Give a character sketch of the protagonist Sher Singh in the story “Journey by Night” by Norah Burke.
Or, How can we describe Sher Singh and what words can we use to describe the character and nature of Sher Singh?
In Norah Burke’s story Journey by Night the character of Sher Singh has been an embodiment of human courage and the power of Will. The story is undoubtedly all about him and it is well justified that the story starts with his name in capital letters. The boy was “twelve years old, brown and cheerful, a child of the jungle”.
As his little brother Kunwar lay in the hut with pain in the stomach, he himself was “feeling ill inside him because of his brother”. He also offered his help and extended support every way he could.
I will get the sticks for the fire. And the dung. I will get the water. Let me tear up the rag.
Then he ran for these things and helped his mother in her efforts to reduce the pain of the child. What all these show is Sher Singh’s love for his brother, for his family — the fellow feeling was very strong. This was also evident when he brought water for his brother to drink on the way to the hospital.
Sher Singh, though a boy of twelve look more mature than his age. We see him take the decision himself and set off for the hospital at Kalaghat fifty miles away.
‘There are no men in the village’, he said. ‘I will take him.’
Thirdly, we never see Sher Singh feel irritated or angry in spite of the hard time he was undergoing. Rather the boy’s faith in God and thankfulness are expressed in his continued prayer to make his journey successful.
Prayer after prayer fled up like birds from his frightened spirit.
Sher Singh breathed one more prayer, of thanks this time, and made ready to move at once.
Thank goodness there was a bridge at the second river, he thought, seeing it already as his spirit strove faster than his body.
Sher Singh’s common sense and the presence of mind are also unmistakable. When he was crossing the river, he made it sure to keep his brother’s head above water. Almost everything he did on his way from facing fearful animals to crossing the river says it all.
Last but no the least, the courage and mental toughness Sher Singh displayed in timely reaching the hospital and saving his brother’s life make him a great man, even at twelve. The story ‘Journey by Night’ has been a tale of the triumph of human courage and determination. He has inherited the nature of his father, Sher Singh Bahadur. The author calls him “the son of his father” and the doctor at the hospital calls him “Sher Singh Bahadur”.
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