Here is a Summary and Analysis of A Face in the Dark by Ruskin Bond. This would provide learners with a proper detail of the poem to comprehend it properly.
Summary of A Face in the Dark by Ruskin Bond
“A Face in the Dark” is a short story by Ruskin Bond, an Indian author. The story is about a young boy named Binya who lives in a small village in the Himalayas. One night, while returning home from a friend’s house, Binya sees a mysterious face in the dark.
The face belongs to a young girl who is hiding in the bushes and she is crying. Binya feels scared and runs back home. The next day, he tells his mother about the incident and his mother tells him that the girl must have been a spirit.
Binya is determined to find out who the girl is, so he goes back to the spot where he saw her and finds her hiding in the bushes again. He approaches her and finds out that her name is Kanni and she is a runaway from a neighboring village. She had left home because she didn’t want to get married to an old man. Binya brings her home and his mother agrees to take care of her until she finds a way to return to her village safely.
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In the end, Binya learns that helping others, even if they are strangers, is the right thing to do, and that fear should not stop one from doing the right thing. He also learns that spirits aren’t always bad and that sometimes, people in need are the ones who are crying in the dark.
In summary, the story “A Face in the Dark” is about a young boy named Binya who encounters a mysterious face in the dark and learns to overcome his fear and help a young girl in need. Through this experience, he learns that sometimes, the things we fear may not be as bad as we imagine and that helping others is the right thing to do.
Analysis of A Face in the Dark-Part-1
Mr Oliver, an Anglo-Indian teacher, was returning to his school late one night, on the outskirts of the hill station of Simla. From before Kipling’s time, the school had been run on English public school lines and the boys, most of them from wealthy Indian families, wore blazers, caps and ties.
Life magazine, in a feature on India, had once called it the ‘Eton of the East’. Mr Oliver had been teaching in the school for several years.
The Simla bazaar, with its cinemas and restaurants, was about three miles from the school and Mr Oliver, a bachelor, usually strolled into the town in the evening, returning after dark, when he would take a short cut through the pine forest.
This text is an excerpt from the short story “A Face in the Dark” by Ruskin Bond. The text describes the setting and background of the story. The story takes place in the hill station of Simla, India and specifically on the outskirts of the town. The text mentions that the school, which is the main setting of the story, is an Anglo-Indian school and it has been run on English public school lines for a long time. The school is attended by boys from wealthy Indian families, and it has been described as the “Eton of the East” by Life magazine.
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The text also introduces the main character of the story, Mr. Oliver, who is an Anglo-Indian teacher at the school. He is described as a bachelor, who usually spends his evenings in the Simla bazaar, which is a busy town with cinemas and restaurants. He returns to the school after dark, taking a short cut through the pine forest. This detail of the text is a foreshadowing of the main event of the story, where Mr. Oliver will encounter a mysterious face in the dark.
Overall, the text sets the scene for the story, introducing the setting, characters, and background of the story, and it also provides some details about the culture and the society of the time.
Analysis of A Face in the Dark-Part-2
When there was a strong wind the pine trees made sad, eerie sounds that kept most people to the main road. But Mr Oliver was not a nervous or imaginative man. He carried a torch and its gleam—the batteries were running down—moved fitfully down the narrow forest path. When its flickering light fell on the figure of a boy, who was sitting alone on a rock, Mr Oliver stopped. Boys were not supposed to be out after dark.
The paragraph describes a scene in which the character Mr. Oliver is walking down a forest path at night. The wind is blowing strongly and the pine trees are making eerie sounds, which makes most people avoid the path
. However, Mr. Oliver is not easily frightened and is carrying a torch. As he walks, the light from the torch falls on a figure of a boy sitting alone on a rock. The presence of the boy is unexpected and implies that he should not be out in the forest at night.
The fact that the batteries in the torch are running down adds to the eerie atmosphere and uncertainty of the situation. The boy’s presence raises questions about why he is there and what he is doing. It’s also possible to infer that the boy might be lost or maybe he is someone who likes to explore the forest at night.
Analysis of A Face in the Dark-Part-3
‘What are you doing out here, boy?’ asked Mr Oliver sharply, moving closer so that he could recognize the miscreant. But even as he approached the boy, Mr Oliver sensed that something was wrong. The boy appeared to be crying. His head hung down, he held his face in his hands and his body shook convulsively. It was a strange, soundless weeping and Mr Oliver felt distinctly uneasy.
‘Well, what’s the matter?’ he asked, his anger giving way to concern. ‘What are you crying for?’ The boy would not answer or look up. His body continued to be racked with silent sobbing. ‘Come on, boy, you shouldn’t be out here at this hour. Tell me the trouble. Look up!’ The boy looked up. He took his hands from his face and looked up at his teacher. The light from Mr Oliver’s torch fell on the boy’s face—if you could call it a face.
The paragraph describes a scene in which the character Mr. Oliver approaches the boy he saw sitting alone on the rock. Initially, Mr. Oliver is sharp and demands to know what the boy is doing out in the forest at night.
However, as he approaches the boy, he senses that something is wrong and the boy is crying. The boy’s crying is described as “strange, soundless weeping” which adds to the eerie atmosphere of the scene and makes Mr. Oliver feel uneasy. He shifts from being angry to being concerned and tries to comfort the boy, but the boy will not speak or look up.
When the boy finally looks up, the light from Mr. Oliver’s torch falls on his face, and the description of “if you could call it a face” implies that the boy’s face is not normal. This creates a sense of suspense and unease, making the reader wonder what is wrong with the boy’s face.
The boy’s crying and the unusual appearance of his face adds to the mysterious and eerie atmosphere of the scene and raises more questions about what is happening.
Analysis of A Face in the Dark-Part-4
It had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. It was just a round smooth head—with a school cap on top of it! And that’s where the story should end. But for Mr Oliver it did not end here.
The torch fell from his trembling hand. He turned and scrambled down the path, running blindly through the trees and calling for help. He was still running towards the school buildings when he saw a lantern swinging in the middle of the path. Mr Oliver stumbled up to the watchman, gasping for breath. ‘What is it, sahib?’ asked the watchman. ‘Has there been an accident? Why are you running?’
The paragraph describes the climax and the resolution of the story. When Mr. Oliver shines his torch on the boy’s face, we see that he has no eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. He has only a round smooth head with a school cap on top of it.
This revelation is described as shocking and terrifying, causing Mr. Oliver to drop his torch and run away in fear. He runs blindly through the forest, calling for help and trying to escape the scene.
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The scene shifts to Mr. Oliver stumbling upon a watchman’s lantern and telling him what he saw, the watchman appears confused and asks if there has been an accident. The scene ends with Mr. Oliver still gasping for breath and in a state of shock, unable to explain the strange event he has just witnessed.
The passage also implies that what Mr. Oliver saw was something beyond his comprehension, something that he is not able to explain. It also adds to the eerie and mysterious atmosphere of the story and makes the reader question what might have happened.
The resolution of the story is open-ended and leaves the reader wondering about the true nature of the boy and what he represents.
Analysis of A Face in the Dark-Part-5
‘I saw something—something horrible—a boy weeping in the forest—and he had no face!’
‘No face, sahib?’
‘No eyes, nose, mouth—nothing!’
‘Do you mean it was like this, sahib?’ asked the watchman and raised the lamp to his own face. The watchman had no eyes, no ears, no features at all—not even an eyebrow! And that’s when the wind blew the lamp out.
The paragraph concludes the story and provides a twist ending. The watchman, who is supposed to be the one who can help Mr. Oliver, appears to be a reflection of the boy that Mr. Oliver saw in the forest.
The watchman, like the boy, has no eyes, no ears, no features at all. This revelation is shocking for Mr. Oliver as it suggests that the boy he saw in the forest is not an isolated incident, but rather a manifestation of something much more sinister.
Furthermore, the fact that the watchman also has no face implies that the boy’s condition is not a physical one, but rather a supernatural or spiritual one.
The sudden extinction of the lamp when the watchman revealed himself adds to the eerie atmosphere of the story and heightening the sense of unease.
This twist ending suggests that the boy’s condition is not something that can be explained by rational means, but rather something that is beyond human understanding. It also implies that the forest is not a safe place and that there might be other dangers lurking in the darkness.
The story concludes with Mr. Oliver in a state of shock and confusion, leaving the reader to ponder the true nature of the boy and what he represents.