The Righteous Deceit of Helen Turrell

Topics: Lie, Deception, Short story Pages: 4 (1226 words) Published: November 18, 2012
Helen Turrell is portrayed at first glance as an independent caretaker of her nephew, Michael Turell in the short story, “The Gardener” by Rudyard Kipling. However, upon reading between the lines of this character's story, her facade of honesty is peeled away. In it's place is a of lies exposed by the story's namesake, the Gardener. Her experience with the public is through a veil of her lie. Instead of going to France to cure her lung trouble as the public thought, Helen was actually there bearing Michael into the world. Besides this secret, Helen's honesty is a well-known trait to the general public. To her son, however, her honesty and lies are a strain on their relationship. By ten years old he discovers that he is an illegitimate child. When Michael unexpectedly dies fighting in World War I, Helen meets Mrs. Scarsworth. They meet while traveling to visit Michael's grave, and Mrs. Scarsworth prompts the first introspection of Helen's lie. The Gardener at the graveyard confirms the illegitimate son to the reader. The story seems to be told from Helen's version of the happenings, and the public's gossip about it. Outwardly, the public's gossip defines Helen's appearance outside of her deceit. Rudyard Kipling builds on his theme of the effects of deceit buy developing the character Helen Turrell into an innocent, selfless, yet deceitful person through her twisted interactions with the public in general; her unfulfilled relationship with Michael Turrell; and her short, strained relationship with Mrs. Scarsworth.

Helen's relationship with the public was a deceitful one, but both parties gained from the relationship. The beginning paragraphs of the story aren't quite from the authors omniscient narrative. The sentences are short and information is sparse and sometimes absent, as though it was gathered through gossip. From this it can be concluded that the public gossip is writing this part of the story. The opening paragraph explains that Helen...
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