Conquest of Time over Grief

Having battled thoughts after thoughts in this little kingdom of thoughts in my head, I concluded that life is a cauldron of events both high and low, yet one thing that keeps us moving is Time. Isn’t it true, how the most difficult times of our lives are easily forgotten, with the passage of time, and how the most beautiful memories pop in our heads, out of the blue! Well, this is life! A short story titled “The Fly “echoes, what I just concluded about life.

The story begins when a man visits his boss, a rather old gentleman who is gushed with grief at the mention of the name of his dead son. His son became a martyr, during the war time. After a couple of drinks the man’s Boss  finds himself astounded at the fact that on seeing a picture of his dead son , he is not triggered to tears. Soon the Boss notices a fly struggling to free itself from the inkpot, on his table. This fly, was seemingly trapped inside the ink pot, while it was being choked and drenched with the blot of ink on its body. Now the Boss decides to play a little game with the fly. The fly had by now managed to escape the clutches of the ink pot, and was now lying over a blotting paper, over which the Boss had placed it. The man repeatedly dropped strokes of ink on the fly. By now he had somehow started admiring the courage and strength of the Fly, which was not giving up its efforts to save itself, every time it was being drenched with drops of ink, by the Boss.

Now the time comes when the fly is rendered completely weak and it dies, and so the boss dumps it along with the blotting paper in the dust bin. At this juncture he feels certain wretchedness within himself, but with such thoughts he also forgets the thoughts of his son, which he was previously pre-occupied with. Each one of our lives is a replica of what the Boss goes through as we too even in the midst of our sufferings tend to forget those very sufferings, with the dawn of  new events in our lives, which inspire us to keep us going. Several critics read the story, as the fly being a source of comfort to the Boss. The Boss eventually forgets to think about his dead son, as soon as he decides to play a game with the fly, and with the death of the fly, the sad memories associated with his dead son also disappear. The writer expresses his feelings very beautifully:  “He wanted, he intended, he arranged to weep …..But no tears came out yet.” This is the present condition of his grief. Time had conquered his grief.

The writer of this story Katherine Mansfield, herself was suffering through tuberculosis, hence this story can also be identified with the writer’s life, where she depicts man’s helplessness before fate. Yet she also conveys through the Bosses’ inability to display his emotions, that – time conquers that very grief which is given to us by time itself! Even though we may be going through the most difficult phases of our lives- that may be of overcoming the death of someone close or any other struggle, there is a better plan. Someone or something is certain to divert us from our gloomy thoughts, and help us resume the normal course of life. I believe that’s how God meant human life to be!

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