The Cookie Lady Summary, Theme, Critical Appreciation by Philip K. Dick

The Cookie Lady Summary by Philip K. Dick

The Cookie Lady Summary, Theme, Critical Appreciation by Philip K. Dick

The Cookie Lady Summary

The story “The Cookie Lady” by Philip Kindred Dick (Philip K. Dick) was published in the year 1953 in Fantasy Fiction magazine. It is a tale of chilling horror. In this story, a young boy named Bernard Surle, loving called Bubber often visited an old lady Mrs. Drew, who baked his favourite cookies for him to relish.

Bubber goes to the old lady to satisfy his cravings for his favourite food and often carries books with him to read before the lady and break her monotonous desolate life. Mrs. Drew, though appeared to be a very kind lady with a grandmother touch in her. has different intention regarding Bubber. She makes the most of the given opportunity to feel the touch of youth in Bubber’s company.

Bubber often visit to this old lady’s house is quite disregarding to his parents. His friend also mocked him for his visit. At last his parent forbade him to visit the old lady. In his last visit, the readers became aware that Mrs. Drew while touching the young arm of the boy, experienced sudden transformation into robust, glowing lady with thick black hair and perfectly fleshy body. She has drained all his youth from chubby Bubber and the boy turned into a bundle of trash blown away by the wind.

The Cookie Lady About the Author Philip K. Dick

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American science fiction writer. He wrote 44 novels and about 121 short stories most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.

His fiction explored varied philosophical and social questions such as the nature of reality, perception, human nature, identity and commonly featured characters struggling against elements such as alternate realities, illusory environment, monopolistic corporations, drug abuse, authoritarian government and altered state of consciousness.

Born in Chicago, Dick moved to the San Francisco Bay area with his family at a young age. He began publishing science fiction stories in 1952 at age of 23. He found little commercial success until his alternative history novel “The Man in the High Castle (1962) earned him acclaim, including a Huge Award for Best Novel, when he was 33. His notable science fictions are “Do Androids Dream of

Electric Sheep?” (1968) and Ubik (1969). His novel ‘Flow My Tears” (1974) and “The Policeman Said” won the John. W Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. First published in Fantasy Fiction (July, 1953), “The Cookie Lady” is a story of terror, chilling and memorable incident. It narrates the tale of a chubby teenager boy called ‘Bubber’ who is fond of cookies, pay visit to the house of his neighbour old Mrs. Drew. The old lady bakes cookies for the boy and Bubber enjoys them.

Slowly his health gets detonated, as he was not aware that the cookie lady has an agenda, she is not as kindly, lady as she seems to be. In a chilling manner the apparent kind, old lady who feeds Bubber cookies steals his life force. We get a hint in the story that she has done this before and that Bubber is one of the many children she has treated in this manner.

The story is remarkable for the manner in which the atmosphere builds up. The security that the reader is belled into at the beginning of the story is slowly and inexorably chipped away as it is replaced by a growing unease which changes to terror.

The Cookie Lady Theme

The story is horror in genre and the author does not bring out some specific theme or moral lessons. The author excellently creates an atmosphere of suspense, fear and abnormality and absurdity. He focuses on inter personal relationship which have both good and bad influences on human being.

One strong point is conspicuous in the story-temptation leads to death. Craving for anything can be disastrous and unhealthy as we find in the case of Bubber who failed to resist his temptation of tasty cookies baked by an old strange lady. Bubber was quite obese and over eating was harmful for his health. Another theme or point is human exploitation.

Bubber uses Mrs. Drew to satisfy his gread for cookies, likewise Mrs. Drew exploits Bubber by draining his youth from him and transforming herself into a young lady filled with vitality and good physique. She appears to be like a witch capable of doing inhumane or even super abnormal actions.

The theme also focuses on the responsibility of parents in guiding their children. Both parent where not bothered where their son was going and with whom, developing company. The boy falls into the trap of an unethical lady who, under the pretext of providing him cookies- his favourite food, exploits his youth and draws in vitality turning him into dry debris blow by the winds.

The Cookie Lady Critical Appreciation

The story “The Cookie Lady” is an interesting heart-touching story of a young boy paying frequent visit to the house of strange old lady in his neighbourhood. The old lady as mentioned Mrs. Drew cast charms on him by baking his favourite cookies and serving the baked ones with cold milk. The story is set in a dystopian world of exploitation, selfishness and greediness having no feeling of sympathy and everyone only aim in life is to take advantage of others in an unethical manner.

The strange old lady like a witch satisfies the young lad’s irresistable craving for baked cookies and in return sucks from him, his youth and vitality and transforms herself into young lady of thirty. The boy being exploitated reduces to just a bundle of trash is quite symbolical. Extreme exploitation leads to death or destruction and makes the being extinct.

The characters of Mrs. Drew and Bubber have been beautifully sketched with distinct traits. The cookie lady Mrs. Drew is old, strange selfish and possessed enchanting powers to draw out from Bubber his youth and energy. Bernade Surie popularly regarded as Bubber is obese and innocent young lad with full of energy and vitality.

Both his parents have superficial concern for their son, without getting fully involved in his welfare. The style is plain and lucid and Mrs. Drew is described lyrically. Over-exploitation reduced the young boy into bundle of trash has been described very casually. All this make the story a chill horror story which leads us into the world of fantasy and imaginations.

The Cookie Lady Characters

Bernard Surie (Bubber):

Bernard Surie, only son of Raif Surie (father) and May Surie (mother) had irresistable greed for coolies. He was a young obese teen lovingly called Bubber and cookies was restricted from his diet. The small fresh baked cookies, or sight of woman drinking big chocolate soda, brought water to his mouth cold milk served with freshly baked cookies was his utmost favourite.

A neighbouring old strange lady made cookies for him and he paid visit to her house after school to enjoy her cookies filled with nuts and raisins. He provided the lonely lady with comforting company and read his books to reduce boredom in that old lady’s life.

The innocence of the boy Bubber rouses feelings of pity in the mind of the readers. The craving for cookies should not have been taken as too great a flaw to reduce him to a trash blown away by the strong winds. He becomes the victim of exploitation at the hands of the vicious society abusing person or taking advantage of one’s innocence. Bubber is the icon of capitalistic setup that steals the youth of the children working for their need.

Denied of his craving and right guidance and affection of parents, the young teen fall a prey easily and get trapped by the ruthless people like Mrs. Drew who reduced Bubber to nothing – a strand of debris by providing him cookies and satisfying his greed for it.

Mrs Drew:

Mrs. Drew is a strange old lady who resided in a shabby old house in Bubber’s neighbourhood. Her role in this story is like a witch who scruplously uses any person to her advantage. Like the vampire sucks blood from innocent people in the same manner this fiendish lady suck youth and vitality of a chubby, obsese teen named Bubber.

In the story she resided in a dull grey house with dried up weeds growing in front of her house. She had a rocking chair which was placed on the porch. Mrs. Drew was perfect in baking cookies to tempt young children – as we have seen Bubber.

Who was drawn towards her for his favourite cookies filled with nuts and raisins in then. As she served the boy with cookies she herself sat beside him and watched him closely. She intructed the boy to read his book loudly meanwhile she used to watch the boy with her vicious eyes and suck vitality and youth from him. She felt her inner transformation where her wrinkles fades away, her hair turns black and volume returns. She felt her youthfulness was again returning to her.

She insisted Bubber to visit her again. Bubber in turn felt tired and exhausted after his visit to the lady. She is really a remorseless and self-centred lady. During Bubber’s last visit she touches his arm gently, she experienced a throb, a pulsation and youthful vibration in her body. She felt getting rejuvenated once again. She finds her bosom swelling and becoming firm, hips protruding, her lips getting redder, hair thick and dark. All good things were happening to her only. She felt elated.

The magic of transformation has worked. She watches her youthful image in her mirror and plunges into the both tub to adern her beauty whereas. Bubber, the chubby obese teen leaves her tired and exhausted with no life in him. All his youth strength disappears and readers get terrified at the ends where Bubber is no where found only a bundle of trash blown away by the winds, strikes his own house.

The Cookie Lady Title of the Story

The title of Philip K. Dick’s short story “The Cookie Lady” is quite relevant and appropriate. The story centres round Mrs. Drew who bakes cookies for a young lad named ‘Bubber’. Mrs Drew is quite old and strange lady who lives a solitary life in his shabby grey house. The lady’s personality draw Bubber toward her as she satisfies Bubber irresistable craving for baked cookies. But later reader gets acquainted with the real intention of the lady.

Like a witch or sorceress she charms Bubber with her tempting cookies. As her name suggests, Mrs. Drew – drews all the youthfulness of the young boy and transform herself into a lady of thirties. The story is built on the influence exercised by her on the innocent lad who visit her to satisfy his craving desire for cookies. So, the title of the story “The Cookie Lady” is quite convincing, appropriate and suggestive.

The Cookie Lady Setting

The setting of the story “The Cookie Lady” focuses middle class family where parents are quite pre occupied with their own work and forget to pay attention to their children – who are misled and gets victimized easily by unscrupulous, evil minded people. The setting of the story is thus a dystopian world of exploitation, selfishness and greed.

The helpful old lady who baked cookies for the young lad Bubber like a witch steal away the youthhood and ‘vitality from the boy. She transforms into a lady of thirties whereas the boy is reduced to just a bundle of trash and is blown away by the wind.

The Cookie Lady Style

The story “The Cookie Lady” is written in a distinct style. The author Philip K. Dick writes clearly and lucidly and is a master of realistic dialogues. The author follows a cool, chilling sensible style to represent horrifying alienation in a way that makes the reader feel sympathetic at the end. The story narrates how a young boy at the touch of a strange old lady has been deprived of all youthfulness and reducing into a trash being blown by the winds.

The old lady transform into a young lady quite unremorsefully about her misdeeds. The story ends with a brief conversation between the parents of the boys and their failure to recognise their own child-who was the victim of enploitation, selfishness and greed.

The Cookie Lady Plot Of The Story

Bernard Surie Bubber had great craving for the cookies,that temptation forced him to visit a strange lady of his neighbourhood – Mrs. Drew

Bubber’s closeness and presence gives an exciting experience to the lady. Whereas, Bubber feels tired and exhausted after visiting her.

Bubber’s last meeting blows him off into a bundle of trash whereas Mrs. Drew grows young again after sucking youthhood from Bubber.

The plot of the story is linear and mentioned in a chronological order. It centres round a young boy’s craving for the cookies which his parents have denied him. Unable to control his temptation the young boy visits a strange old lady of his neighbourhood, who bakes delicious cookies for him filled with nuts and raisins. The story at first presents a grandmotherly affection for young kids but slowly the twist in the story appears.

Her desolate shabby house with old rocking chair and dry weeds garden in front of the house prepares the ground for abnormal tidings to come. The interaction of the boy with that old lady creates conflict in the story. We find the lady having feeling of youngness in the lad’s company. On the other side the lad is feeling exhausted and extreme tired. The end portion of the story brings the conflict where we witness the strange old lady, in a magical, conjouring manner gets transformed into her youth – a lady of thirty.

But what happens to the young chubby lad Bubber-give the reader a sheer shock. They lady using cookies as her bait, steals youth from Bubber transforming him into a bundle of debris blown by the strong winds. The reader’s mind is filled with chill terror and is left dazed and perplexed lost in the world of fantasy and imagination where anything is possible.

The Cookie Lady Annotations and Vocabulary

shabby — dull looking
sagging — bulging
rickety — weak, not very strongly made or maintained
thudding — beating heavily
plop — fall
at random — with rational thinking or deciding in advance
wobbling — moving from side to side and not very steady
droned on — spoke for a long time in dull voice without creating any interest
cookies — baked biscuits like eatables.
fragile — thin, weak
wispy — slender or thin
melted — marked with spots of variant colours
plump — round and fat, healthy
tottered — moved unsteadily
listlessly — spiritlessly
hanging around — spending time aimlessly
banister — handrail of staircase
padded — walked quietly
anguish — distrust, great mental pain
monotonously — in a drab boring manner
pulsating — throbbing
pliant — pleable
throaty — rough and deep voice
sap — juice (used particularly in plants)
trudged — walked with heavy steps
screeched — shouted with an unpleasant sound
licking — whipping

Prism A Collection of ISC Short Stories Workbook Answers

Atithi (Guest) Summary, Theme, Critical Appreciation by Rabindranath Tagore

Atithi (Guest) Summary by Rabindranath Tagore

Atithi (Guest) Summary, Theme, Critical Appreciation by Rabindranath Tagore

Atithi (Guest) Summary

Tarapada, a Brahmin boy of about 14 or 15, was a wanderer by nature. To the despair of his family and villagers, he escaped from his home at regular intervals. He was a curious solivagant. He tried to learn or absorb almost everything he saw or heard. The blissful nature and people attracted him. He had no terminal destination. At times, he joined a theatre group and then a troupe of traveling minstrels, and then again, he found another.

One day, desiring to go to Nandigram, he wanted a lift from the owner of a boat. The owner of the boat was the zamindars of Kanthalia, a village in rural Bengal, who was travelling by boat to his village along with Annapurna, his wife, and Charushashi, his daughter. Looking at the fair complexioned, cherubic appearance of the boy, they readily accepted him in the boat.

Tarapada never knew when Nandigram came and passed by. He was busy with his interaction with the zamindars family, the boatmen and the amazing landscape. After ten days of journey by boat, they landed at Kanthalia, where Tarapada stayed at the house of Motilal babu as a “Guest”. His innocence and spontaneity cast a spell on everybody save and except Charushashi, the only daughter of Motilal babu. Tarapada was an eyesore for her.

She was envious and pugnacious about Tarapada. Actually, an interspersed feeling of love and hatred hovered around her. For her, Tarapada was a prized possession for whom she quarreled with Sonamoni her widow-friend, who called Tarapada “Dada” or rather, her brother.

Tarapada lived there for two full years and by then he tarned-seventeen, thus stepping into his adolescence. Charushashi too, turned eleven, duly transformed from a kid to a girl. Cupid was ready with his arrow and the girl was without the knowledge that her father had arranged her marriage secretly with Tarapada.

The day before the wedding night, the monsoon clouds thundered. The first rain of the season filled the nature. And at that hour, a lonely Tarapada found an Opera Band sailing across the village by boats. Their faint harmonies stroked the village. Tarapada, the wanderer, disappeared again snapping all the bonds of love, comfort and belongings at Kanthalia.

Tagore’s “The Guest” (ATITHI) is one of those unforgettable gems from the mines of short stories the world over. In it, Tarapada, a boy of fourteen or fifteen an epitome of innocence with large eyes and pleasant looks, a habitual escapist from home for the bounties of nature and a wanderer, was always curious about a thing here and another there. He could not be held captive to the homely comforts and human bonding.

He travelled with a Gymnastic group, then a theatre group and then again with a group of travelling minstrels and still his wander thirst never let him go back to the comfort and security of home. May be he ran away from this place to that because he thought it was a means to escape from his known world a mundane commonality, that did not serve him the way he had wanted. His attitude compels the reader to remember Gerald Gould, the great poet.

“Beyond the East the sunrise, beyond
The West the sea,
And East and West the wander-thirst
that will not let me be;
it works in me like madness, dear, to bid
me say good-bye;
For the seas call, and the stars call, and
Oh! the call of the sky!”
And again,
“And come I may, but go I must, and, if
men ask you why,
You may blame the stars and the sun
and the white road and the sky.”

So was our Tarapada who couldn’t be blamed! Motilal babu and his wife’s parental love, Charushashi’s subdued love, love of his family, villagers nothing could bind him to a home for ever at Kanthalia a village in rural Bengal Hence, he again floated on with some concert party to Kurulkata from Kanthalia, where an annual fair was due. The theme is unique!

Atithi (Guest) About the Author Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. Debendranath Tagore was a great exponent of Brahmo Samaj, a new socio-religious Order in 19th century Bengal, whose contribution to Bengal Renaissance is remarkable.

Rabindranath was educated at home; and although he was sent to England at the age of seventeen for formal schooling, he did not finish his studies there. In his mature years, in addition to his multifaceted literary activities, he managed the family estates, which brought him close to commoners and increased his interest in educational and social reforms.

He founded the Shantiniketan as a model, school for ASHRAMIC EDUCATION in an open-air environment. From time to time he participated in the Indian National Movement which was reflected in his miscellaneous poems and songs. It was he who wrote the Indian National Anthem.

Mahatma Gandhi was one of his closest friends. Tagore was honoured by the British Government with a Knighthood in 1915, but as a mark of protest against Jalianwalabag massacre of Indians by General O’ Diar, he gave up the title.

Tagore had friends across the world and they admired him for his literary and philosophical excellence. He wrote throughout his life and the volume of his literary works is enormous. Among his best known poems we have Manashi (1890), Sonar Tori (1894), Gitanjali (1914) etc.

His present story, THE GUEST (ATITHI) is taken from Galpoguccha, a collection of short stories. He was awarded the Nobel Prize (1913) for “Gitanjali” (1912, published in London). He also wrote a number of plays, short stories, novels, essays and almost walked into every literary genre.

Atithi (Guest) Critical Appreciation

Tagore is a master story-teller. His short story, “The Guest” (Atithi) is one of those world class short stories where everything has been portrayed with the finesse of an artistic perfection. The locales, characters, landscapes, journeys, emotions – all are so flawlessly blended that it is absolutely difficult to find something odd or unmatched.

Consider Tarapada, a boy of fourteen or fifteen with large eyes, fair complexion and a cherubic innocence that immediately attracts everybody and everybody feels like loving him. But his sojourns to transitory destinations one after another, and then snapping all bonds of love and domesticity all on a sudden, stealthily; shock us.

But then, he was a solivagant! Tagore’s imaginative faculty made his characters virtually so realistic that the readers would be compelled to suspend their disbelief that the characters belonged to a short story only and were not from real life. Primarily, the story revolves round human bonding and the pangs of separation when such bonding is snapped suddenly.

Attachment to family, friends, neighbours, relatives, and nativity are extremely important factors for human society. One cannot elicit sympathy or love from others when estranged voluntarily, perpetually or at regular intervals, from this bonding. One must realize the pangs of separation and pain when one escapes surreptitiously from his loved ones; even those who loved such solivagant just for two years.

Still, one may dislike Tarapada for his habitual escapades, but not despise him! The setting is unique to suit the purpose. However, Tagore’s imaginative faculty was not unleashed. It was always disciplined with a brevity of expression – the essence of a short story. One may call this short story ‘a lyric in prose’!

Atithi (Guest) Characters


Tarapada, the central character in Tagore’s short story, “The Guest” (Atithi), was from a family of five brothers and three sisters. His father was dead, but mother was still alive. All of them loved him dearly and so did the villagers. He had no valid reasons to run away from home at regular intervals. But still, it had become his habitual obedience to escape from his loved ones and the comfort of home.

His cherubic innocence, large eyes, fair complexion and easy going habit charmed the zamindar family of Kanthalia in whose boat Tarapada boarded to go to Nandigram. During the journey, he helped the boatmen in their cooking, did his bit with the oarsmen, sang songs for the Zamindar family, swam into the river and thus interwove himself with everything around.

He had no terminal destination to go. He was supposed to go to Nandigram, but very soon his mind was lost in the beautiful landscapes on either side of the river, and he never noticed when Nandigram came and passed by. However, his sojourn at Kanthalia didn’t make much of a difference, simply because there too his stay was transitory.

He had an inborn urge to break away from all human bonding, but that was not known to Motilal babu and his wife in whose home Tarapada stayed afterwards as their ‘Guest’! That was why he had joined a theatre group, and then left it for a travelling group of minstrels and then, again a gynamnast group, and now to Kanthai18 from where he would flee to Kurulkata. His transitory destinations seemed to have no end.

He was a quick learner of things and an absorber of human minds. As he had no attachment or involvement, he had no feeling of guilt or remorse for either the people or the places he had been leaving after his brief stay. His cherubic innocence thus had a heartless or rather a cruel side which he failed to realize. He moved like boundless wind without caring for anything. He always roamed because perhaps he thought,

“beyond the East the sunrise, beyond the West the sea,
and East and West the Wander – thirst that will not let me be;
It works in me like madness, dear, to bid me say good bye;
for the seas call, and the stars call, and oh! the call of the sky”

Gerald Gould:

The poet expressed Tarapada’s character with brevity and condensation without perhaps reading Tagore’s “TheGuest’! Tarapada was a solivagant. Food for his hunger was secondary. His sojourns at transitory destinations needed no company but some means of transportation to reach to newer places just as to refresh his large eyes with newer people, places and marvels. It is difficult for the reader to grossly define Tarapada as a selfish boy.

He had his tender feelings for the people around till his sojourn at a place as a “Guest” was over. And then, with his departure, he forgot everything. Still the reader shall love Tarapada. We may conclude saying,
“It is good to have an end, to journey forward,
But it is the journey that matters in the end”!

Earnest Hemingway:

An author seems to be a potter who creates his characters by every turn of his creative wheel. So is Tarapada, created by Tagore!


Charushashi was the only daughter of Motilal babu, the zamindar of Kanthalia, and Annapurna, his wife. Naturally therefore, she grew up with her parents’ singularity of attention, care and love. Her happy, tranquil state of mind was disturbed and imbalanced with Tarapada’s intervention. His cherubic innocence and easy way of interweaving himself with people and situation won the hearts of the zamindar’s family and they endeared Tarapada much like their own son.

The more Tarapada was endeared by Charushashi’s parents, the more she became raucous, impulsive, rude and pugnacious. But she furtively watched and enjoyed Tarapada’s swimming in the river. His physical movements attracted her. She was only a nine year old girl and was hardly endowed with the sensuality of a young woman who might rejoice at the sight of the bare body of a young boy while swimming. But she liked the sight. For Tarapada, she was a riddle. She developed an imposed antipathy for Tarapada.

But Tarapada never knew that she had Tarapada in a secret vault of her heart as a prized possession about whom she wanted to tell Sonamoni, her childhood friend. But the moment she learned that Sonamoni already knew about Tarapada and he was no surprise for her, she flared up in an envious rage, quarreled with Sonamoni, got into Tarapada’ room, broke his flute into pieces on stamping upon it.

Like Tarapada, Charushashi also wanted to learn English. And what she actually did was to make a mess of Tarapada’s reading materials. Tarapada bore all her mischief patiently and when things became almost unbearable, he beat her a little. Sometimes she spilled ink upon his exercise book, tore off pages from the text books or stole his pen. At times, Tarapa didn’t react to these pranks and then Charu begged for apology, when Tarapada burst into laughter amongst Charushashi’s anger and embarrassment.

Two years passed and she turned eleven whereas Tarapada turned seventeen. A proposal for marriage came for Charushashi, but she refused to appear before the bridegroom party on the scheduled date of their visit, because by then, she had started loving Tarapada. Cupid had shot his arrow.

Without Tarapada, Charushashi’s character cannot be unfolded. If Tarapada was a parallel, Charu was the contrast. What Charu wanted, was an exclusive right over Tarapada. For her, Tarapada was as precious a gem as to be hidden from the world. She would only exhibit him at her free will whenever she felt like doing so. She was the only daughter of her parents and therefore, had painted her world of imaginary vision of getting all that she could lay her hands on. But still, she didn’t get Tarapada, the perpetual wanderer.

Atithi (Guest) Title of the Story

In Tagore’s short story, “The Guest” (Atithi), Tarapada, a Brahmin boy of fourteen or fifteen, wanted a boat-ride in a Kanthalia bound boat owned by the zamindar of Kanthalia, a village in rural Bengal. His fair complexion, cherubic innocence, and large eyes were so appealing that the zamindar family welcomed him to the boat. But it was Charushashi, the only daughter of the zamindars who did not befriend Tarapada and remained ever envious.

Tarapada’s transitory destination was a sojourn at Nandigram, but he never knew when Nandigram was left far behind as he was amazed with the landscape on either side of the river and got busy in interacting with the zamindar family and the boatmen. Finally, after ten days of journey by boat, the zamindars family landed at Kanthalia and so did Tarapada.

Of course,it hardly made any difference for Tarapada. He was a transitory guest everywhere. On reaching Kanthalia,Tarapada quickly got down from the boat, made a quick survey of the village and its inhabitants and familiarized with them with his natural ease in no time.

He sang songs, played the flute and still, everybody but Charushashj was pleased. When Tarapada stepped on the boat of Motilal babu, the zamindar of Kanthalia, he was fourteen or fifteen and Charushashj, nine. Since then, Tarapada passed there two years as the family’s “Guest” and almost became a member of the family. His relation with Charushashi didn’t change much save and except that Charushashi considered him as a priceless gem and an exclusive property for her to display him to people when and whom she felt like.

Abounded by parental love of the zamindar and his wife, sisterly love of Sonamonj, a close friend of Carushashi, Tarapada grew to be seventeen and touched his adolescence. Charushash also grew to be eleven. The zamindar family decided to marry their daughter to Tarapada. Accordingly, his family was invited to Kanthalia for the marriage ceremony.

Just before the date of marriage, a concert party from Calcutta was travelling to Kurulkata, a village far away by boat. It was a monsoon night. The village was enveloped in darkness. And Tarapada, following the ‘protocol’ of a “Guest”, left Kanthalia for Kurulkata in the accompaniment of those musicians for another transitory destination.
That too, must be as a “GUEST’!
The title thus is perfect.

Atithi (Guest) Setting

Setting “in The Guest” (Atithi) is as important as Tarapada, the central character in the short story. Bengal being a riverine state, movement for a solivagant was best possible by boats or barges across the rivers and rivulets to histransitory destinations. Therefore, rivers and boats formed an integral part of the setting.

Since Tarapada’s wander thirst- as evident from the short story, was that of a curious boy roaming around the rural setting, locales and events, and always learning and absorbing whatever attracted him villagers, fairs, musicians, actors, gymnasts and other rural events, those played important roles in the Setting.

Since running away from the domesticity of Kanthalia as a guest of Motilal babu and his family after two years of close involvement, especially when everybody was awake, was not possible for Tarapada, Tagore created a monsoon night when everybody at Kanthalia was asleep, a cloud made the village darker, helping Tarapada escape again stealthily with a fleet of boats carrying commodities and some concert party for a village fair at Kurulkata, a far away village.

Atithi (Guest) Annotations and Vocabulary

Obstinate — Stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion
Spared him the rod — Didn’t beat him with a stick
Reproached — Expressed disapproval of
Inborn urge — Born with earnestness
Vendor — A person or company offering for sale
Accompaniment — A musical part that supports or partners an instrument
Landscape — All the visible features of an area of land
Rowing — Propelling a boat by oars
Spontaneously — Impulsive result without premeditation
Keenness — The quality of being eager or enthusiastic
Indifferent — Having no particular interest or sympathy
Uncluttered — Not having impeded by many objects
Envy — Jealousy
Resentment — Bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly
Claimant — A person making a claim
Whimsical — Playfully quaint or fanciful
Tantrums — Uncontrolled outburst of anger or frustration
Fancy — Elaborate in structure or decoration
Antipathy — A deep-seated feeling of aversion
Racket — A loud, unpleasant noise
Intrigued — Aroused the curiosity
Surreptitiously — Secretively
Fervour — Intense and passionate feeling
Interaction — Reciprocal action
Sulked — Be silent, morose, and lid-tempered out of annoyance
Hovered — Remain in one place in the air
Swollen — Inflated, as a result of accumulation of fluid
Cymbals — A musical instrument consisting of a slightly concave, round brass plate which is struck against each other with a stick

Prism A Collection of ISC Short Stories Workbook Answers