Life and hardship of people as seen in Journey by Night

QuestionsLife and hardship of people as seen in Journey by Night
bharat asked 10 months ago

What picture do you get from the story Journey by Night of the life and hardship of the people living in the vicinity of the forest? Support your answer with suitable example from the text.

1 Answers
Jayanta K Maity Staff answered 9 months ago

Norah Burke’s short story ‘Journey by Night’ depicts the hardship of life of them who live in the vicinity of forests. The story opens with a little boy having severe pain in his stomack. But there were apparently no remedy other than laying steaming clothes on the child’s belley. There was neither a hospital nor any doctor nearby. Even there were no men in the village to take him to the hospital at Kalaghat fifty miles away from the place Laldwani, where they lived.

No doubt, all the villagers there were left to the hands of fate whenever they had serious ailments. We come to know that There were other children in Sher Singh’s family but ‘they were dead, carried off by cholera and influenza and such, and by jungle accidents’.

When the little boy Kunwar was in pain, his elder brother Sher Singh, a twelve year old boy, wanted to run for his father, but his mother reminded that it would take him days to find him out. It reveals that the jungle was deep and there were no easy way for communication, not even roads. When Sher Singh was going to the hospital taking his brother on his back, he had to find ways through the woods and shrubs and cross two rivers that had no bridge over them.

In the jungle village, there were fierce animals. The villagers often lost lives in the hands of those. Even when Sher Singh was on his way to Kalaghat, he faced such dangers several times with his fate favouring him.

And most importantly, the life in jungle is hard for the lack of resources to live. There is a dearth of food and drinking water. The author mentions “His mother must stay behind to mind the cattle loads and work the land without which they would all starve;” The whole family lived by grazing animals and cultivating their bit of land.

Finally, the hardships of life in the forests has made the people mentally and physically strong to bear with every suffering, every loss and pain. The boys’ mother “did not smile. She did not weep. She had lived through everything over and over again”. And their father, Sher Singh Bahadur, had faught against tigers and survived snake bite by cutting and burning out the wound. That clearly shows their mental toughness — created by nature, by the situation they had been in. Even the twelve year old boy’s act of reaching the hospital with such difficulty says it all — his courage and toughness inherited from his father. That is why the doctor chose to address him as ‘Sher Singh Bahadur’.

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