|The Cold Within - Evergreen Publication|
Comprehension (Unsolved Passages)
(1) There were six persons in a group. Extreme cold conditions at a place forced them to sit beside a fire. The fire was fast extinguishing, which was not good for anyone of them.
(il) Each of the six persons in the group possessed a wooden stick. No one made any use of it. Each of them held it tightly and did not throw it into the dying fire.
(iii) The logs of wood in the hands of the persons in the 'forlorn' group are significant. On the literal level, they can revive the dying fire. On the metaphorical level, they are symbols of various sins. By holding them back, the persons in the group hold on to their sins.
(iv) These persons in the group could have thrown their logs of wood into the dying fire. The fire could have saved them. As they did not show generosity, they perished in the end.
(v) The 'cold within' is a metaphor for the lack of feelings, of warmth and sympathy. The persons in the group die of this cold within and not of the cold without.
(1) Five men and a woman were sitting beside a 'dying' fire to warm themselves. They had to protect themselves against extreme cold.
(ii) The need of the hour was that the fire should not be allowed to die down in any way. Each one in the group needs to ensure the burning of fire, without which no one will live.
(iii) The first person in the group was a white woman. (iv) She had noticed that there was a black man in the group.
(v) She had a stick of wood in her hand. She did not throw it into the dying fire. She did not want to help the black man in any way.
(1) A group of six persons were trapped at a place on a day of bitter cold. It was not a homogeneous group. It consisted of five men and a woman belonging to different communities, classes and regions, and of different temperaments.
(ii) The continuous burning of the fire was necessary for the survival of the persons in the trapped group. However, the fire was fast dying out.
(iii) The second person in the group noticed that there was a man in the group who did not belong to his religion. So he decided to hold back the stick in order to prevent the man of different religion from getting warm.
(iv) This second person in the group is a fanatic. He is rigid, petty-minded and selfish.
(v) Yes, he, too, suffers from the 'cold within'. It means that he lacks warmth of feelings for others - compassion, pity and charity. .
(1) The first two persons in the group were a woman and a man. The woman, being a prejudicial white, did not want to help a black in the group. So she held her stick back. The man, being a fanatic Christian, held his stick back in order not to help the man of different religion in the group.
(1) The third man was in tattered clothes and was, thus, clearly very poor. He was not only poor economically but also poor in feelings of compassion and generosity.
(iii) It means that the poor man pulls up his coat to prevent himself from freezing cold. However, he does not use his log as it will give warmth to the rich man also.
(iv) He decided not to throw his stick into the dying fire. He did not want to help the rich man whom he despised as an idle, exploitative person.
(v) It is unthinkable that the six mature persons were unaware of the consequences of what they were doing. They knew what they were doing, but they were so selfish and prejudiced that they could not act against their respective nature.
(1) The other three persons in the group were - a white woman, a fanatic and a poor man. Each one of them is selfish and prejudiced.
(i1) The rich man and the poor man were both petty-minded and prejudiced. Both looked down upon each other for different reasons.
(iii) The rich man was lost in the thoughts of keeping his money safe from the worthless poor men who were out to grab it. He was possessed of the thoughts of his immense wealth and how to save it.
(iv) He decided not to help the poor man because he thought the poor man was lazy and undeserving. He wanted to keep his wealth away from the poor man.
(v) The log in each hand signifies a sin - the sin of envy, greed, revenge, spite and intolerance. Each person continues to hold on to his sin even after death.
(1) The other four persons in the group were - a white woman, a fanatic, a rich man and a poor man. Each one of them is selfish and lacks human feelings of compassion.
(ii) The poor man was possessed of envy for the rich man. The rich man suffered from spite for the poor man.
(iii) The black man's face revealed that he was a revengeful fellow. He wanted to take revenge on the white.
(iv) The black man knew that if he did not use his log of wood he could hurt the white. (1) The figure of speech used here is alliteration.
(1) The other five persons in the group were a white woman, a fanatic, a poor man, a rich man and a black.
(ii) Each of them suffered from one or the other prejudice. A white woman suffered from racial prejudice and so does the black man. The fanatic was intolerant of those of different religions. The poor man suffered from envy, while the rich man was disdainful towards the poor.
(iii) The last man in the group was selfish and self-centred. He never did anything without any consideration of gain to himself.
(iv) He, too, did not part with his log. He thought why he should help others when he is not to gain anything in return. So like others, he too perished due to cold.
(V) The message is that we must be generous and helpful to one another. We should not be so prejudiced as to harm our own selves in the end. The six persons in the group perished because they lacked compassion for one another. They died from 'cold within'.
Assignment : Class Activity.