Discuss the art of Ruskin Bond as depicted in the story ‘A face in the Dark.’
A Face in the Dark is a short story by Ruskin Bond. It’s the story set on a windy night when Mr Oliver, an Anglo-Indian teacher, dares to walk through the pine forest on his way back to the school after an evening at Simla Bazaar. He comes across a weeping boy who lifts his face, which is not a face but a flat something without eyes, nose or mouth. Mr Oliver runs only to bump into a watchman who again had a face like that of the faceless boy.
In this story Ruskin Bond yet again proves he is a master story teller. He draws on his travels, interactions with people, and his bonding with them gives them the confidence to share their stories with him which then he presents in the same tone and style bringing his silent listener’s great talent in it. His writing skill lies in the way he graphically uses his language and imagination to transport us to the hills and watching the sun setting beautifully and the dark night enveloping the forest with the wind howling in the trees to create an eerie and strange atmosphere. The imagery abounds in supernaturalism and paranormal scenes. The image of a lonely boy in the night in a dark forest amidst the howling wind $nd rustling leaves, sitting on a rock ‘racked by silent weeping’ not only evokes a feeling of strangeness, of impending horror but also of sympathy for a weeping child. Thus a mastery of language helps him to achieve this effect. Ruskin Bond stories are not horror they are like haunting experiences. The experience is not dangerous, life threatening or altering -it is just different. It is honest and believable.
The story is eerie, leaving one haunted in a melancholy sort of way, and is beautifully written. In his stories, ghosts, jinns, witches—and the occasional monster—are as real as the people he writes about. He makes the supernatural appear entirely natural, and therefore harder to ignore.
He adroitly uses language to create his mysterious and strange atmosphere. He opens the story with a everyday, normal occurrence and through the use of words and phrases like ‘sad,’ ‘eerie sounds,’ ‘racked with silent sobbing,’ ‘shook convulsively’ succeeds in creating an atmosphere replete with supernatural and fearful connotations. Thus we can rightly say that he is a story teller par excellence and a master of his craft.