ALEXIS AYIREBI- ACQUAH
PROSE COMMENTARY: ROHINTON MISTRY A FINE BALANCE.
The passage is woven around the lives of two tailors; Ashraf, older and more experienced character, and Ishvar; younger, less developed character. These two characters are used by the writer to convey different ideals in society as well as to explore the condition of tailors in small towns. To begin with, the writer uses characters purposely to carry across issues of concern and create the awareness of these issues through the characters’ plight. The writer’s use of ‘tailoring’ is also very much deliberate and in line with the themes present in the passage. The main characters, Ashraf and Ishvar, appear at the center of the passage. Ashraf, is portrayed as caring, thoughtful and kind-hearted. In the first paragraph, ‘Ishvar [gives] up their lodging in the rooming house, at Ashraf’s insistence’. Ishvar and his nephew Omprakash are given a room by Ashraf, who [claims] ‘there [is] plenty space in the house, now that his daughters [have] all married and left’. Ashraf’s good nature is seen not only when he offers his home to Ishvar and Omprakash, but his concern for the young Omprakash. Both friends [fret and agonize] over the boy’s future, their genuine interest in the boy’s well-being is captured when they [stand] together and [watch] him sleep. Ishvar, is also portrayed to the reader as caring and sensitive. Ishvar, like Ashraf is concerned about his nephew, and ‘fears that if his nephew should go back to the village [he may do] something foolish’. Although the tailors are portrayed as affectionate men, their characters contrast in their ideologies. Ishvar, is suggested to the reader as a romantic, whose judgement is based on imaginative, idealistic and unrealistic things. He considers the ‘loss [of] clients temporary’ and suggests ‘a big new shop with stacks of shirts to choose from [will] attract customers’. Ashraf, on the other hand, appears more realistic and considers the...
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