Saturday, December 20, 2014

Critical Appreciation of Ruskin Bond’s "The Eyes Have It" : Theme of Self conscience and Blindness



 "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
King James Bible 
Matthew 15:14

The long-popular The Eyes Have It of Ruskin Bond is an engaging story told from the perspective of a blind person. The Eyes Have It's experiences lead him through a diverse series of encounters and bring him into contact with many inner characters within himself, including other blind people with stories of their own to tell. Bond uses The Eyes Have It's story to explore his theme of self conscience. He shows the positive results of kind treatment, while satirizing the escapist attitude in us. Bond believed that blind bonds were a societal problem that could not be ignored, a problem that was often caused by ignorance and curse, as well as intentional abuse. The lines between dream and reality are clearly drawn, and this fable is intended to leave the reader with a strong moral lesson that it is better to be a real person than an imagined one. The blinds are mistreated through no fault of their own by uncaring or insensitive people. Read More Short Stories In Bond's story the world is cruel because it is inhabited by corrupted people, who have the power to reform, if they wish.

Written during a major period of growth in the movement for humane treatment of physically challenged people, The Eyes Have It became the work that represented the movement. Read More Short Stories The Eyes Have It is not only the primary mode of transportation of feeling; it is also becoming   symbol or myth for light. It shares the need for new learning to learn about good care of physically challenged and marginalized people.  Bond decides that a creative format would be the most effective means of voicing his concerns because it would appeal to a large audience. And the result is The Eyes Have It. 

Now coming to the story, we find that the narrator’s eyes are sensitive only to light and darkness. While going to Dehradun by train he comes across a girl. He starts conversation and gradually becomes interested in her. He tactfully hides his blindness from the girl to impress her. Read More Short Stories But the conversation does not last long. The girl bids him good-bye as the train arrives at her destination. After her departure, a new male passenger comes into the compartment. From that man the narrator learns that the girl was completely blind. The revelation shocks the narrator. He feels that he has deceived himself. This is an ironical twist that makes the end of the story so appealing.

Bond wrote The Eyes Have It to expose the widespread underestimation of physically challenged. He depicts physically challenged that receive good care as well as those who are abused. The contrasts in the physically challenged personalities are sometimes startling.  Another of The Eyes Have It's themes is the difficulty of a blind man's life in general, and the particular difficulty of dealing with the hypocrisy of them who use a hide and seek to feign light. Read More Short Stories At the time that Bond wrote of a conversation that the three passengers had, and his resulting intention to portray the problem of hypocrisy in casual conversation. In this piece of writing, Bond relates the blind man's story of a journey whose meeting with another blind young girl passenger were actually mild hypocritical as to hand the blind man a tract on keeping a lie of light as they got out of their conversation on their way to Mussoorie.

The Eyes Have It is very much in the tradition of the moralistic ballads especially those that present self-improvement and social justice lessons in a story written in simple language to suit the reading levels of their intended audiences. Read More Short Stories It is an ideal short story both in length and breath. With limited set of three characters – the narrator, the girl and the new passenger, it illustrates Bond’s art of simplicity and universality. Using the first person narrative technique, it tells a simple tale in a lucid style with a deep insight into the psychology of men. It ends with a striking discovery, and its plot is well-knit. Bond makes the story a vivid one by using the first person narrative technique. It is full of ironical turns and twists. The blindness is contrasted to the beauty of Mussoorie. There is a real humour in the narrator’s attempt to conceal his blindness. But this humour takes an ironical turn when he discovers that the girl is also blind. It shows Ruskin Bond’s sympathy for the blind and for their troubles and loneliness. If the third person in the story is everyman, the train is no more an ordinary train, but a journey of life.



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