Limited Third-Person Point of View
Upadhyay uses limited third-person point of view. The narrator tells the story with apparent objectivity, observing the protagonist and his actions. The narrator is privy to only the protagonist’s thoughts. Cues are given regarding what the other characters think, but mostly these characters are depicted according to how Pramod thinks. What goes through the minds of the other characters is suggested rather than revealed explicitly. Most of the story is colored by Pramod’s interpretation.
Conflict exists between Pramod and his wife, as well as between him and other family members who are themselves in conflict, but most of the conflict takes place in the protagonist’s own psyche. Pramod has a certain image of himself based on his past work. He has become comfortable and even somewhat arrogant about his professional rank. So when he loses his job, he also loses his identity. The conflict is a psychological one therefore. Pramod must create a new self-image. Resolving this conflict proves to be more of a challenge than Pramod might have guessed. At first he thinks he will receive help. He prays; he visits his in-laws. As time passes and his frustrations mount, he has conflicts with everyone who tries to communicate with him. The only one who does not appear to cause conflict is the housemaid, who offers Pramod an escape from the pressing need to find work. With the housemaid Pramod can almost forget who he is. He uses her like someone else might use a drug. Eventually, however, Pramod realizes that he must solve his own problems. He must do this by relying on himself, taking a risk, and trying something new.
Protagonists in well-written short stories generally go through some form of dramatic change. If the main character does not develop, the character is said to be flat. The change conveys the point of the story; without significant transformation the story may seem to lack meaning. In this short story, the protagonist Pramod goes through a noteworthy evolution. In the beginning of the story, Pramod has just found out that he has lost his job. He is stunned by this announcement, but he has not fully felt the full impact of the loss. He assumes that he will find another job, hopefully one similar to the one that he just lost. As time goes by, however, he understands how much his job has defined his life. It brought money and prestige to him and his wife. In losing his job, Pramod also feels that he has lost his position in his society. As even more time passes, Pramod becomes depressed. He does not even want to feel the love of his wife or his child. He finds numbed solace in the bed of a stranger, a woman with whom he has no intentions of developing an emotional attachment. He uses her to help him forget. It finally dawns on Pramod what he really wants. He realizes that he must change his whole perspective on life. He must become self-reliant.
Ira Mark Milne – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 22, Samrat Upadhyay, Published by Gale Group, 2010