Pastoral literature portrays nature as being idyllic, peaceful, and free of the constraints and struggles of human society. Pastoral settings often allow human characters to find solace and peace that are not possible in a human-made setting.
The story is set in the mountains of Tithwal during temperate and pleasant days in late September. There is peace in the mountains, but, instead of escaping to the innocence of nature, the soldiers bring war with them. The men cannot enjoy the pleasant surroundings because they are not there to enjoy life but to kill.
Manto uses a direct, succinct style, almost like an unbiased reporter writing of an actual incident. There is no diatribe; Manto does not tell his readers what to think but lets the facts speak for themselves. His use of dialogue to tell the story further contributes to the journalistic style.
Tension and Foreshadowing
The contrast between the pleasant natural surroundings and the camouflaged soldiers creates tension and a mood of suspense that subtly foreshadow the tragedy to come. Tension builds as Manto describes the soldiers’ boredom and melancholy. When the dog enters the Indian camp, Jamadar Harnam Singh does not greet him in a friendly manner, even though the other soldiers seem amused by his arrival. Jamadar Harnam Singh’s mean treatment of the dog as a potential enemy is further foreshadowing. Subedar Himmat Khan repeats the harsh treatment in the Pakistani camp. As the story builds, the soldiers treat Jhun Jhun both as a potential enemy and as an informant being sent to the enemy camp—neither of which bodes well for the dog. The doom that has been hinted at throughout the story culminates when the dog, scrambling from one side to the other, can find no safe haven. Jhun Jhun’s pitiful end is foreshadowed by the increasingly irrational and brutal behavior of the soldiers, which is emphasized by its contrast to their peaceful setting.
Carol Ullmann (Editor) Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, Volume 15, Saadat Hasan Manto, Published by Gale, 2002.