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 Question 1

(a) Describe the character of Jayanto with reference to the short story ‘Fritz’ ?

Jayanto is the protagonist of the story who worked in the editorial division of a newspaper.. A Man Influenced by Memories ,Jayanto was so influenced by his memories from past that he chose to visit Bundi in Rajasthan rather than visiting the famous places like Jaipur,Udaipur or Chittor.This was because he had visited Bundi as a child.He always wished to return to Bundi as an adult to compare the modern Bundi with his childhood image of the place. 

Jayanto seemed to be a quiet man.He seemed to be lost in his .past.He seemed to be in low spirits to the narrator the day they arrived in Bundi.His childhood memories with Fritz haunted him to such an extent that he felt depressed and emotional. A Single Child Jayanto was the only child of his parents.He had lots of toys when he was young.He was so loved and pampered that his parents gave him practically everything.

 Jayanto was not only loved but loving.When he got Fritz,he used to spend all his time with him.He could talk to his doll for hours.Perhaps,because of being a single child,he was adamant too.When his parents warned him not to overdo things with Fritz,he did not listen to them. Jayanto was a sensitive soul.He was deeply attached to his doll Fritz. He could not protect his doll from being destroyed by a couple of stray dogs.He buried Fritz as if a real human being had died.His sensitive self continued to be anxious,even thirty one years later. 

Some of Jayanto’s other characteristic traits are: He was a man of strong senses-one night when he was walked over by some strange creature,he was sure it had two feet,not four. Jayanto was a diffident man.Though he seemed to like his friend’s idea of digging the ground to free”himself of his weird notions”,he was reluctant.

(b) Describe how memories plays an important role in Satyajit Ray short story Fritz.

 Memory has an important role in Satyajit Ray’s story “Fritz”. Major elements in the story including the plot itself are directly connected to the memory and feelings of Jayanto, the protagonist. It was his memory of the place named Bundi that was behind Jayanto’s decision to make the trip to Bundi and not to the other popular places in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Udaipur or Chittor. Then, while staying in the circuit house in Bundi, his old memories were slowly coming to his mind.

Now some of my memories are coming back slowly. The bungalow certainly appears unchanged. I can even recognize some of the old furniture, such as these cane chairs and tables.

Thirty one years before when Jayanto was just six, he visited the place with his parents. Now he is nostalgic remembering those days. He remembers his favourite doll Fritz and his obsession with it. He used to spend a lot of time with that doll, playing and conversing with it. He also remembers how sad he was when two stray dogs had killed Fritz, his only playmate. He then buried Fritz under a deodar tree in the garden of the circuit house.

Now, returning to the same place again after 31 years, Jayanto is lost in thought and his friend Shankar is well aware of this change in his behaviour. That is why he asks —

“Are you well? You seem to be in low spirits today,”

This is where the story begins, highlighting the gravity of the nostalgic feeling in Jayanto’s inner self aroused by his past memory of the place. Moreover, he was constantly trying to remember some missing links from his memory. That is why, as Shankar noticed, he “had turned rather quiet after arriving in Bundi”. He recognizes most of the furniture in the circuit house and remember that things looked lot bigger than they are now.

While walking in the garden, Jayanto suddenly remembers a deodar tree in the garden but is troubled trying to remember, in vain, what had actually happened there. 

No, I can’t recall anything at all. Memory is a strange business …

Thus, throughout the story memory is the thing that haunts him down. Though Jayanto later knows why he remembered that deodar tree, the memory of his doll Fritz doesn’t let him enjoy his holiday. In the night he awakes from sleep horrified with a feeling that something has just walked over his chest. After a thorough search when they do not find anything, Jayanto concludes that it is his doll Fritz that has come alive to him. Though Shankar readily dismisses his unrealistic claims, he agrees to have the ground under the deodar tree dug up in order to find if the remains of his doll are still there. To their utter shock, they found a twelve-inch long white human skeleton there under the ground.

Irrespective of the ending of the story and its open-ended finish, the plot development is directed by Jayanto’s memory. If it were not for his past memories of the doll Fritz, the thought of the doll coming alive had not been possible for him. He could then simply think that it was just a small creature like a rat which ran over his chest. In that case, the supernatural element that the author introduces would not have been feasible.

Thus, memory plays an important role here in the story “Fritz” for setting the tone of the story by causing the nostalgic feelings and lost-in-thought mood in Jayanto and also for defining the entire plot


(c) Discuss how does the use of imagery and 

suspense add to the element of horror in Satyajit

 Ray’s short story Fritz

Satyajit Ray ,a noted filmmaker and author explores the theme of macabre and supernaturalism in his stories.His stories appeal to the readers at an intelligent level,comporing them to race their imagination and get involved in the story they are reag
His stories bring about the chill and thrills of the haunted places through carefully chosen words an situations to which his characters react.He creates an ultimate horror setting a pertectly spun situation which provides the ultimate shock and terror to its readers.
However,Ray while exploring the theme of macabre and supernaturalism was perrectly aware of its young readers and therefore avoided the explicit gore of horror narrated by
other writers. Satyajit Ray believed in the fear produced in the mind through frightening situations, emotions and inanimate objects and this is implicitly found in all his horror stories written till date.Ray explores the very same theme and employs the same tactics in his short story'Fritz’.

Jayanto and Shankar,two childhood friends visit Bundi for a holiday,Shankar in the very beginning confesses that Bundi is an odd choice to visit as a holiday destination in Rajasthan
as opposed to the highly popular and tourist friendly cities of Jaipur,Udaipur and Chittor. Moreover,Bundi still retains the old world charm of the Rajputana times,with very less
invasion of the modern times.The”cobbled streets”,”balconies jutting out from the first floor”,bore an evidence to the old setting.With these words,Ray finely introduces us to the
unnatural setting of his story and sows in the seed of psychological curiosity in the mind of his readers.

Jayanto and Shankar are put up in the circuit house that is almost hundred years old a legacy of the British era.This brings about a chill in the readers with the reminder of the popular belief that old buildings are always haunted.Indeed,this is a very clever way to get the readers ready for the horror and the unnatural happenings or experiences that are about
to begin for the characters of the story.
Shankar’s reference to Tagore’s poem”The Fort of Bundi”adds to the theme of macabre,as the poem narrates the historic valiance of the Rana’s troops in the battle with very vivid
words that heightens the sense of tension and fear in the readers.

"Rana’s troops slay his head…
He drops dead,
His blood,crimson red
Sanctifies the castle clean
In ablution of all vicious sin.”

Ray carefully creates the setting and explores the emotions of his characters which further induces a sense of fear and horror.The story begins with Jayanto in low spirits and his friend acknowledging the change in Jayanto as soon as he arrived at Bundi.”Jayanto had
turned rather quiet…perhaps some of his memories had returned.”His writings clearly depict the depression and puts the reader with a sense of unease on what is about to follow.
His description in details with no clear reference to the story,simply brings forward his technique to heighten the sense of horror.Jayanto recalling the physical details of the cook
whose”eyes were always red”makes the reader anticipate the unnatural and haunted incidents with the lead.

Satyajit Ray in the short story”Fritz”employs the use of inanimate object to explore the supernatural aspect and induce horror in the mind of the readers.Fritz is described as a
twelve inch long Swiss doll,very life like,whose arms and limbs could be twisted.Ray’s particular mention of Fritz won’t respond unless he is called by his name adds to the thrill
and confirms the presence of a supernatural theme in the story.

Fritz’s tragic death and his burial by Jayanto adds to the thrill of the supernatural occurrences that is bound to be experienced by Jayanto.
Ray,much like the authors of the horror genre,uses situation that induces a sense of frightening and horror in the reader’s senses.Jayanto waking up to notice”tiny,brown
circular marks”on his quilt is clearly one of the technique employed to explore the theme ofthe supernatural.Digging always unearths the dark secrets of the past.Ray leaves this till the end to give the final brutal shock to its readers in the form of the unearthing of the twelve inch long,perfect little human skeleton under the Deodar tree,giving a psychological relief and yet leaving the minds of the readers in perpetual digging of heads to create various permutations and combination of situation that would have happened. 


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