Saki's 'Dusk'



British author H.H. (Hector Hugh) Munro, known as "Saki," taken by E.O. Hoppe

Going through the story ‘Dusk’ by Saki again after so many years was a treat indeed. I could simply marvel at the writer’s casual and interesting narrative style. It was engrossing reading. The plot of the story is a simple and woven around, we can say, a humorous incident. The title ‘Dusk’ tells a tale of its own, the writer too analyzes the concept in the beginning of the story. The first thing is that it is dusk time when the incident takes place. Secondly, the main character of the story Norman Gortsby felt that the time ‘harmonized with its present mood’. He associated dusk time with the defeat.
Saki describes the scene in the following words, “There was a wide emptiness over road and sidewalk, and yet there were many unconsidered figures moving silently through the half-light or dotted unobtrusively on bench and chair, scarcely to be distinguished from the shadowed gloom in which they sat.”
Saki associates dusk time with defeat and sadness, may be because it is the fag end of the day. At this hour even the mighty Sun has been defeated by the descending darkness. There is a saying, “Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper.” This might be precisely why Saki writes:
“Men and women who had fought and lost, who hid their fallen fortunes and dead hopes as far as possible from the scrutiny of the curious, came forth in this hour of gloaming when their shabby clothes and bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes might pass unnoticed, or at any rate, unrecognized.”

Coming back to the story, it is a small incident but an engrossing one. The surprise ending takes the cake.
Read the complete text here: Dusk
Saki was the pen name of the British author, Hector Hugh Munro (December 18, 1870 – November 13, 1916). He was one of the many British authors to have perished during World War I. He was a brilliant satirist known particularly for his wit. His other memorable stories that I can recall is ‘The Open Window’. I have cherished both these stories ever since I read them as part of the school syllabus. They are one of the literary jewels that are treasured forever, no matter how many years go by. Their charm is not at all diminished by the veil of the host of new upcoming literature.

4 comments:

Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

Nice blog! I hate it when people visit and leave only a teeny little comment like that, so I'm adding more: and thanks for visiting

Georganna @ A Writer's Edge

surjit said...

A wonderful story by a great writer.I like the quote;
“Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper.”
Thanks for sharing.
God bless.

Anonymous said...

A superb story teaching a lesson that appearances can be deceptive.thank you for getting it here...

HEYMU said...

what a reality it is!!!!
A king that is conquered must see strange looks, So bitter a thing is the heart of man......

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