Quality by John Galsworthy | Summary and Questions

Quality by John Galsworthy |  Summary and Questions 1

Quality by John Galsworthy | Summary and Questions


Introduction: The Gesseler brothers were shoemakers of an uncommon pedigree. They made bespoke shoes for clients. Each pair of shoes they made bore the signs of their expertise, duty, and above all adherence to quality. Since they made their shoes by hand, they hardly made just enough to make a decent living.
Incomprehensibly, their staid workshop stood defiantly amidst the marvelousness and fabulousness of London’s high streets. Shoe stores here sold footwear that were mass created by machines and were presented to the market sponsored by gigantic promotion campaigns.

Gesseler Brothers had nothing to promote for sans their quality. They had no machines, no corporate façade, and no tendency to push their shoes through purposeful publicity. For them, each foot was unique, thus, every shoe must be handcrafted.

In today’s material world, the Gesselers were a nonconformist, a renegade with a lost provision, and craftsmen, whose thoughts ran counter to whatever cutting edge business colleges instructed. They had shoe-production aptitudes few could match, however, nobody wanted to copy. Such is the toll crash corporate greed assumes the world’s perishing supply of master craftsmen.

In the modern business world, where the main concern of an enterprise turns into the sole yardstick of progress, furor for quality is viewed as a dark trait, without any takers. Geseler Brothers cherished for their conviction and their responsibility. Towards the end, maybe they fell prey to their excellent commitment to the specialty of making fine shoes, but, who bothers? Such individuals are, without a doubt, God’s endowments to humanity, yet how tragic they die un-heard, un-respected, and uncelebrated!

Questions And Answers

Q1. How long had the narrator known Gessler brothers?
Ans. The narrator had known the Gessller brother from the days of his extreme youth. His age was nearly fourteen or so when the narrator was promoted to one of the Gessler Brothers.

Q2. “He would never have tolerated in his house leather ion which he had not worked himself”. This shows that shoemaker….
Ans. This shows that the shoemaker was a self- respecting man who was proud of his ability and talent to make exquisite shoes.

Q3. Pick out the sentences in the second paragraph which show that the Gesslers were excellent shoemakers.
Ans. The following sentences are clear evidence about Gesslers being excellent shoemakers :

i) ‘It seemed so inconceivable that what he made could ever have failed to fit’.

ii) ‘He would have never tolerated in his house leather on which he had not worked himself’.

iii) ‘The pair of pumps, so inexpressibly slim. The patent leather ……making water come into one’s mouth.

iv) ‘ those pairs could only be made by one who saw before him the soul of boots – so truly were they prototypes incarnating the very spirit of all footgear.

Q4. Making shoes was a work of art for Gesslers means :
Ans. It means that the Gessler brothers considered shoemaking an art and spent hours in producing shoes that were of the highest quality and of exquisite workmanship.

Q5. How did the narrator differentiate between the two brothers? Who was the more skilled of the two?
Ans. According to the narrator, the narrator would identify the Gessler brothers after the conversation is over. The elder brother would say “I’ll ask my brudder” whereas the younger brother would take a decision immediately. He would say “Come tomorrow fortnight”.
Among these two, the younger brother was more skilled.

Q6. Why does the narrator compare the atmosphere of the shop to that of a church?
Ans. the narrator compares the shop’s atmosphere to that of a church to highlight sincerity and the job culture coupled with the utmost dedication to which Mr. Gessler was married as a shoemaker. His shop was the church where he served his clients without any selfish intentions.

Q7. The narrator says that the boots ‘lasted terribly’. Is it a compliment or criticism’? Explain.
Ans. The narrator says that the boots ‘lasted terribly’. It is a definite compliment. The narrator actually praises the quality of boots. This line clearly brings out the durability of the shoes made by Mr. Gessler.

Q8. “…… and I would continue to rest in the wooden ……..” why did the narrator have to rest in the chair? What was the incense of his trade?

Ans. The narrator had to rest in the chair because he had no choice to go to the shop as one usually goes to other shops in a mood of “please serve me and let me go” the narrator had to enter the shop as one enters a church and sit on the single wooden chair and wait for there was never anybody in the shop. The narrator is referring to the smell of leather as the incense of Mr. Gessler’s trade.

Q9. On one occasion the shoemaker offered to take back the narrator’s shoe. Why did he do so?
Ans. The narrator told Gessler that the pair of town walking boots creaked. The shoemaker said that they shouldn’t have done so. He, however, offered to take them back if he could do nothing to them because he thought it to be a reflection on his professional skill.

Q10. ‘Dose big firms’ are no self-respect. Who said this? Who were the big firms ……,
Ans. This statement was spoken by Mr. Gessler, a shoe-maker who produced excellent and exquisite shoes with devotion and diligence and the big ‘firms’ he was referring to were the big firms or factories which made shoe-making industry and with whom quality and customer satisfaction mattered much less. He spoke such word to expose the self-ulterior motives of those industrialists with whom monetary profits meant more than their self-respect and customer’s comfort.

Q11. What were the changes that the narrator observed when he visited the shoemaker’s shop after two years? Why had he not visited him for such a long time?
Ans. The narrator observed that outside one of the two small windows of Gessler’s shop another name was painted, also that of a bootmaker. The old pair of boots was huddled in the single window. Inside it was then a well contracted and even darker than ever. The narrator had not visited the shoemaker’s shop for a few years due to the fact that the shoes were made lasted longer than ever.

Q12. Why did the narrator order three pairs of shoes when he wanted only two?
Ans. The narrator actually wanted only two pairs of shoes but ordered three after he came to realize that the shoemaker had lost half of his store because his company was getting too different to carry on. He felt compassion for the condition of the Gessler brothers.

Q13. Why was the narrator shocked to receive the bill for his shoes?
Ans. The narrator was shocked to receive it for the time along with the parcel of shoes that was quite unusual for Gesslers wouldn’t send it until the quarter day.

Q14. What were the reasons that led to the death of the younger of the Gessler Brothers?
Ans. Gessler’s younger brothers were unable to cope with the pressures of his decreasing business and economic limitations and eventually died of slow hunger.

Q15. Why did the Gessler brothers lose customers even though they made the best shoes in town?
Ans. The Gessler brothers made the best shoes in the town despite the loss of customers. It was due to industrialization that made people resort to prompt services rather than the quality and durability of the product. As Gesslers would not compromise on quality and make shoes with a devotion that naturally required time and the seekers of prompt services stopped buying shoes from them.


Discussion Questions

Q. Discuss the appropriateness of the title of the story ‘Quality’.
Ans. The title of the story ‘Quality’ is an apt one, since this story centers around an eccentric craftsman’s extreme devotion to ‘quality’. Gessler brothers sustained in this treacherously material world since they were driven by their commitment to quality. Yet, the artisan could not endure and probably passed away due to poverty and destitution. His art devoured him. It sounds painful that an ace artisan of such expertise died so miserable a death. Had the world been more touchy to the prevalence of quality, the two brothers would have earned name and fame. Unfortunately, the world didn’t take a gander at them.

The story ‘Quality’ by John Galsworthy leaves us miserable after we go through it. It sears our inner voice since it portrays the defeat of an honorable trait of people – to struggle for perfection in whatever they do. This noble trait is ‘Quality’, a sister of ‘Creativity and imagination’.
The Gessler Brothers were Germans. As a race, Germans exceed practically all different races with regards to ‘quality’. The two brothers prepared shoes, a standout amongst the most ordinary of human possession. They earned their living making bespoke shoes of the most astounding craftsmanship. They scarcely scratched a living from their everyday job, except in the hearts of the clients they carved an imprint for themselves.

Need, hard manual work and shame stalked them at each step, but they were undeterred. It is this particular dedication to quality that brought them thankfulness from their bunch of buyers. In any case, declining to adopt present-day strategies for shoe-production, they trudged on in the quest for quality. This energy brought them to fate, and one of the brothers passed away. One can say that the quest for ‘quality’ to an unreasonable dimension brought them long lasting hopelessness.

It’s a powerful story of how commercial greed throttled the German brothers’ promise for an average life. Vanquished and dejected, they adhered to their adoration to make an ideal pair of shoes. How tragic! Quality killed an ace craftsman. The irony breaks us.

After we wrap up the story, we locate no other title for the story, more well-suited than ‘Quality’. It is at the focal point of the story, and it is its essence. However, other titles like, ‘A German Shoemaker’s solitary expertise’, or ‘The Appalling End to an Ace Shoemaker’ can likewise be considered appropriate titles for the story.

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