Monday, 23 June 2014

THE EYES HAVE IT by Ruskin Bond: An Analysis

The Writer

Ruskin Bond, born in 1934 at Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, is an Indian writer of British descent. He is an outstanding figure of international repute among the contemporary Indian English writers. He does much to standardise our national English literature. He is a prolific and powerful writer. He has written short stories, essays, novels and children books. The setting of most of his stories is Dehra, as Malgudi is for R K Narayan. He has received many awards. His first novel, The Room on the Roof brought him the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. He received the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992 for his short story collection, Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and the N D Mehra Memorial Award in 2003 for his contribution to children’s literature. Ruskin, a versatile writer and a man of colourful personality, is still active. He now lives in Landour near Mussoorie. His profound love for his own birth place and his passion for literature are the treasure of his life. Let his powerful pen run long.

The Source

The Eyes Have It, a very popular short story by Ruskin Bond, was originally published in Contemporary Indian English Stories. Later it was included in many other collections with different titles such as The Eyes Are Not Here, The Girl on the Train, etc.

The Story

The Eyes Have It is a marvellous short story of Ruskin Bond who has used first person narrative technique in the story. Here everything is narrated by the person who himself is blind. His eyes are sensitive only to light and darkness. While going to Dehradun by train he comes across a girl. He starts conversation and gradually becomes interested in her. He tactfully hides his blindness from the girl to impress her. But the conversation does not last long. The girl bids him good-bye as the train arrives at her destination. After her departure, a new male passenger comes into the compartment. From that man the narrator learns that the girl was completely blind. The revelation shocks the narrator. He feels that he has deceived himself. This is an ironical twist that makes the end of the story so appealing.

The Features

  • The Eyes Have It is an ideal short story. It is short in length and can be easily finished in one go. It has a limited number of characters – the narrator, the girl and the new passenger.
  • It illustrates Bond’s art of story telling which is simple in approach but universal in appeal. It tells a simple tale in a lucid style with a deep insight into the psychology of men. It ends with a striking discovery, and its plot is well-knit. Bond makes the story a vivid one by using the first person narrative technique.
  • The setting of the story is very simple and interesting. Everything happens in the train compartment and the time chosen is October when Mussoorie looks beautiful.
  • It is full of ironical turns and twists. There is a real humour in the narrator’s attempt to conceal his blindness. But this humour takes an ironical turn when he discovers that the girl is also blind.
  • It shows Ruskin Bond’s sympathy for the blind and for their troubles and loneliness. Through the personal experience of the blind narrator Bond focuses on universal human experiences.
  • It shows Bond’s mastery in the art of characterization. Like the great French master Maupassant Bond also chooses common people to create interesting situations.

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