Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Like the Sun by R. K. Narayan Review

The short story "Like the Sun" was written by a prominent Indian writer R. K. Narayan (1906–2001). The interesting fact about this writer is that he wrote in English but English wasn't his native language. In an interview, Narayan noted, “I was never aware that I was using a different, a foreign, language when I wrote in English because it came to me very easily. . . . And it's so transparent it can take on the tint of any country.

The language of the story is quite simple, the style is similar to a style of children's tales. But the target audience of the story is not the children. The plot is how the main character, Sekhar who worked as a teacher, decided to try an experiment: to speak all day only absolute truth whatever may happen. He compared the truth with the sun, he realized that "no human being can ever look it straight in the face without blinking or being dazed".

His experiment began at home, when his wife in an effort to please him, prepared a new titbit. He didn't like it and he had to say “It isn't good. I'm unable to swallow it”. This displeased his wife but Sekhar was bent on speaking the truth. Later in the day, while he was having a small talk about a person who had passed away, instead of saying something appropriate such as expressing the condolence, he commented that the deceased "always struck me as a mean and selfish brute.”

Next incident occurred when his boss ( the headmaster) shared with him his passion for music. The headmaster yearned to hear something pleasant, being in anticipation of cheering comments, he agreed to allow Sekhar to prolong the time for checking student's test papers (it was what Sekhar wished). But Sekhar wasn't able to endorse the musical performance of his chief, he had to say that the performance wasn't good. Interesting consequences happened later: the headmaster:
- said thanks for telling the truth because he realized that he never would achieve success in music and he was just wasting time and money;
- changed his offer to prolong the time for checking student's works and demanded to complete it in one day.

Narayan focused in this story on the solving of the moral dilemma about lying for the good intentions. It is considered that in definite situations would be better "tempering truth so that it might not shock".

Indeed, avoiding of telling the truth isn't a part of the educational work. Hiding the truth can be aimed at avoiding to harm people. It is forbidden or not recommended by society to reveal the truth in definite situations. When is it possible and when it is necessary. R.K. Narayan put this question for the reader's judgment.

Like the Sun by R. K. Narayan

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