In Ruskin Bond’s story “A Face in the Dark”, why was the school called “Eton of the East”?
Eton College is a prestigious independent English boarding school for boys in Berkshire, England, established in 1440 by King Henry VI. The school has educated 19 British prime ministers and generations of the aristocracy and is referred to as “the chief nurse of England’s statesmen” according to Wikipedia. The school reportedly charges some whopping 40,000 pounds per academic year per student. So, only students from the upper class could attend this school, at least in Bond’s time. (Nowadays they offer partial and full scholarships to many students though.)
Ruskin Bond in his story “A Face in the Dark” draws a comparison between the English public school at Simla, Himachal Pradesh, India where Mr. Oliver, the protagonist is a teacher and the famous Eton College in Britain. “The East” refers to the eastern part of the world, especially China, Japan and India while the West typically refers to Europe and North America. Here in the story, the school is called “Eton of the East” as it offers similar kinds of quality education for the boys from the upper class in the eastern part of the world. The boys wear blazers, ties and caps, as the author mentions. It is also a boarding school like the Eton College.