Describe the emotional bond reflected between the Gessler Brothers and the narrator in the story, ‘Quality’.
Describe the character sketch of the narrator in the story, ‘Quality’.
In John Galsworthy’s story, ‘Quality’ the narrator plays an important role because of his emotional bond with the Gessler Brothers.
The narrator’s characteristic traits are brought to the fore by his association with the Gessler Brothers. He was acquainted with them since the age of fourteen when he used to visit them to get his father’s shoes, made by them. Later on, he started visiting them for getting his own shoes made by them.
The first thing that is suggested about the narrator in the story is that he was a quality-conscious man. He had known Gessler Brothers from his father’s time and knew them as those, who never compromised on quality. That is why he always got his shoes tailor-made by the Gessler Brothers. Once he did buy a pair of shoes from a big firm but that was “bought in an emergency”. Although those shoes looked fashionable but the narrator was not comfortable wearing them. Mr. Gessler pointed out exactly where it was hurting on the left shoe.
Earlier in the story, the narrator was found to be suspicious about the display of “a few pairs of boots” in the window, This even led him to think for a moment that the Gessler Brothers might have bought them from outside for display. But the very next moment, he realised that his doubt was unfounded as Mr. Gessler, never compromised on quality and therefore, could not have done Such a mean thing.
He admired Gessler Brothers‘ art of shoemaking as “incarnating the very spirit of all foot-gear”. He felt that such beautiful shoes could only be made by the artists, who had seen the very soul of the shoes and who even seemed to “dream of boots”. Whenever the narrator visited the Gessler Brothers’ shop he felt as if he had entered a church due to its calm atmosphere and the way the Gessler Brothers holistically made the shoes. He even seemed to like the aroma of leather shoes as he would sit calmly on the only wooden chair and inhale the soothing smell of leather.
It is the admiration for Gessler Brothers’ art of shoemaking that the narrator not only visited them again and again but always ordered more than his requirement.
Since the narrator had been associated with the Gessler Brothers for a long time, he was deeply pained by the plight of Gessler Brothers. It can be surmised that the Gessler Brothers might be having a thriving business earlier, which began to decline after the Industrial Revolution and the use of advertisements to sell products. The narrator came to know of their miserable condition only when Mr. Gessler once spoke bitterly about the hardships of his trade. And the narrator was so deeply touched that he ordered many pairs of shoes.
The narrator was shocked to find that outside one of the two little windows of their shop another name was painted, suggesting that they had given away one half of their shop. So out of compassion, the narrator ordered three pairs of shoes though he needed only two. The narrator had empathy for Mr. Gessler and tried to help him by ordering all kinds of shoes on his next visit, although he had doubts whether Mr. Gessler would be able to deliver his order. On getting the shoes, the narrator immediately sent a cheque to pay for the order. However, when after a week he visited the Gessler Brothers, he got the shock of his life to find that Mr. Gessler had died and his shop had been taken over by a new firm. The narrator had tears in his eyes when he got the news. This shows the narrator as a sensitive man, who had compassion for the Gessler Brothers.
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