explaining the background of this story. It is through his reaction that Hemingway wants to convey his views about death. He wants to show that even strong men like the boxer feel helpless before the reality of death. The impending danger to his life had made him deeply dejected. He had been running from his enemies for a long time to save his life. He had now resigned himself to his fate and had realized the futility of the escapist attitude. That is why he did not agree to the suggestion of Nick to go to some other place to save his life. He also considered it useless to seek the help of the police. He was convinced that death is unavoidable and it should be embraced calmly and bravely when it comes. In this respect he has been compared with Nick who felt much upset at the treatment of the terrorists and wanted to go to some safer place. Ole Anderson stands for the stoical acceptance of the reality of death, while Nick symbolizes the escapist attitude to it.

Written by: Asad Hussain

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