Optimistic or Numb
For years, poverty is one of the pressing issues that India faced, and being the country that have one third of the world’s poor, most Indians are leading a life that people in the modern society can never imaging. They never had ample food to satisfy their hunger, nor a place to sleep and of course, not having clothes to wear and tear. Dangers were always around them and people would be killed so easily like if one is crushing an ant. And because of this, most of them give up hope and stop struggling to improve their lifestyle, and it is to the extent that they became too adaptable to misery and give up their rights of pursuing happiness. In the story “The Grass-Eaters” by Krishnan Varma, the main couple, Ajit Babu and his wife, Swapna are depicted as the poorest people in the Indian society, they lived a refugee's life and are constantly on the move, even though Ajit Babu was a school master and is well educated, he was not leading a stable life. Despite the optimism attitude that Ajit Babu adopts towards the poverty and miseries he suffered, there actually lies a deep sense of despair underneath it. In order to comfort themselves and the couple forced themselves to give up some human nature for adapting the environment. This is why he is able to grow so accustomed in seeing the darkest side of society that he is able to watch it in peace and contentment. The author used symbolism to emulate the reality behind those contradictions, and to create a couple like them, “grass-eaters”, “home”, “railway” and “night blindness” (167-170) are a few symbols the author used to offer a distinctive angle of interpretations of this short story. Firstly, the most obvious symbol, the grass-eaters and since it is sets as the title, the author must have his own reason to this. This symbol plays an important role in the story development, as generally Grass-eater is use to define a type of animal rather than a person who is vegetarian. By using “Grass...
Cited: Varma Krishnan. “The Grass-Eaters.” 1985. Rpt. in The International Story: An Anthology
with Guidelines for Reading and Writing about Fiction. Ruth Spack. New York: St. Martin’s, 1994. 167-170
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