A Story Summary.
A Story is a short story written by Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. This story is all about a day’s outing to Charabanc made by a group of adults and it presents the adult’s world humorously from a boy’s perspective.
This story is about the outing of 30 strange adult-only males to Porthcawl by Charabanc called. However, they never reached there as they stopped in every pub on the way.
The narrator of the story is a small boy who is living with his uncle and aunt. The narrator says that there is no beginning and ending in the story, there is something in the middle. The boy compares his uncle Mr. Thomas and his and Mrs. Sarah. Mr. Thomas is a noisy, filthy, irresponsible, drunkard and enormously big.
The boy uses a lot of metaphors and smiles and compares him to buffalo. When Mr. Thomas enters the house, the house looks smaller. Whenever he eats, he litters the waistcoat like a park after a picnic. On the other hand, the narrator compares Mrs. Sarah to a cat. She is very small quite clean hardworking and responsible. She is almost busy in dusting the China dog, cleaning the house and feeding the buffalo. Despite the dissimilarities, they love each other very much.
On every Saturday he allows Mrs. Sarah to beat him on the head. For that, he picks her up and puts on to a chair. Then, she beats him with whatever is in her hand but almost all the time see uses the china dog.
They have their own shop in front of their house where Mr. Thomas and his friends have gathered together in the shop to discuss the outing. Mr. Thomas is the leader of the group, they submit the list of the people to him. His friends are also dirty, filthy and careless like him. Benjamin Franklin is appointed the treasure of the outing. Benjamin reported that he had collected enough money for the bus fare and 20 cases of pale ale (Light Beer). He also complained with Mr. Thomas for being followed by Will Sentry all the times. Will Sentry says that he follows him every time because Benjamin may misuse the fund like Bob The Fiddle last year.
As the outing group talks and behaves, the members seem to be careless and stupid and only thinking about themselves.
Mrs. Sarah doesn’t like her husband to go outing because he drinks so much. She threatens to go to her mother’s home if he goes outing. But Mr. Thomas says that he and outing can’t be separated from each other.
Despite his irresponsible manner, she loves him so much. When she goes to her motherhouse, she prepares some eggs and leaves a note to him. She also tells him to take off the boots before going to bed.
As there is no one to look after the boy, Mr. Thomas wants to carry the narrator with them. The outing members don’t want to take any women, children and old people to the outing because they think that they can create problems on the way.
On the day of outing everyone gatherers and gets on Charbanac. As they go out of the village Mr. Thomas notices that old O. Jones is left behind. Then they go back to his house in order to receive him, but the old man proudly says he doesn’t want to go out at all. Mr. Weazely creates another problem on the way saying that he forgets his teeth on the mantelpiece.
As they reached the mountain sheep, at the beginning the landowner welcomes them as a wolf welcomes sheep for eating them. Mr. Thomas tells the boy to stay outside and look after the bus. He is alone and plays with the cows. He chases them by throwing stones at them.
After some time the narrator enters the pub and watch their activities. He finds them completely wild and drunk. They have finished everything including onions in the pub. Then they moved to other pubs one by one. They finished drinks at every pub until evening.
As they head for Porthcawl at the last, they come to a river. They decide to stop the bus and play with water. It was very late in the evening so they decided to cancel the trip to Porthcawl. They return from the river when they felt cold. They stopped at the Hermit’s Nest for a rum. After they got drunk they got on the bus for coming back to their houses. Old O. Jones wants to prepare supper in the bus by using primus stone. However, Weazely fells and says that he is about to be suffocated by the smoke. Then they stop the Charbanac and carry everything to the field and start cooking. They take out the remaining cases of beer and start drinking it. Old O. Jones began to cook sausage and crushed potatoes in the middle of the bus. Feeling sleepy and tired narrator began to sleep leaning, under the mountainous waistcoat of his uncle.
Thus, the story ends abruptly without giving hints to the readers.
Some Important Questions And Answers From “A Story”
Question. How does the boy, the narrator, look at his uncle and his friends?
Answer. The narrator finds his uncle and his friends whimsical and animalistic. He expresses his attitude towards them using several figures of speech related to animals.
At the beginning of the story, the speaker compares his uncle with an old buffalo squeezed into an airing cupboard. At one point in the story, the narrator says that the members of outing rushed out bleating into the bar. Towards the end of the story, the narrator says that Mr. Weazely would cough like a Billy goat.
All these smiles and metaphors justify that the narrator views his uncle and his friends with human beings degenerated into animality.
Question. Write a paragraph to describe the relation between Thomas (the boy’s uncle and his wife).
Answer. The boy’s uncle Mr. Thomas and his wife Mrs. Sarah live their life with the sense of affection and caring.
Sarah didn’t want her husband to go to outing only because he would come home heavily drunk. Thomas chooses to go to an outing not because he didn’t love Sarah, his wife but because he wanted a break from his monotonous life. Even at the state of anger, Sarah took care of her husband very much. Leaving him a note, telling him where the cooked eggs were shows that she was worried about her husband in her absence.
When Thomas knew that his wife was furious with him, he would lift her up in his arms so that she could beat him to pacify her anger. Occasional disputes are a casual part of married life which makes their relationship even more colorful and life-like.
Question. The narrator uses a lot of simile and metaphor in describing the persons in the story. How does he describe his uncle and his aunt?
Answer. The narrator uses the following figures of speech to describe his uncle and aunt.
- His uncle was like an old buffalo squeezed into an airing cupboard. (simile)
- He breathes like a brass band. (simile)
- His waistcoat looked like a picnic spot. (simile)
- His aunt whisked about on padded paws. (metaphor)
- She was as quick as a flash (simile)
Question. Describe the owner of the public house, Mountain Sheep.
Answer. The owner of the public house mountain sheep was a long, lean and black fanged man. He had a greased love-curl and pouncing eyes. He welcomed the members of outing simpering like a wolf.
Question. Why didn’t the members of the outing trust Benjamin Franklyn?
Answer. Mr. Frankyln was made the treasure of the outing committee for the current year.
The members of the outing didn’t trust Benjamin Franklyn because of the Bob the Fiddle, who had worked in the same position last year but had bought drinks himself with the money that was collected for an outing. In other words, the fund was misappropriated.
Will Sentry feared that a similar episode could happen again. So he was always on the heels of Mr. Frankylin. Franklin even when to the extent of resigning from the responsibility if Will Sentry continued to be nosy about his duties. So due to fear of repeating history, the member of outing did not trust Benjamin Franklin.
Question. Do you think that “A Story” is not a story proper, but a jumble of various people? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer. Story is one of the genres of literature which narrates past events artistically. The events narrated might be real or fictitious. A story, in the traditional sense of the term, needs to have a tightly-knit plot with a proper beginning (Exposition), rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
But “A Story” has the narrator himself and he admits that the story has neither proper beginning nor conclusive ending. And there are very few details in the middle. Viewed from this traditional point of view “A Story” can’t be called a proper story as it lacks prerequisites of a story.
However, the definition of a story has greatly changed in the modern and post-modern times. The critics have begun to feel that the traditional form of the story cannot represent the changed realities of modern and post-modern types. As a result, there has been great change in the form of writing a story. If analyzed from this modern and post-modern standpoint “A Story” can be called the proper story. Though loose, it has a plot. There are various characters who are both individuals as well as the type of their class.
The events and circumstances presented in the story bear a very close resemblance to life. It also conveys a moral lesson while entertaining the readers. The relationship between Mr. Thomas and his wife are realistically presented.
So, “A Story” is a good story from the modern and post-modern point of view though it might appear to be just jumble of people from a traditional point of view.
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