Malgudi Days

“‘My dear father: By the time you see this letter I shall be at the bottom of Sarayu. I don’t want to live. Don’t worry about me. You have other sons who are not such dunces as I am-‘”

Suicide is a serious topic which is somewhat glossed over because it is quickly brought up and then the story is over with. This short story highlights the fact that suicide can come out of nowhere with such strong feelings attached to it. At the end of some of the stories in this novel, there are “lessons” or important topics brought up, but the loose ends are not tied up, leaving the reader wanting more. (60)

R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days. (New York: Penguin Books.) 2006.

Septimus’s thoughts on tragedy

“It was their idea of tragedy, not his or Rezia’s (for she was with him).” (146).

In this sentence Septimus is about to kill himself by jumping out the window as Dr. Holmes was coming upstairs to see him. This is an interesting part of the book because up until a few pages before his suicide Septimus is portrayed as almost entirely insane. It is while helping design a hat moments before his suicide that he is said to be himself for the first time in a while. In the quote Septimus does not think that his suicide will be beautiful poetic or tragic. He believes that in killing himself he is giving everyone else what they want in the form of a tragic death thus him saying “I’ll give it to you!” (146)., right before jumping. This serves to show how his mind was not working properly as he is out of touch with the other characters believing that his death will serve them in a way that he could not in life.

Heart of Darkness

“Then he tried to imagine himself dead, and Carlier sitting in his chair watching him; and his attempt met with such unexpected success, that in a very few moments he became not at all sure of who was dead and who was alive. This extraordinary achievement of fancy startled him, however, and by a clever and timely effort of mind he saved himself just in time from becoming Carlier.”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002). 24.

Kayerts’ sense of confusion over who is dead and who isn’t anticipates his own death by suicide on the next page. Does Kayerts paradoxically save himself from “becoming” Carlier (now dead) by killing himself (dead)? By doing so, does he wash his hands of his complicity in the imperialistic process?