Short Story

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Within “Dharma” by Vikram Chandra and “The Twenty-Seventh Man” simply by Nathan Englander, the concept of the journey varieties the central structure about which the rest of the narrative is built. While the two stories are contextually very different—”Dharma” happens in mid-1900s India, and “The Twenty-Seventh Man” is set slightly before, in Stalin’s Russia—these dissimilarities prove inconsequential as the thematic oneness between the two overcomes virtually any superficial differences. Chandra’s “Dharma” and Englander’s “The Twenty-Seventh Man” match each other very well, together validating the importance with the journey to get story and character expansion using the stories’ shared portions of symbolism and meta.

Symbolism inside the two reports is abundant, as the authors bring on readers’ perceptions with the characters to attribute that means to or else unremarkable points. In “Dharma”, one example of such is usually Jago Antia’s “bottle full of yellow pills” which he “[feels] in his pocket all day long, against his chest” (Chandra 165). These yellow is medication intended for the soreness Antia seems in his amputated leg, “a constant hum just below his attention” that will bring him via performing his duties being a commander while using focus and care that he requires of him self (165). The supplements serve as a constant reminder to Antia of his weak spot, his reliability on anything other than himself is a method to obtain shame to him, regardless of the medical need for it. Serendipitously (although designed for the character types concerned), reliance on a little yellow target is a relevant aspect of “The Twenty-Seventh Man” as well. In Englander’s story, the yellowish object is a solitary bulb found in the cell wherever Pinchas Pelovits and his literary colleagues happen to be imprisoned. Like Antia resents the pills because of their hold more than him, techniques the men in the cell “hate the bulb for its control, such a flimsy thing” (Englander 257). “With [the] light [comes] relief” pertaining to the criminals, and they dislike their own weakness just as Antia does.

It is difficult to tell apart disparate functions of this symbolism, as both stories employ it to cope with their characters’ grudging reliance on a thing besides themselves. The purpose of the figurative vocabulary present in both stories moves away, however , when animal symbolism is applied. In “Dharma”, Chandra uses simile to show Jago Antia’s pain “as a beast of some sort, a low growling animal that…came rushing out to worry by his flesh” (Chandra 165). This quotation suggests that Antia is a patient of the pain he is suffering from, and suggests a some weakness in Antia that is otherwise denied in the story. Pets or animals are abnormally perceptive of vulnerability, plus the animal attacking Antia metaphorically conveys the opportunity of chinks in the armor of the man, previously considered by his men to be “invincible…[with] his ramrod straightness” (163). In “The Twenty-Seventh Man”, Englander’s dog imagery is, like Chandra’s, used to identify the body. However , Englander takes a more amusing, general way of his symbolism, and focuses it generally on Moishe Bretzky, a guy who was “huge, slovenly, and smelly as being a horse” (Englander 249). This comparison appears to serve small purpose other than to emphasize Bretzky’s physicality—he is later known as “giant bear” as well—and to provide specifics allowing someone to distinguish him from the other authors in the story (249).

The past major common element of these two short stories is traguardo, or the introduction of storytelling within the story itself. In the case of “Dharma”, you can actually forget the fact that entire narrative regarding Jago Antia is actually a story advised by a guy called Subramaniam in “a small , whispery voice” into a bar packed with men, including the true narrator, who creates the primary bank account, that of Jago Antia, by providing first-person context for the tale (Chandra 163). This start grounds the storyplot somewhat, offering it a base the truth is, but simultaneously seems to do the opposite, as the apparently true history appears to appear like a myth or tale. Englander, alternatively, derives his meta through the path Pinchas Pelovits’s history takes during its short lifespan. Pelovits’s tale is “a firing star…[one] being extinguished together with the teller” and it is all the more beautiful and valuable for it (Englander 260).

Englander’s usage of the story’s path to creation, brief life, and eventual demise, is certainly an element of meta, but also is an aspect from the concept of the journey that may be so evident in both “The Twenty-Seventh Man” and “Dharma”. Both the short reports can the two be identified as stories within stories, and rather than presenting characters whom come into themselves, they concentrate on the path that a story requires as it germinates from a concept into some thing capable of moving others. At the end of both brief stories, the characters knowledge a moment of clarity, brought on by the fitted conclusions the stories highlighted in every reach.

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