Can anyone tell the summary of "Dusk"? 

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

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In the story "Dusk," Gortsby is sitting on a park bench. Gortsby has a theory. He believes people who live defeated lives wander about at dusk. Dusk is the time of day when it is almost dark. It is more difficult to recognize people at this time of day.

At dusk, people who live defeated lives are seen wandering about the park. These defeated people feel safe from speculation at dusk. No one will notice them. 

On this particular day, Gortsby is sitting on a park bench. He is feeling a bit defeated himself. While he sits, an older gentleman sits down. Gortsby imagines that he gets no respect at home. Soon, the older gentleman leaves and a younger man sits down. He is complaining that he cannot find his way back to his hotel. He only went out to buy a bar of soap and now he cannot find his way back. 

Gortsby considers himself a good judge of character. At first, he does not believe the young man's sad story because he does not have a bar of soap to corroborate his story. 

The young man who appears to be a scam artist feels defeat once again and rises to leave. After he leaves, Gortsby just happens to see a bar of soap under the park bench. Feeling that he should do a good deed and run after the young man, Gortsby chases the young man down. He gives the young man his bar of soap. Gortsby also loans the young man money to help him out of his situation. 

Feeling that he has done a good deed, Gortsby walks past the park bench and sees the old man 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.”

Now, Gortsby is feeling he has been duped by the young man. At the end of the story, he realizes he will never see the money he loaned the young man. The young man has Gortsby's money. He lives off gullible people. Ironically, Gortsby knew better than to believe the young man's story but a bar of soap changed everything. Gortsby will never see his money again. 

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

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In "Dusk," by Saki, Gortsby is the main character. He is cynical, believing that dusk is the hour of the defeated. He believes that those who live a life of defeat come crawling out at dusk, the hour that the sun has gone down, just before dark.

Gortsby is sitting on a park bench at dusk. He is observing the other people. He notices that the first man who sits down is down and out, dejected. He imagines that he gets no respect at home.

While Gortsby is observing, the first man leaves and the second man sits down. He is dressed better than the first man. He has a story to tell. He has forgotten the name of his hotel. He had only gone out to get a bar of soap. Now, he cannot remember the name of his hotel, and he has no money with him.

Gortsby would have believed this story had the young man been able to produce a bar of soap. Realizing his con did not work, the second man leaves. Gortsby is feeling confident in his cynicism until he notices a bar of soap under the park bench. Gortsby rushes to catch up with the younger man. He gives him his bar of soap and some money. Gortsby feels embarrassed at not believing the second man's story.

At this time, the first gentleman returns and is looking for something. Gortsby learns that he had dropped a bar of soap. Now, Gortsby realizes that he has been conned by the second man. No doubt, he shall never see his money again. Gortsby was right in his frist interpretaion of the young man's story. Dusk is truly the hour of the defeated.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The short story "Dusk" is a tale of a man, Norman Gortsby, who goes out into the dusk, because the dusk is "the hour of the defeated." This is actually ironic given the conclusion of the story.

Norman, out for a walk, comes upon a bench where he decides to sit. Once Norman takes a seat, the old man leaves. The empty place on the bench is taken immediately by a young man. The young man is very distraught. The young man goes on to tell Norman how he has come to this place.

The young man is visiting the city. Upon leaving his hotel, the young man bought a bar of soap and had a drink. After the drink, the young man realized that he could not remember where his hotel was or the name of the hotel. He only brought a small amount of money with him and has none left. He asks Norman for a loan.

Norman tells the young man that his story would be more believable if he actually had the soap. The young man, angered, leaves. Norman looks down and finds a bar of soap. Norman then goes to find the young man, give him back his soap and loan him the money he asked for.

After finding the young man, Norman returns to the bench. Soon the old man returns looking for the bar of soap he dropped when getting up so quickly.


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