Jayanto, who works in the editorial section of a newspaper, is the protagonist of the short story “Fritz” by Satyajit Ray. He is depicted here as a sensitive man who cares a lot about his past memories.
The story opens with the narrator asking his friend Jayanto —
Are you well? You seem to be in low spirits today.
The very first sentence throws a hint at Jayanto’s character. He is a man with a sensitive soul. Memories tend to haunt him most of the time. His decision to visit Bundi rather than the famous places like Chittor, Jaipur or Udaipur was due to his childhood memories of the place which he had thirty-one years before. He just wanted to compare modern Bundi with the image he had in his mind.
Jayanto’s “low spirits” on the day they reached Bundi is indicative of his depression and the nostalgic feelings that overcomes him. Most of the time, he remained quiet and was lost in thought. The memories of his childhood doll named ‘Fritz’ which was destroyed by two stray dogs haunted him very much and made him emotional.
We also come to know that the doll was not just a doll to him, but he was very much attached with it. He treated it like a human being. He used to talk to ‘him’ for hours and buried it as if a real human being had died. So much attachment to the doll made him anxious even after so many years. About this emotional behaviour of Jayanto, the narrator says —
Jayanto was certainly more emotional than most people. Everyone knew that.
This kind of emotional development might be a result of his being loved and pampered so much as a single child of the family, and also because of the
My parents did warn me not to overdo things, but I listened to no one.
Jayanto’s affection for and attachment to Fritz shows that he had a loving and caring heart.
Again, Jayanto was a man of strong senses. When at night some strange creature walked over him, he was sure that it had two feet, and not four.
Another character trait of Jayanto is that he was low on confidence. When Shankar suggested the digging, he was rather concerned with irrelevant things like “who will do the digging?” and showed his unwillingness at first.
To conclude, in the story, the author actually presents only a one-sided view of Jayanto’s character, as we see him in a specific situation which is different from his day-to-day life. That is why he seems to be more vulnerable than he perhaps actually is. However, the author has done well to draw very vividly the character of the protagonist in the specific set up created for it.