A Face in the Dark

A Face in the Dark

by Ruskin Bond

Comment on the supernatural elements in “Face in the Dark”.

QuestionsComment on the supernatural elements in “Face in the Dark”.
Sharmeen Danial asked 3 years ago

A Face in the Dark by Ruskin Bond deals with paranormal. Discuss.

Or, Assess the story “A Face in the Dark” as a supernatural story.

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1 Answers
Jayanta Kumar Maity Staff answered 2 years ago

Ruskin Bond is a masterful artist of paranormal in his literature. In the short story “A Face in the Dark”, he has used all the elements of a horror story — fear, surprise, suspense and mystery to explore humanity’s collective fascination with the dark. Set in Simla, Himachal Pradesh, the story is about an uncanny experience of Mr. Oliver, a teacher in an English public school, who stumbles upon a boy and then a watchman, both of whom have no eyes, no ears, no nose and no mouth.

So, understandably the plot of the story is all about coming across paranormal figures, as it should be in a ghost story or horror story. But only the theme or main storyline doesn’t make it a great supernatural story. It is, indeed, all about creating the perfect setting and atmosphere for a supernatural story that makes it a masterpiece. And Bond has done that to perfection in this case. In fact, the author has been able to do all this keeping the story concise.

Mr. Oliver returning after dark, the strong wind, the sad eerie sounds made by the pine trees, the narrow forest path, the flickering light of the torch, figure of a boy sitting alone on a rock, the strange soundless weeping, the torch falling from Oliver’s shaking hands, lantern swinging in the middle of the path, the wind blowing out the lamp — all these contribute to creating an atmosphere of fear, suspense and mystery in the story. Even the title of the story evokes suspense in the readers’ minds. With his masterful narrative and other techniques the author has made an ordinary event look extraordinary. In its theme and setting “A Face in the Dark” is a gem of a supernatural story, no doubt.

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