Tag Archives: father’s help

Dialogue in “Malgudi Days”

‘Oh, you poor worm!’ Swami thought. ‘You don’t know what my father has done to you.’ He was more puzzled than ever about Samuel’s character.

‘All right, go to your seat. Have you still a headache?’

‘Slightly, sir’

 

I think the dialogue in this short story is interesting because the way it is written is clearly not how fluently English-speaking people would speak. It seems like the dialogue was in Hindi and translated into English but not adjusted grammatically to be formatted the way an English-speaking person would speak. It may seem a bit awkward to anyone who does not know any Indian languages.

A Father Investigates

“Swami help up the envelope and said, ‘I will give this to the headmaster as soon as he is back…’ Father snatched it from his hand, tore it up and thrust it into the wastepaper basket under his table. He muttered, ‘Don’t come to me for help even if Samuel throttles you. You deserve your Samuel.’” (72)

Narayan, R.K. “Father’s Help.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.

The most interesting part about this passage is understanding what Swami truly deserves. When Swami speaks the truth towards Samuel, he receives no punishment. However, when Swami intentionally disobeys Samuel for the sake of getting rid of him, Swami receives strong a beating for it. In addition, his father probably knew that Swami was not stating the whole truth. Father might have suspected that because Swami arrived home with the letter, he was disobeying him. Given that, the only reason why Swami would even think of disobeying his father is if Samuel was not as bad as he was told, which the case was. As a result, Father gets rid of the letter to prevent Samuel from being punished without reason. So, in the end, no matter how Samuel is, Father perceives him as the best teacher for Swami.

Not so helpful?

“As he felt the bulge of the letter in his pocket, he felt like an executioner”

“As he entered the school gate an idea occurred to him, a sort of solution. He wouldn’t deliver the letter to the headmaster immediately, but at the end of the day—to that extent he would disobey his father and exercise his independence”

Narayan, R.K. “Father’s Help.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.

I loved this because I can slightly relate to Swami’s struggle. After wishing his school to dust via earthquake and lying about a headache, he is forced to go to school and it is worse due to the letter from his father. Narayan provides vivid details of Swami’s inner struggle and thoughts with his lack of desire to go to school and his imaginative stories.

Father’s Help

“As he felt the bulge of the letter in his pocket, he felt like an executioner. For a moment he was angry with his father and wondered why he should not fling into the gutter the letter of a man so unreasonable and stubborn.”

Narayan, R.K. “Father’s Help.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.

I found the father and the son’s relationship very interesting. Swami seems very obedient to his father, either out of fear or out of the discipline he has been taught. Even though Swami has the power to discard of the letter, he tries his very best (coming up with the tactic of doing something to justify the letter) to obey his father’s command to deliver the letter. His obedience to his father overrides the guilt that he feels inside of him his as he goes as far to ask the peon where the headmaster is. If the headmaster had not been on leave, Swami would probably have obeyed his father and given him the letter, despite his strong guilt against it.

(Not) Father’s Help

“As he entered the school gate an idea occurred to him, a sort of solution. He wouldn’t deliver the letter to the headmaster immediately, but at the end of the day—to that extent he would disobey his father and exercise his independence. There was nothing wrong in it, and Father would not know it anyway. If the letter was given at the end of the day there was a chance that Samuel might do something to justify the letter” (69)

Narayan, R.K. “Father’s Help.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.

This passage stood out because it shows the way that children want independence from their parents. Swami’s thoughts as he tries to decide what he was going to do shows what goes through the mind of a person who wants to do the right thing, but is unclear the way to go about it. Here, the reader wants to root for Swami and understand his reasoning, but by the end of ‘Father’s Help’ I wanted him to have listened to his Father and just given the note to the headmaster.