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What is a summary of Rabindranath Tagore's "The Lost Jewels?"

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manishamishra | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:23 PM via web

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What is a summary of Rabindranath Tagore's "The Lost Jewels?"

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kipling2448 | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM (Answer #1)

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Typical of stories emanating from the Bengali region of India, Rabindranath Tagore's story, "Monihara" or, as it is translated into English, "Lost Jewels," incorporates a healthy dose of mysticism and mystery.  

On the proverbial dark, stormy night, a school teacher walking along a river encounters a man on a boat and engages him in conversation.  The mysterious stranger tells the teacher about the history of a nearby gothic old dilapidated house that shows signs of having once been the domain of wealthy people.  The house, as described by the stranger, once belonged to a couple, Phanibhushan Saha and his wife, Monimalika.  A member's Bengal's elite, Phanibhushan and Monimalika live an isolated existence, surrounded by the trappings of wealth.  Monimalika spends much of her time handling and admiring her jewels. 

A fire destroys one of Phanibhushan's factories, leaving the couple destitute, with Monimalika's jewels representing their sole remaining source of wealth.  Fearful of Phanibhushan's desire to sell the jewels for much needed money, Monimalika chooses to protect them by wearing all of them at once, and promply disappears.  Increasingly despondent, Phanibhushan descends into a virtual state of emotional paralysis, unable to function in the absence of his wife and his wealth.  The story reaches its climax when a ghost-like figure visits him one dark and stormy night and seizes the one final piece of jewelry that was still in the house and departs, leaving Phanibhushan alone and terrified.

Phanibhushan clearly fits into the mold of Ebenezer Scrooge, and the "dark and stormy night" theme would later be employed to questionable effect by Snoopy.

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