Why do you think the climax is thrilling in “A Face in the Dark”?

QuestionsWhy do you think the climax is thrilling in “A Face in the Dark”?
Sadhana’ asked 5 years ago

How does the story “A Face in the Dark” by Ruskin Bond end with a gripping climax?

Or, What is the climax of the story “A Face in the Dark”?

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1 Answers
Staff answered 5 years ago

In “A Face in the Dark”, Ruskin Bond ends the story when it reaches its climax. Climax is the most intense, exciting, or important point of something.

In the present story the protagonist Mr. Oliver is an Anglo-Indian teacher in an English public school at Simla, Himachal Pradesh. One evening he was returning to his school from the Simla bazaar all alone through a pine forest as he usually does. A supernatural atmosphere has been created in the form of a dark night where the pine trees were making an eerie sound with the high wind flowing through them. Mr. Oliver was carrying a torch but its batteries were running down. Oliver was walking down the narrow forest path when he encounters two paranormal figures in the form of a boy and a watchman both of whom had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth on their face.

When Mr. Oliver came across the boy sitting on a rock alone, it seemed quite natural and Oliver rather angrily asked him what he was doing there at that hour. But moments later, he sensed that there was something wrong as the boy was crying silently with his head hung down and face hidden by his hands. But the shock came when Oliver asked the boy to look up and the boy looked up at his teacher. Oliver was terrified to see that the boy had no features on his face.

It was just a round smooth head.

The narrator mentions this is where the story should have ended. And if it did, this point would have been the climax of the story. But no, the author had other ideas. He wanted to take the story to another height with even more intense and exciting events waiting for the readers.

The torch fell down from Oliver’s trembling hands and he started running in the direction of the school building calling for help. On the way he stumbled upon the watchman standing with his lantern swinging in the middle of the path. He wanted to know what had happened as Oliver was gasping. Mr. Oliver told him about the boy having no eyes, ears, nose or mouth on his face. Everything looked natural till this point and the readers would be relieved that Mr. Oliver has finally reached the human zone and found the watchman for good. But another shot of horror was waiting for Mr. Oliver moments after when the watchman raised the lamp to his own face and asked:

Do you mean it was like this, Sahib?

To utter surprise and horror Mr. Oliver saw that the watchman also had “no eyes, no ears, no features at all — not even eyebrows”. At this point, the wind blew the lamp out. The story ends here touching its climax — the most intense point of the story coming at the end.

  • This climax of the story is thrilling as the readers are left alone in that horrific moment, stranded without any explanation, without any idea what might have happened to Mr. Oliver seeing the watchman’s face. They keep guessing and trying to figure out what might be the actual fact — whether Mr. Oliver was really experiencing the paranormal situation, or it was a prank played on him or it was just a figment of his mind.
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