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A Hero by R. K. Narayan

A Hero by R. K. Narayan

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Published by Shibani Suri
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Q and answers

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Published by: Shibani Suri on Mar 05, 2013
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A Hero by R.K.

1. The line ‘For Swami events took an unexpected turn’ hooks in the readers
with its short sentence length and rapid-pace. The title ‘Swami’ connotes calmness, divinity and composure which is contrasted with the diction of the word ‘unexpected’. This astounds and brings questions within the readers that make them want to know more. Furthermore, this is implied as an inciting incident that stimulates the readers’ thoughts and feelings towards the information reported by the narrator. The readers remain curious and expect the story to take a turn that is overwhelming for the protagonist. Also, they expect an interesting plot that helps build suspense throughout the story.

2. As a reader I personally agree with ‘Swami’. This is because I disagree with
the father’s theory, i.e., ‘Courage is everything, strength and age is not important’. This is because ‘courage’ might be important but without the strength, determination and the right age, one might be physically disabled. As seen in this story ‘Swami’ questions his theory by making it personal ‘Suppose I have all the courage, what can I do if a tiger should attack me?’ and the father doesn’t reply to his question because he is unable to base his answer and justify his generalized theory. Instead, he ignores and challenges the young boy who is not able to comprehend such traits that are perceived by his father. The following are the most important words and phrases that helped me with this response: ‘Wiser’, ‘Courage is everything, strength and age is not important’, ‘Suppose I have all the courage, what can I do if a tiger should attack me?’, ‘…disputed the theory’, ‘strong’ and ‘grown-up’.

3. According to ‘Swami’ the idea that he should sleep in his father’s office
room is a ‘frightful proposition’ because he has never slept without his granny. Also, probably because he has never been independent enough to

This connotes that the mother and father are not in their usual humble state. Their relationship is seen like a typical relationship where the elderly shelters the younger one whenever needed. The Granny and Swami are seen to be very close and intimate.’ if you mean your mother is spoiling him. instead Swami’s mother is seen to be annoyed. Therefore. this could be quite frustrating as she might not be aware of him as most of her time would have spent taking care of the baby.sleep outside his granny’s shelter. ‘…don’t let anyone call me even if the house is on fire…’. This becomes hilarious because of the situation Swami is seen to be in. Lastly. The lines ‘…already feeling sleepy? Don’t you want a story?’ shows readers how caring and loving Swami’s granny was when he needed her after a ‘frightful proposition’. This is known when she says. he is seen as an ‘apparition’ in darkness. because of such an idea ‘Swami’ uses red herring as an invitation to invite his Father to the cricket club. 5. The story is added with humour when the readers see Swami making ‘wild gesticulations’ and asking his granny to ‘shut-up’. Likewise. This line portrays his emotional state and conveys childish humour dramatically. the father is portrayed as an overpowering character in the story. The fact that he is very scared is seen when he asks his granny to leave him alone and uses a hyperbole for an added effect. Swami’s attempt fails because of his father’s unwillingness to retreat back the challenge given to little Swami. Lines 29-51 portray the attitudes of the different members of the family. He tries to distract him but is subdued by his father’s harsh commands who cuts in by saying ‘We’ll see later’. In addition. ‘…admit elders in the cricket club…’. This could be the case because of the fact that Swami is controlled by his granny and not her and so the discipline is not maintained in the house probably when his granny’s around. This is evident when he wakes Swami and he gets up. The mother is seen to be annoyed. . tell her so. ‘father’s tenacity’ means father’s willingness to not give up. don’t look at me’. This delineates an image of a strict father whose words are seen as harsh commands by the young boy. 4. Furthermore.

his father seems to terrify him but in contrast tries to make him independent by leaving him alone without anyone’s shelter. “Yes” ’). I personally feel that Swami’s father was not cruel but was caring in his nature of his strictness. He is also weak and not very strong. 8. the use of this exaggeration helps portray the protagonist’s image that shows his restless. readers comprehend with the intense situation but also sympathize for the protagonist as this sudden change has changed the world for the boy ‘…felt cut of from humanity’. Moreover. 6. The diction of the words ‘cut’ and ‘humanity’ further emphasize on Swami’s perception. 7. In addition. he also needs anchoring that is done in a more loving way unlike his father’s harsh commands. he is seen to be easily subdued and scared by his father (‘…mumbled weakly. When Narayan says. ‘…kept him trembling and awake all night’. accentuates the writer’s intention of building a tenseful atmosphere through the use of . This is known when Narayan uses short sentences such as ‘he was faint with fear’. the relationship between the father and son is not as friendly and casual as a typical one. Through the use of different sentence lengths the writer builds pace and sustains long lasting suspense and tension. I personally feel that Swami is a very innocent boy who is not tenacious but is one who needs someone’s shelter. instead is challenges filled.probably because of his attitude that always subdues the young boy. leading readers apprehend his father’s unrealistic tyranny. The additional use of a long descriptive sentence helps Narayan sustain this tension. miserable state. Hence. ‘…sounds reached his ears…ticking of the clock…rustle…snoring…humming’. this seems harsh at first it brings out the common qualities of a father who wants his child to become independent as he matures. Also. The phrase ‘didn’t like the strain of cruelty he saw in his father’s nature’ is a hyperbole used here to delineate Swami’s thoughts. Although. direct sentence leaves an immediate tenseful effect on readers that in turn stimulates thoughts to reflect on Swami’s behavior. In the case of Swami. Moreover. This exaggeration simply gives readers his perception of his father’s harshness and forced change. This short.

9. as he was in a state of fright where anything could have been harmed out of worry . Narayan keeps readers interested by describing Swami’s fear in his nightmare. which here is haunting little Swami. I personally feel that Swami’s act was out of his conscious mind. This is evident when Narayan describes the scene in Swami’s dream. who is not used to be alone and away from everyone. This is further reinforced by using an active verb ‘chasing’ to place Swami in a frightful situation. Ironically. From lines 96-105 readers know about Swami’s courageous act of biting a ‘notorious burglar’ who in turn is recognized as a typical ‘hero’ in school by his colleagues and teachers. Repetition of the word ‘scratch’ is used here to emphasize on the tiger’s ferocious nature and bring out movement to sustain atmospheric tension.active verbs. The use of an exclamation mark after the word ‘again’ shows his father’s reaction to his usual practice which shows he is upset but is also satisfied after his son’s ‘big achievement’. ‘sleeping beside his granny again!’. 10. ‘…tiger was chasing him…at his back…claws scratch…scratch. forcing readers to empathize and show sympathy towards his fright. tension is built the writer adds humour to this by making it filmy in the way he dramatizes and exaggerates the dream. scratch…thud…nightmare continued…continued forever…groaned in despair’. This is known when his father says. Also. these lines show that Swami’s father was caring as he came as soon as a sound went out. Furthermore. Swami is relieved once he is recognized and appreciated by everyone as he is seen to return to his usual practice of sleeping around his granny. this natural auditory imagery brings alive the atmosphere at that particular time to show the nature of any ordinary night. These verbs add an effect through movement of sounds that attempt to scare the little protagonist. The diction of the word ‘groaned’ associates dog like qualities to Swami who is in ‘despair’ and terrified. This indirect metaphorical comparison shows the extent of his pain and worry. Although. Also.

When his mother tells him that he ‘went to bed at seven –thirty’ and his father replies by saying ‘clever boy’ suggests Swami’s worry for being far from his granny’s shelter. Hence.a)Swami For Swami events have been unexpected as he faced many challenges and in turn was recognized for an unexpected act of hurting a notorious burglar. The following were the words and phrases that helped me shape my response: ‘…why should he wait?’. . this harshness against his innocence leaves readers question the suddenness of tenseful events and strict commands. c) For Readers As a reader the unexpected happened throughout the journey of this story as every situation that took place resulted in unpredictable outcomes. the unexpected happened as his threatening to Swami had led to recognition and appreciation in school. this portrays his father’s authoritive attitude that subdues Swami under terrifying challenges that leave him far and in tension. ‘…teeth on it like a mortal weapon…’ 11. 12. An example of this would be Swami’s subconscious dream turning out to be his worry and leading him to attack the burglar. this act was one of the most appreciated one as it helped find the ‘notorious burglar’. Also.and tension. ‘…hugged with all his might’. Moreover. During the conversation between Swami’s parents readers apprehend the strict relationship and attitude of his father towards him. b)Father For Swami’s father events have been ironic as the opposite of his expectations occurred that left his son further dependent and scared after facing the burglar-after his unconscious act. However. Lines 114 onwards readers understand the relationship of Swami and his father through the use of direct speech. This was not one of my predictions but was one sudden turn point making a change.

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