Summary of Dusk by Saki

Norman Gortsby considered dusk to some degree uniquely in contrast to other people. To him, dusk was a period when defeatists throughout everyday life, embarrassed to confront the world amid the daytime, turn out from disguise. These washouts at dusk seem foggy and most likely won’t be perceived by snoops.

Sitting on a seat in Hyde Park on a March evening, Norman Gortsby was taking a gander at frustrated individuals stroll all over with worn out dresses and stooped shoulders. Close him sat an elderly person with a feeble insolent air. Instantly, the elderly person left and his place was taken by a young fellow

The young fellow was apparently in a dreadful sulk, and Gortsby asked him what was the reason behind his irritable temper. The young fellow said that his ordinary hotel had been destroyed to make the place for a film. Consequently, he had to remain at a new lodging. As he didn’t care for the soap given by the hotel, he circumvented the city looking for a store to purchase soap.

He purchased the soap and regrettably, he discovered that he had forgotten the name and the location of his new hotel. Luckily, he had prior kept in touch with his people the location of the hotel and he was holding up to get notification from them. He could get the location of the hotel from them yet his letter would contact them just the following day. Since he exited the hotel with just the cash to get some soap and a drink, he was compelled to put in the night in the outside, as he had no partners in London.

Gortsby realised that the young fellow had recounted his strange story to make him advance him some cash. At the point when Gortsby asked him about the soap he had purchased, the young fellow couldn’t show him the soap and said that he may have lost it. The young fellow needed to leave without getting any cash from Gortsby. Taken off alone once more, Gortsby pondered the young fellow’s wail story. He believed that the buy of soap was the vital detail to make the young fellow’s story conceivable.

After some time, when Gortsby was going to leave, he found a recently purchased bundle of soap on the ground. He contemplated that it may have fallen out of the young fellow’s pocket as he sat down on the seat.

He rushed to locate the young fellow. When he found the young fellow he was sorry for questioning him and gave him the soap and in addition a little amount of cash. Gortsby likewise gave him his card and his location with the goal that the young fellow could return the cash later.

While Gortsby was returning home, he passed the seat he had been sitting. He saw the elderly man who had earlier sat with him searching for something. At the point when Gortsby asked the old person what he was searching for, he disclosed to Gortsby that he had lost a cake of soap and he was hunting down it.

Dusk | Character Sketch of Gortsby

Gortsby is judgemental and disturbing. He feels confused in his life and he doesn’t viably make up for it. He is baffled and doubtful. He has much to learn about human nature and reality. He is a critical observer of humanity. He views life as a fight. He is cunning from various perspectives and he was a poor choice for the trickster. He is a better than average group of onlookers. He is too over quick in settling on a choice about people, especially in the midst of a troublesome condition.

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He isn’t at all a man of diversion. He is just the individual who being sat after in the midst of the dusk time settles on a choice about others. By his direct, we come to understand that he considers himself a rationalist or a judge. He is confident, self- reliant and can take good care of himself. He exhibits his feedback and his set attitude resulting in listening hard fortunes stories. At certain occasions, his overconfidence discredited his correct answers. He is insightful, urbane and experienced. He is somewhat reactionary in his viewpoints.

Dusk| Themes of the Story

Dusk” is another of Saki’s darkly unexpected stories. The protagonist, Gortsby, spends the duration of the story watching individuals running about at dusk. He considers the greater part of the general population whom he looks as being vanquished and trusts that dusk speaks to the time of annihilation for people. The story includes third individual restricted perspective, so the greater part of the portrayal of Gortsby happens through Saki’s recording Gortsby’s considerations. The character has a pessimistic perspective of the human state and has encountered some sort of thrashing of his own- – Saki never subtle elements what that disappointment is on Gortsby’s part; he just writes that it’s anything but a money-related disappointment.

The principal bystander whom Gortsby watches is a more established man who appears to be blue and hesitant to go home. The hero conceives that he probably gets no regard at home or that he goes home to a place that he can scarcely bear to keep. Soon after Gortsby’s perception starts, ‍‍‍‍‍ the elderly person gets up and leaves.

The second “unfortunate casualty” of Gortsby’s pessimism is a young fellow who is preferable dressed over the first and who makes a show of being extremely disturbed. Gortsby starts a discussion, and the young fellow reveals to him that he has forgotten the name of the hotel at which he should remain and that he has no money with him. He left his hotel space to get a bar of soap and a drink and now can’t discover his way back to his hotel. Gortsby is suspicious about the young fellow’s respectability and notices that he has a decent story yet that he neglected to create evidence of his scrape – a bar of soap. The young fellow understands that his con has fizzled and escapes the scene.
Gortsby plans to kick back and boast over his astute judgment of human instinct when he detects a wrapped bar of soap close to the recreation centre seat. He feels that he has misconceived the young fellow, runs after him, apologizes for distrusting him, and gives him money. Gortsby strolls back to his seat, somewhat chagrined. Minutes after the fact, the main elderly person comes back to the seat and discloses to Gortsby that he is searching for his bar of soap.

Saki unexpectedly leaves the reader with the exercise that one should not be excessively positive about his or her perspective of the human character.
In the story Dusk by Saki, the cake of soap has the principle influence as the young fellow informed that he forgot his address to lodging and after that lost the bar of soap, so Gortsby provided him with the cake of soap he found under the table. Yet, after the young fellow returned he saw the elderly person looking something. On asking he informed that he lost a cake of soap. Gortsby currently comes to realize that he was tricked by the young fellow.


1. What was the atmosphere at Hyde Park?
Ans: The whole atmosphere at Hyde Park was full of sadness (dusky). It was an early March evening at around 6:30 and there was not completely dark due to moonlight and street lamps. Though there was an emptiness over road and sidewalk, even some people were moving here and there while others were sitting on the benches and chairs in the Park. Their faces were hardly visible in the twilight. According to Gortsby, it was the time of dejected and disappointed people who would come to such a place to enjoy their solitariness.

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2. Do the atmosphere and the mood at the Park justify the title of the story?

Ans: Yes, the atmosphere and the mood of the park justify the title of the story. Gortsby, the protagonist of the story, defines dusk as “the hour of the defeated.” He has appropriately portrayed the atmosphere of the story by using words like March evening, dusk, wide emptiness, half-light, gloom etc. The mood has been harmonised by comparing it to the hour of dejected. Thus, dusk is not only on the physical level but on the mental and spiritual levels as well. Fallen fortunes, dead hopes, bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes of the dejected and disappointed people present in the park. They are those who have reached the dusk (last stage) of their life. That is why these unfortunate people come to the Park in the bat-fashion which means like bats who come out only at dusk and not during the day time.

3. Draw a profile of the person who first sat near Gortsby on the bench?

Ans: It was an elderly gentleman who first sat near Gortsby on the bench. The man seemed to have lost interest in life. He looked dejected and disappointed but refused to admit this fact. He was not wearing entirely shabby clothes but one could not call them fine too. Even his physical appearance did not seem deceptive. It seemed that no one cared him; perhaps he was in the dusk of his life.

4. What, according to Gortsby, was the weak point of the young man‟s story?

Ans: The young man was thought to be a stranger in the town who had left his hotel to buy a cake of soap. It was the man who had forgotten the name of his hotel and the street where it was in. It was said that he had only a shilling in his pocket which he spent on buying the soap and having some drink for himself. According to Gortsby, the weak point of young man’s story was that he could produce the cake of soap when he was asked to show it and it was the only thing in the whole story which could make anyone believe his story but the young man pretended that he had lost it somewhere. Gortsby thought that the young man believed to be very intelligent but his inability to produce the cake of soap showed his weak point.

5. While walking back to his seat in the Park, What did Gortsby see?

Ans: While walking back to his seat in the Park, Gortsby saw an elderly gentleman who seemed to be searching for something. He was pocking and peering under the bench and on all its sides. It was recognized the same old man who had been sitting by his side on the bench that March evening.

6. How did Norman Gortsby feel when he realized he had been fooled?

Ans: We have not been told in the story anywhere how Gortsby felt when he realized that he had been fooled. We can‟t say that he had been fooled but it is the weak point in the young man‟s story which made Gortsby fool himself. We can say it could be a lesson to him as well as we people not to be too clever in judging by circumstances.

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7. What did Gortsby imaging about the people who visited the Hyde Park?

Ans: Dusk for Gortsby was the hour of the defeated. About the people who visited Hyde Park, Gortsby imagined that they had been defeated in their life. They were dejected and disappointed men and women who fought and lost. Their fortunes had fallen and their hopes were dead. They came to the Park in their shabby clothes with bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes at the hour of dusk in a bat like fashion in order to remain unnoticed and unrecognized.

8. What is irony? Bring out some elements of irony in the story?

Ans: Irony is a figure of speech which consists of a statement that appears to be praise but in real condemnation. In other words, it can be a statement which is against the expectation. It is a literary technique which has been used by Saki in his story „Dusk‟. At first, when the young man remarks with a curse “You would‟t be in a good temper if you were in the fix I am in.” Which results immediately Gortsby‟s reaction who seems in a fix instead of the young man. Secondly, when the same young man speaks impressively. “I suppose you think I have spun you rather an impossible yarn”, but later the same false story becomes possible by the circumstances which are an irony. One more irony in the story is that Gortsby convinced himself that it is a lesson to him not to be too clever in judging by circumstances and ultimately falls prey to his own statement.

9. What is “juxtaposition”? Has Saki been able to juxtapose humour and pathos in “Dusk”?

Ans: Juxtaposition means a combination or putting things together to show contrast or comparison. In literature, it occurs whenever two or more events or characters are combined so that one could be able to compare or contrast them in a better way. In the story, “Dusk” Saki has juxtaposed humour and pathos in a very subtle manner. We see pathos in the description of people who have fallen fortunes and whose hopes are dead. There is pathos in the description of the elderly gentleman to whose piping no one dances. The left of the same elderly gentleman who seemed to have lost interest in his life and coming in of the young man with a cheerful face and fairly dressed is an example of juxtaposition.


Do you approve the behaviour and approach of Gortsby in the story? Explain.
Ans: Gortsby‟s behaviour and approach in the story are quite natural. He seems to measure or judge things in the context of the circumstances and feels confident and sure of arriving at the solution. He feels to have sympathy for those men and women whose hopes are dead and fortunes have fallen. He also proves himself a good judge of human character and tries to save himself from being cheated. Though it is a weak point of young man‟s story that he cannot prove the cake of soap which makes Gortsby fool himself it is must have been a lesson to him not to be too clever in judging by circumstances. He believes himself to be very intelligent. But “Dusk” for him is the hour of the defeated and dejected people as it is Gortsby and not the young man who is embarrassed/ cheated at the end of the story. We must say that it is none of Gortsby’s fault that he is cheated but he falls only pray to the irony of the event.

Read Also: Critical Analysis of Dusk

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