Comment on the theme and message of Ruskin Bond’s short story “A Face in the Dark”.
Ruskin Bond’s short story “A Face in the Dark” is a horror story that deals with humanity’s collective imagination with the dark and the paranormal. The protagonist of the story Mr. Oliver is an Anglo-Indian teacher in an English boarding school at Simla. One night on his way to school from Simla bazaar he meets two paranormal figures in the form of a boy and then a watchman both of whom had no eyes, ears, mouth or nose on their face. Then the story ends abruptly leaving the readers in the dark.
The author has created an eerie atmosphere right from the outset of the story to make an ordinary plot look extraordinary. The atmosphere of suspense, mystery and surprise along with the plot dealing with the paranormal makes it a great supernatural story.
Though apparently “A Face in the Dark” is just another horror story, a number of interpretations are out there. Some readers feel that the round smooth head may indicate lack of individuality among the students of that school, while others believe it could well be a figment of Mr. Oliver’s imagination or even a prank played by the students.