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Please give a character sketch of the young man in the story "Dusk" by Saki.

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uuuuu123- | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:29 PM via web

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Please give a character sketch of the young man in the story "Dusk" by Saki.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:16 PM (Answer #1)

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In "Dusk," the young man is a scam artist. He sits on the bench next to Gortsby and begins to curse angrily. Gortsby questions his angry cursing. The young man begins to tell his sad story. He has lost his way back to his hotel. He had gone out for a bar of soap and wandered along the way to get a drink. Now, he has lost his way and cannot find his way back to his hotel. 

Gortsby does not fall for the young man's scam at first. Gortsby requests to see his bar of soap to corroborate his story. When the young man cannot produce a bar of soap, Gortsby doubts his story. 

The young man leaves with a feeling of defeat, muttering something about losing his bar of soap. He realizes Gortsby does not believe his scam. 

Then the young man gets lucky. Gortsby just happens to see a bar of soap near the park bench. He chases after the young man to give him his bar of soap. Gortsby also feels bad about misjudging the con artist and loans him money for the night. The young man takes the money and hurries off before Gortsby changes his mind. 

The young con artist gets away with his scam and Gortsby is out of his money. Gortsby will never see his money again. 

While walking past the park bench where Gortsby and the young man sat, Gortsby sees the older gentleman looking for something:

As Gortsby walks back, he passes the bench where he had been sitting. He notices the old man who had also been sitting there earlier. The old man is now searching for something. When Gortsby asks if the old man has lost anything, the man replies, “Yes, sir, a cake of soap.”

The young man was a lucky scam artist who has Gortsby's money and has now disappeared. 

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me1tsush | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:08 PM (Answer #2)

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the young man seems to be a poor guy who has been tricked by bad luck and forgetfulness. as the story unwinds we find that most of his mistakes can be summed up as willfull.

    later the young man asks for a financial help thus unleashing his main motive ,on being denied the young man got out of the place and gortsby feels proud that he was not to fast to judge the young person. from this point we get to know that the young man is a trickster with poor execution of his plan and in not a master in this profession , so he lacked the in sight of keeping  a back up plan. 

   at the end of the story we feel bad for gortsby and are surprised by the turn of fate in favour of the young man .

 

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 23, 2013 at 11:42 PM (Answer #3)

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One significant fact about the young man is that he is young. This suggests that he is inexperienced as a con artist. He is intelligent and probably has expensive tastes. He has gotten the notion that in a big city like London it might be possible to make a comfortable living without working. He has invented a story but has not tried it out yet. His approach to Gortsby might be his very first attempt to use it. The story is complicated. It consists of many interdependent elements. Supposedly he has just arrived in London from the country. He doesn't say that his parents have a country estate, but his vocabulary and mannerisms suggest that he belongs to the country gentry. He says that he doesn't know a soul in London. This suggests to Gortsby that he might have an opportunity to make a valuable friend with a member of a superior social class. And it wouldn't cost him anything, because the young man only needs to borrow money which he will repay as soon as he can get back into his original hotel room.

The young man's story shows that he is intelligent, articulate, imaginative, lazy, unscrupulous, temperamental, and probably fairly well educated. He may have even been to Eton and Oxford. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a Sherlock Holmes story about an educated middle-class man who discovered that he could make more money without working than he could by holding a steady job. That story is "The Man with the Twisted Lip." What happens to the young con man in Saki's story shows that he is inexperienced. He lacked the foresight to buy a cake of soap in able to be able to produce it as circumstantial evidence if someone like Gortsby asked to see it. The cake of soap induced Gortsby to lend the stranger a sovereign when Gortsby happened to find it near the park bench. If the stranger had been able to pull a cake of soap out of his pocket when Gortsby referred to it, then Gortsby probably would have lent him the sovereign right then and there. No doubt the young novice con artist will be carrying a cake of soap in the future--and he won't even have to buy one, because Gortsby has given him one as a present.

There are been several excellent movies about grifters produced in recent years. The best are The Grifters, House of Games, and Glengarry Glen RossThe Grifters is based on a novel of the same name by Jim Thompson, an interesting writer of the old hard-boiled school. David Mamet, a very talented writer, wrote both House of Games and Glengarry Glen Ross.

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