What does he tell the narrator about Fritz?
Ans. During one of their strolls to the garden, Jayanto found a Deodar tree to the far end and eventually recalled his memory of ‘Fritz'. After dinner, Jayanto told Shankar that 'Fritz was a Swiss doll which his uncle had brought for him from Switzerland. It was a foot long figure of an old man, dressed in traditional Swiss clothing. It wore a Swiss cap with a yellow feather sticking out from it. It's clothes too were perfect with the little detailing like belts, buttons, pockets, collars, socks and the little buckles on the shoes. Fritz was very life-like and always had a smile on its face. It was very flexible too, hence could be twisted at will. Jayanto had many toys as a child but eventually he grew obsessed with Fritz, to the point that it even annoyed his parents. He used a spend hours talking to him. Though they were one-sided talks, Fritz's smiling face and the look in his eyes made Jayanto feel that Fritz understood every word of what he spoke. He even doubted that Fritz might start conversing if Jayanto spoke in German. But to his sorrow, a tragedy befell Fritz. Once while playing with Fritz, Jayanto happened to spill a cup of tea on himself. For the moment when he disappeared to change his clothes, Fritz had been attacked by a couple of stray dogs. On returning, Jayanto saw that the dogs were having a nice tug-of-war with Fritz. Although he didn't actually come apart, his face was battered beyond recognition and his clothes were torn. He was 'dead to Jayanto. Eventually, Jayanto thought of arranging a funeral for Fritz. He wanted to make a coffin and bury him in it for it was a European. But he couldn't make one. So he buried Fritz just like that under the very particular deodar tree in the garden of the circuit house which the two friends had seen earlier in the day.
Referring closely to the short story ‘Fritz', relate why Jayanto wanted to visit Bundi instead of any other place?
Ans. 'Fritz' by Satyajit Ray is a short story that takes Jayanto down the memory lane into his childhood. This trip to nostalgia takes him to Bundi, a small place in Rajasthan. Jayanto and Shankar, had been childhood friends.
Although into different professions, it did not make any difference to their friendship. For long, the two had been planning a trip to Rajasthan. Finally, they managed to make it to this trip together. Generally, while visiting Rajasthan, one would prefer places like Jaipur, Udaipur or Chittor due to their historical importance. But Jayanto insisted on Bundi being their destination for the trip. It was so because Jayanto's father, Animesh Das Gupta, used to work in the Archeological Department which took him to historical places. As a child, Jayanto had visited Bundi and had always wished to return to the place after growing up, just to see how much modern Bundi had turned into, compared to what he had imagined about the place. Hence, he insisted on visiting Bundi over any other place in Rajasthan.
What is your reaction to the ending of the story? Ans. Since the very beginning of the story ‘Fritz' an element of suspense has been created throughout.
Ans: The opening lines of the story suggested the mystery in the air of Bundi that made Jayanto lost in his world of childhood memories. It's later that Jayanto after subsequent efforts of recalling his childhood memories that Shankar as well as the reader is introduced to Fritz. It was the sleepless night that Jayanto went through that made him feel further more anxious about Fritz. He thought that probably it was Fritz who had come to visit him at night and it were his small circular footprints that had made a mark on his quilt. This irrational behavior of his friend worried Shankar and, hence in order to put such futile thought to rest, Shankar suggests that they should exhume Fritz. Once Jayanto sees that nothing was left of Fritz, for it was buried decades ago, he would come to sanity and accept reality. So, finally when they exhume Fritz with the help of a gardener, they are left in a complete shock to find a foot long, pure white, perfect little human skeleton lying flat on its back, covered in dust. In my opinion, the end to the story is perfect. Although it's an open-ended story wher the reader is free to imagine the conclusion at his own will and imagination, yet the ending further reinforces the theme of horror and personal beings. Looking at a foot long human skeleton buried under the same spot under the deodar tree where once Jayanto had buried Fritz, makes them gape. Moreover it reaffirms the doubts of Jayanto and initiates fear in the heart of Shankar and the reader, the possibility of Fritz actually being human and hence his returning to Jayanto and left his footprints on the quilt an absolute paranormal act.
Do you think that the story 'Fritz' is readable? What makes it interesting?
Ans: Satyajit story is readable, do not exciting.It reads like a simple narrative of two friends who go to visit Bundi, a small town in Rajasthan. There are other terms of tourist interest in this state. Jaipur attracts tourist in large number. There are Chittoor and Udaipur.Jayanto choose to go to Bundi because Jayanto is particularly interested in this place which is known for its Fort. The real motive is that this young man spent childhood in Bundi when he was a child of xyz age. He wants to revive his memories of the time when he lived there with his parents in the Circuit House. Jayanto and his friend Shankar have checked in the Circuit House. They sit in leisurely manner, waiting for their tea. Shankar notices that Jayanto is in low spirits.( The Reader is unable to understand why he is down cast. He is reminded of the good old days. He recognises the things he had been familiar with. The Bangalore seems unchanged. The furniture is the same which included caned chairs and tables. Giant toh has returned to this place after 31 years.
So far, it remains unclear what is the story about. The writer has described the town. He has given details of the Circuit House and its furniture. But something is yet to happen. Jayanto is going round recognising things he had nearly forgotten. As they go strolling in the garden after tea, Jayanto stops. He is searching for a Deodar tree. He is glad to find it there. He began to think that this tree was important for some reason. He then recalled how they had a cook in the Circuit House. As they go back to the drawing room, memories begin to flash upon Jayanto's mind. He is reminded of 'Fritz', a toy which his uncle has brought for him from Switzerland. It was a 12 inch long toy of an old man. Jaynto used to give maximum time to playing with this toy until it was Torn apart by stray dogs. The spoilt toy was buried under the Deodar tree in the garden
The story builds up suspense. Jayanto is possessed with the thoughts of that toy. He has his hallucinations .He Feels that Fritz walked on his quilt when he was sleeping. He even located some small spots on the quilt to show these were the footmarks of the old man's doll called fritz. Shankar tries to cure his friend of his delusions. He takes the help of the gardener who digs up the ground under the tree. In the hole they find a tiny human skeleton. The story concludes. The suspense remains. The Reader is free to interpret the end anyway he imagines.
With reference to the short story 'Fritz' describe the difference between the Bundi of Jayanto's childhood and the present times.
Ans: Satyajit Ray found the perfect setting for his short story 'Fritz' in the small historic town of Bundi. Exploring the theme of macabre with a tinge of humor, he required a setting that would evoke horror without any artificial interference and forced technique. Ray invoked a sense of morbidity in his short stories and Bundi with its old roots lent a sense of the supernatural and horror to the story.
"Not many people visited Bundi," and yet Shankar and Jayanto found it a perfect place to explore during a holiday. Jayanto had memories attached to Bundi and he wanted to relive those and experience the emotions that came along with it.
Jayanto finds nothing changed in Bundi of today than the one he had visited as a child. He had expected Bundi to change and taken up by the storm of modernization. In reality, the only visible change in Bundi was the arrival of electricity in the city. Bundi was just the same as he had left. The streets were still cobbled with houses jutting out from the first floor. The carvings on the houses and the wooden doors were a reminder of the Rajputana that existed in the older times. The circuit house had the same look, the same furniture. It seemed nothing had changed in Bundi accept the intrusion of the electric poles on the street.
Jayanto arrived in Bundi to find that time had come to a standstill as he went back in his memory to relive his childhood days. Bundi had changed only in his imagination but on his visit, he realized Bundi was still the same.
What is the significance of the last lines in the story?
Ans: The last line brings an element of surprise and shock where the readers are left in perpetual confusion whether to believe in the supernatural or not. The readers find a chill running down their spine when the remains of a skeleton of the size of a doll are found at the end. Satyajit Ray is famous for writing stories that appeal to both children as well as adults. Many of his stories are written in the horror genre and Fritz is one of them. Ray introduces the theme of supernatural and macabre in this story but on a very subtle note. His stories induced an element of shock and mystery in the readers through the setting and words. Fritz, set in the location of Bundi, is about Jayanto recounting his childhood memories which come to haunt him when he visits the old places, only to find nothing has changed with time. He is reminded of his Swiss doll, a favorite toy with whom he talked and shared most of his feelings as a child. The Swiss doll had been mauled by stray dogs and the separation was painful. Jayanto clearly remembered that he had ensured a very dignified burial for his doll under the Deodar tree.
The horror begins when the Swiss doll returns to talk to Jayanto, trying to pick up the strands of their relationship from where it ended. Jayanto is horrified at the sequence of events that take place. He is convinced of the doll's return from the dead. His friend Shankar lends a sane voice, neither believing Jayanto's words nor dismissing them. He suggests going to the Deodar tree where the Swiss doll was buried to find remains and be convinced of its fate.
However, much to the horror of Shankar and Jayanto, the last line reveals that after digging under the tree, a human skeleton of the size of the doll was found.
The last line of the story leaves everything to the imagination of the readers. Readers are allowed the comfort to either rue in the elements of supernatural or allow their logic to supersede. The logical readers will find the entire situation funny and laugh off it as comic relief while the believers can remain perpetually engulfed in the world of the dead and macabre. Thus, the last line serves a dual purpose, while it induces a sense of comic relief, it also gives a sense of shock and surprise to the readers.
Jayanto appeared absent-minded throughout the trip. Why? How did the author assuage his mind on the night of the incident?
Ans: Fritz by Satyajit Ray is a short story in the horror genre. The story explores two friends, Jayanto and Shankar visiting Bundi on a short vacation. While Shankar was interested in visiting Bundi due to its old-world charm and mention in Tagore's literature, Jayanto had spent a significant part of his early life in Bundi and was keen to relive his old memories.
During the period, he stayed in Bundi at the Dak Bungalow where he had been gifted a Swiss doll named Fritz by his uncle. In no time, Fritz had become Jayanto's favorite toy, treating the doll almost like a confidant and a true sharer of his feelings just as he would do with a human friend. The relationship of the doll and Jayanto ended on a very tragic note, with the doll being shredded to pieces by a pack of stray dogs. Fritz was buried but had remained an essential part of Jayanto's life throughout. He was a very distinct memory and the visit to Bundi rekindled those old emotions and feelings within him for Fritz reminded him of the dear friend he had lost. This is why Jayanto remained absent-minded throughout the trip.
Jayanto was woken up one night by some nocturnal visitors in the Dak house. The rumblings of these creatures had created a sense of irrational fear in his mind which he had started associating with supernatural elements and the Swiss doll. Fritz. Shankar realized his friend was haunted by the memories of the past and therefore comforted him and tried to calm him down with soothing, calm words so that he could manage a good night's sleep after a tiring day. He convinced Jayanto of no presence of any untoward elements in the room and reassured him by checking the room himself. He also suggested giving a tranquilizer to Jayanto to soothe his words.
Despite all these assurances, Jayanto was sure of the presence of Fritz around him and thus finally, the author relented by suggesting they dig it up under the Deodar tree to do away with his friend's fear for once and for all.
Evaluate 'Fritz' as a mystery story or thriller.
Ans: Fritz is a queer story which keeps the readers guessing throughout. It is not ghastly, but a bit ghostly. The suspense keeps building up, but it never turns bizarre or overly frightening. It appeals to child and adult alike as it teases the imagination with the promise of the unknown.
The story begins on an easy note with the introduction of two childhood friends, Shankar and Jayanto. Although Jayanto appears to be preoccupied right from the beginning, yet he was very eager to come to Bundi, but also fell quiet after reaching it. When both the friends were strolling, Jayanto was struck with the thought of a Deodar tree. He was absolutely thrilled to find it. When questioned, he revealed that something paranormal brought him here. 'Memory is a strange business', and in bits and parts, he recalled everything about a doll he had possessed. It was a twelve-inch long figure of an old man, brought from Switzerland by one of his uncles. The very thought of an old man as a doll, somehow makes the readers wonder. Another detail was that it was not mechanized and very lifelike. It had a smile on its face and it was possible to bend and twist its limbs, and the uncle told him that he would respond only to the name Fritz and nothing else. At that time Jayanto had a lot of toys as he was the only son of his parents. But once he got Fritz, he left all other toys and played only with the doll. He would talk to him for hours, and he had this uncanny feeling that the doll could understand every word of his. There was such a smile on its face and a look in its eyes. Sometimes he would feel the doll could talk to him. if he spoke in German. Well, we can rationalize this by thinking that it was a childhood fantasy of an over-sensitive boy, but yes somewhere the readers become aware of something deeper at this point of time.
Then comes the story of what happened to the doll. One day when Jayanto was away from the doll, a couple of dogs fought over it and damaged it beyond recognition. The boy felt the doll did not exist anymore. It was dead and thus was buried under the Deodar.
The suspense grips stronger when we read what happened in the night Nothing blood-curdling, but a strong doubt that some presence was felt in the night. Jayanto woke up from his sleep saying that something, maybe an animal, was in the room. It was strange that the doors and the windows were closed. He to his horror found small footmarks on the cover of his quilt. Shankar made it light by saying that it might be a cat, but Jayanto was disturbed.
That night in the circuit house, Jayanto told Shankar that it was Fritz who walked over the quilt. As Shankar felt that his friend was becoming obsessed with the doll, there was only one way to bring him out of this. So he decided to dig the ground under the Deodar tree where Fritz was buried. The writer builds suspense amidst the humorous exchange with the gardener, by juxtaposing it with the anxious expression on Jayanto's face. His shirt's collar was soaked in sweat. Then he made a strange sound. His eyes were bulging as he pointed with a trembling finger. The spade slipped from the gardener’s hand. Shankar too gaped at the ground, opened-mouthed in horror, amazement, and disbelief. In the hole, was lying a perfect twelve-inch little human skeleton.
Satyajit Ray ends the story by leaving the rest to the imagination of the readers. It builds up a spooky feeling with subtle hints of the unreal, more of a paranormal genre.
Compare and contrast the characters of Jayanto and Shankar.
Ans: The protagonists of Fritz, Jayanto, and Shankar were childhood friends; they were together in school and college. Both enjoyed the company of each other and liked to take vacations together. Both had been thinking of visiting Rajasthan for a long time. Jayanto had a fascination for Bundi, but Shankar was puzzled with the choice. Nevertheless, he appreciated the natural beauty of Bundi and derived much pleasure from the old world charm of the place.
Jayanto worked in the editorial division of a newspaper and Shankar was a school teacher. The different kinds of jobs did not interfere with their friendship. There was an easy camaraderie between them and they shared their thoughts without reservation. Thus Shankar came to know his friend's sentiments for the place and appreciated them.
But the similarities ended there. Jayanto was overly emotional and prone to imaginative flights. He even had to take the help of tranquilizers for anxiety and depression. Shankar was down to earth, practical and had no flights of fancy. He always tried to show the practical side of things to his friend. When he saw Jayanto rather quiet, after coming to Bundi, he tried to make a rational explanation by thinking that it was natural to feel depressed because of past memories. When Jayanto thought something had walked into his room at night, Shankar tried to convince him that it must be a cat or some animal.
Ultimately, when the obsession about the doll increased, he tried to put an end to it by getting the burial spot dug. Thus Shankar emerges as the more practical of the two; but what happens at the end puzzles him as he never expected the skeleton to be there, making Jayanto's sensitivity, the winner at the end.
Of the two, Shankar is the more mature one, taking care of Jayanto, who needed brotherly care and at times tranquilizers to control his hypersensitivity.
Describe the character of Jayanto with reference to the short story ‘Fritz’ ?
Ans: Jayanto is the protagonist of the story who worked in the editorial division of anewspaper.. A Man Influenced by Memories ,Jayanto was so influenced by his memories from past that he chose to visit Bundi in Rajasthan rather than visiting the famous places like Jaipur,Udaipur or Chittor.This was because he had visited Bundi as a child.He always wished to return to Bundi as an adult to compare the modern Bundi with his childhood image of the place.
Jayanto seemed to be a quiet man.He seemed to be lost in his .past.He seemed to be in low spirits to the narrator the day they arrived inBundi.His childhood memories with Fritz haunted him to such an extent that he felt depressed and emotional. A Single Child Jayanto was the only child of his parents.He had lots of toys when he was young.He was so loved and pampered that his parents gave him practically everything.
Jayanto was not only loved but loving.When he got Fritz,he used to spend all his time with him.He could talk to his doll for hours.Perhaps,because of being a single child,he was adamant too.When his parents warned him not to overdo things with Fritz,he did not listen to them. Jayanto was a sensitive soul.He was deeply attached to his doll Fritz. He could not protect his doll from being destroyed by a couple of stray dogs.Heburied Fritz as if a real human being had died.His sensitive self continued to beanxious,even thirty one years later.
Some of Jayanto’s other characteristic traits are: He was a man of strong senses-one night when he was walked over by some strange creature,he was sure it had two feet,not four. Jayanto was a diffident man.Though he seemed to like his friend’s idea of digging the ground to free”himself of his weird notions”,he was reluctant.
Describe how memories plays an important role in Satyajit Ray short story Fritz.
Ans: Memory has an important role in Satyajit Ray’s story “Fritz”. Major elements in the story including the plot itself are directly connected to the memory and feelings of Jayanto, the protagonist. It was his memory of the place named Bundi that was behind Jayanto’s decision to make the trip to Bundi and not to the other popular places in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Udaipur or Chittor. Then, while staying in the circuit house in Bundi, his old memories were slowly coming to his mind.
Now some of my memories are coming back slowly. The bungalow certainly appears unchanged. I can even recognize some of the old furniture, such as these cane chairs and tables.
Thirty one years before when Jayanto was just six, he visited the place with his parents. Now he is nostalgic remembering those days. He remembers his favourite doll Fritz and his obsession with it. He used to spend a lot of time with that doll, playing and conversing with it. He also remembers how sad he was when two stray dogs had killed Fritz, his only playmate. He then buried Fritz under a deodar tree in the garden of the circuit house.
Now, returning to the same place again after 31 years, Jayanto is lost in thought and his friend Shankar is well aware of this change in his behaviour. That is why he asks —
“Are you well? You seem to be in low spirits today,”
This is where the story begins, highlighting the gravity of the nostalgic feeling in Jayanto’s inner self aroused by his past memory of the place. Moreover, he was constantly trying to remember some missing links from his memory. That is why, as Shankar noticed, he “had turned rather quiet after arriving in Bundi”. He recognizes most of the furniture in the circuit house and remember that things looked lot bigger than they are now.
While walking in the garden, Jayanto suddenly remembers a deodar tree in the garden but is troubled trying to remember, in vain, what had actually happened there.
No, I can’t recall anything at all. Memory is a strange business …
Thus, throughout the story memory is the thing that haunts him down. Though Jayanto later knows why he remembered that deodar tree, the memory of his doll Fritz doesn’t let him enjoy his holiday. In the night he awakes from sleep horrified with a feeling that something has just walked over his chest. After a thorough search when they do not find anything, Jayanto concludes that it is his doll Fritz that has come alive to him. Though Shankar readily dismisses his unrealistic claims, he agrees to have the ground under the deodar tree dug up in order to find if the remains of his doll are still there. To their utter shock, they found a twelve-inch long white human skeleton there under the ground.
Irrespective of the ending of the story and its open-ended finish, the plot development is directed by Jayanto’s memory. If it were not for his past memories of the doll Fritz, the thought of the doll coming alive had not been possible for him. He could then simply think that it was just a small creature like a rat which ran over his chest. In that case, the supernatural element that the author introduces would not have been feasible.
Thus, memory plays an important role here in the story “Fritz” for setting the tone of the story by causing the nostalgic feelings and lost-in-thought mood in Jayanto and also for defining the entire plot
Discuss how does the use of imagery and suspense add to the element of horror in Satyajit Ray’s short story Fritz
Ans: Satyajit Ray ,a noted filmmaker and author explores the theme of macabre and supernaturalism in his stories. His stories appeal to the readers at an intelligent level, comporing them to race their imagination and get involved in the story. His stories bring about the chill and thrills of the haunted places through carefully chosen words an situations to which his characters react. He creates an ultimate horror setting a perfectly spun situation which provides the ultimate shock and terror to its readers. However, Ray while exploring the theme of macabre and supernaturalism was perfectly aware of its young readers and therefore avoided the explicit gore of horror narrated by other writers. Satyajit Ray believed in the fear produced in the mind through frightening situations, emotions and inanimate objects and this is implicitly found in all his horror stories written till date. Ray explores the very same theme and employs the same tactics in his short story "Fritz".
Jayanto and Shankar, two childhood friends visit Bundi for a holiday, Shankar in the very beginning confesses that Bundi is an odd choice to visit as a holiday destination in Rajasthan as opposed to the highly popular and tourist friendly cities of Jaipur, Udaipur and Chittor. Moreover, Bundi still retains the old world charm of the Rajputana times, with very less invasion of the modern times. The ”cobbled streets”, ”balconies jutting out from the first floor”, bore an evidence to the old setting. With these words, Ray finely introduces us to the unnatural setting of his story and sows in the seed of psychological curiosity in the mind of his readers.
Jayanto and Shankar are put up in the circuit house that is almost hundred years old a legacy of the British era. This brings about a chill in the readers with the reminder of the popular belief that old buildings are always haunted. Indeed, this is a very clever way to get the readers ready for the horror and the unnatural happenings or experiences that are about to begin for the characters of the story. Shankar’s reference to Tagore’s poem ”The Fort of Bundi” adds to the theme of macabre as the poem narrates the historic valiance of the Rana’s troops in the battle with very vivid words that heightens the sense of tension and fear in the readers.
＂Rana’s troops slay his head…He drops dead,His blood, crimson redSanctifies the castle cleanIn ablution of all vicious sin.”
Ray carefully creates the setting and explores the emotions of his characters which further induces a sense of fear and horror.The story begins with Jayanto in low spirits and his friend acknowledging the change in Jayanto as soon as he arrived at Bundi.”Jayanto had turned rather quiet…perhaps some of his memories had returned.”His writings clearly depict the depression and puts the reader with a sense of unease on what is about to follow. His description in details with no clear reference to the story, simply brings forward his technique to heighten the sense of horror. Jayanto recalling the physical details of the cook whose ”eyes were always red” makes the reader anticipate the unnatural and haunted incidents with the lead.
Satyajit Ray in the short story ”Fritz” employs the use of inanimate object to explore the supernatural aspect and induce horror in the mind of the readers. Fritz is described as a twelve inch long Swiss doll, very life like, whose arms and limbs could be twisted. Ray’s particular mention of Fritz won’t respond unless he is called by his name adds to the thrill and confirms the presence of a supernatural theme in the story.
Fritz’s tragic death and his burial by Jayanto adds to the thrill of the supernatural occurrences that is bound to be experienced by Jayanto. Ray, much like the authors of the horror genre, uses situation that induces a sense of frightening and horror in the reader’s senses. Jayanto waking up to notice ”tiny, brown circular marks ”on his quilt is clearly one of the technique employed to explore the theme of the supernatural. Digging always unearths the dark secrets of the past. Ray leaves this till the end to give the final brutal shock to its readers in the form of the unearthing of the twelve inch long, perfect little human skeleton under the Deodar tree, giving a psychological relief and yet leaving the minds of the readers in perpetual digging of heads to create various permutations and combination of situation that would have happened.