Discuss, how does the use of imagery and suspense add to the element of horror in Satyajit Ray’s Fritz.
Satyajit Ray is popularly known for his supernatural stories. ‘Fritz’ is one of his such stories which explores the theme of supernaturality. With the uses of imagery and the elements of suspense, he excellently added the elements of horrors in the story.
The story begins with the narrator’s conversation with his best friend Jayanto, the protagonist of the story. They were sitting in the circuit house of Bundi, a small town in Rajasthan. The narrator’s description of the place with the use of visual imagery of Bundi where he compared it with the famous tourist sports of Rajasthan, such as Jaipur, Udaipur and Chittor hinted towards the suspenseful begining.
In order to create the atmosphere of horror and suspense appropriate for the ghost story ‘Fritz’ , the narrator gives the vivid description of the old circuit house, where he and his friend Jayanto would stay. He describes the rooms having high ceilings and skylights with dangling ropes which could be pulled to open and shut them. He explains the place as old looking where only reminders of modern times were electric poles.
The narrator also introduce auditory images in order to add realistic elements of horrors, “A slight noise woke me a little later”, “The first time I heard a shuffling noise near the window”.
Jayanto’s pensive mood towards his visit on the circuit house, created the sense of intense suspense in the mind of readers. Jayanto had visited the place as a child, thirty one years ago with his parents. All the memories related to the place encountered Jayanto. While walking in the compound of the circuit house, he suddenly remembered that there used to be a deodar tree. He looked for it and found it at the far end of the compound.
As the story moves further, it brings some strange memories of the narrator’s friend. Jayanto went down memory lane. It’s from this point, he remembered how his favourite doll, called Fritz. Which was gifted by his uncle and was torn apart by two stray dogs and how he buried it under the deodar tree.
Fritz, a doll which would only respond while calling ‘Fritz’ as told by the seller of the doll and it’s unnatural destruction made the story to transform into a intense supernatural story. When Jayanto ended his story that he had duried his lovely doll inside the ground of the deodar tree, the buried of Fritz like a real human also enriches the feelings of suspense within readers.
When Jayanto became more restlers, he woke up out night and told the narrator that something had walked over his chest and it was Fritz. The narrator did not believe Jayanto’s story. In order to help Jayanto get rid of such weird notions he suggested to dig the ground below the deodar tree.
At the end of the story when after digging the ground of the drodar tree, a perfect white human skeleton of twelve inch was found in the same place where Jayanto had buried Fritz. The length of the skeleton was as of exactly Fritz. Thus, the ending also introduce the suspense with the elements of horrors. The sudden ending made the story open for the readers to decide whether Fritz was a ghost, supernatural being or a part of Jayanto’s imagination. It concluded with mystery and suspense.
ISC Echoes Notes