by R. K. Narayan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
R. K. Narayan (1906–2001) was born in Madras, India. After completing his education, he taught in a small village school. Narayan left teaching to devote himself full time to writing, and in 1935 he published his first novel, Swami and Friends. Two other early works, The Bachelor of Arts and Mr. Sampath, helped establish his reputation internationally. The Financial Expert (1952), his first novel to be published in the United States, was followed by a number of other novels, The English Teacher (1953), The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961), The Painter of Signs (1976), and A Tiger for Malgudi (1983). Among his short-story collections are Malgudi Days (1982), and The Grandmother's Tale and Selected Stories (1994). In 1974, Narayan published My Days, a volume of memoirs, and in 1989, an additional volume of nonfiction, A Story Teller's World.
GUIDED READING QUESITONS.
1. How is truth like the sun?
2. For what purpose does Sekhar set apart a day? Why does he do this?
3. What might you expect to happen based on Sekhar's experience so far with his day of truth?
4. How does the headmaster feel about music?
5. Why does Sekhar want to wait until tomorrow?
6. What happened to Harischandra when he spoke only the truth?
7. What does the headmaster have to say about Sekhar's opinion of his music? How do you think he really feels?
1a. What "experiment" does Sekhar resolve to undertake for one day?
2a. What is the "first test" in Sekhar's experiment?
3a. About what does the headmaster want Sekhar's opinion?
1b. Why does Sekhar decide to set aside the day for his experiment?
2b. What actions on the part of Sekhar's wife show the stinging effect truth can have?
3b. What actions on the part of the headmaster show that he takes his singing ability seriously?
4a. Identify indications in the story showing that others concur with Sekhar's opinion of the headmaster's musical ability.
4b. Predict what the long-term consequences might have been had Sekhar not told the headmaster the truth about his singing ability.
5a. What relationship between human interaction and truth is described in this story? How does Sekhar come to understand that practicing truth is a luxury?
5b. What significance does the legend of Harischandra have to Sekhar's situation? Think of other situations in which it might be difficult to tell the truth.
Irony. In what way is Sekhar's "first test" at his morning meal an example of irony of situation? How are the expectations of Sekhar's wife violated? What major example of irony of situation occurs that violates Sekhar's expectations for his experiment?
Theme. What does Sekhar learn about the consequences of telling the truth? Develop two or three thematic statements about truth based on what he learns. WRITER’S JOURNAL.
1. Write three similes comparing the sounds of certain types of music or particular instruments to other sounds.
2. Suppose that the headmaster had made his singing debut in a small concert hall rather than in the private audience of Sekhar. Imagine that you are a music reviewer for the local newspaper who has attended the performance. Write your music review including such information as a brief biography of the performer, the type of music performed, the quality of the performer and the accompanists, the length of the performance, the comfort and ambiance of the concert hall, and so on. Use details from the story when possible, but fill in with your own imagination as necessary.
3. A parable is a very brief story told to teach a moral lesson. Write a parable that teaches a humorous lesson about telling the truth.
LANGUAGE, GRAMMAR, AND STYLE.
Preposition Review. Read through the story to find five sentences with prepositional phrases. Then copy each sentence, identify the...