Quiz on the Character of Jagan in the Novel Vender of Sweets by R.K Narayan


Jagan being the hero of the story is a character of various shades. Here is a short quiz of four questions to explore his character. You may watch the video or continue reading.



01. Why Does Jagan is called a strict Ghandian follower?


He is an ardent follower of Ghandhi since he visited his village about twenty years ago. He leads the nationalism and the simple life introduced by Ghandi. He spins his clothes, wears a simple dress, wears footwear made from a died animal. He avoided modernization interfere his life. He was not in league with Mali going to America for higher studies nor he wanted to deal with modern technology. He follows the Ghandian steps and lives a simple life with high thinking. As a part of the freedom fight and suffered some time in the jail, he has the pride of representing on behalf of the country. He acts as a link of the society; his simple life and running an industry is a part of it. He contributes for his country by earning. That is the inspiration he received form Ghandhi.

02. Is Jagan money minded and dishonest? 


Apparently, his behaviour is contradictory to his speech. Although he says he leads a simple life leaving all the tastes behind, he sells sweet, taste to the others to flourish himself. He counts money secretly showing a characteristic of a miser. He cheats the government by not revealing his real income in books. The money comes after six o’ clock is not recorded; He considers them as free money. At the end of the story, on his exile, he takes the cheque book with him. Those characteristics resemble an ordinary seller who likes money to grow. On the contrary, he is a genuine producer who use fresh and the best ingredients for his sweets. He pays well for his servants and a good father to his only child spending for his needs. He even spends for Grace’s return ticket.  He tries to balance his life between the Ghandian follower and a salesman who has a part to be played in the society. He has to earn for his child as well as he has to run the business in order to support the economy for his society.     

03. Do you think that Jagan is a cowardly father?


Seemingly, Jagan’s response to the role of father is cowardly. He is never good at conversation with his own son. Whenever a conversation reaches certain extremes, he runs away accepting the losing side. He is afraid to fight against his son’s decisions like leaving the college, going abroad or even marrying a foreign woman. He shows his rejection by hiding himself in the kitchen part of the house and avoiding meeting with his son. He seeks the help of the cousin to explore his son’s life and convey his messages through him. His cowardly behaviour to deal with his own son is disturbing when thinking of a traditional father who is usually dominant over his children. On the other hand, the reason behind his behaviour may be his intense love to this motherless child. After the death of Ambika, he has never hurt his son even with a word. He takes the role of the mother and takes care of Mali. He cooks for him for every meal even after Mali refuses it. He keeps five rupee note under the plate for him to eat whatever he wants. He always tries to rationalize his son’s behaviour thinking his son is intelligent enough to take his own decisions of his life. He even accepts Grace as the daughter in law although she is a cultural hybrid. All those devotions become frail as Mali does not understand his father’s sacrifice and love. Therefore, one can understand that Jagan has his own reason to be a coward in front of his own son.  
  

04. What is the reason for the conflict between father and son?


The main reason behind their conflict is lack of communication. Jagan nor Mali expresses themselves to each other. Jagan is not at all comfortable to have a conversation with his only son thinking that he might hurt his son’s feelings. Mali has stopped speaking as his mind is preoccupied with hatred for his father and his ways of life. The other reason is that the emotional barrior between Mali and Jagan. Mali thinks that his father is the reason for the death of his beloved mother; therefore, he does not feel the devotion of his father. On the other hand, their generation gap has created another rift between them; Mali represents the modern society with technology and earning easy money whereas Jagan represents the Ghandian ways of life: simple life high thinking. These two ideologies constantly clash in the story: Mali abhors his father’s lifestyle and leaves the country on his return he asks his father to fund his idea of producing a novel writing machine in collaboration with an American industry. Jagan sees that idea as a waste of money and refuses that idea. This main conflict leads Mali to destroy the way of his life and Jagan to live a secluded life leaving all his belonging behind.   

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