Compare and contrast the two people who came and sat on the bench with Norman Gortsby in "Dusk."

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Saki’s short story “Dusk,” Norman Gortsby sits on a park bench as evening arrives. As he sits on the bench, he is joined by two different men. Gortsby considers dusk to be the time of day when those who do not want to be seen during the light of day emerge. It is the time when those who are less fortunate, or down on their luck, come out onto the streets of London.

The first gentleman is older, reasonable dressed, and silent. Gortsby imagines him to be past his prime and relevance. After a short time, he gets up to leave and walks slowly away into the night without engaging in conversation.

As soon as the elderly gentleman leaves, a younger one arrives. This young man is better dressed and immediately more talkative. He engages Gortsby by telling him a sad tale of being in an unfamiliar city and losing his way. He describes how, after going out to buy a bar of soap, he cannot find his way back to his hotel.

He is a sharp contrast to the first man who is older and silent. The first gentleman was non-descript while the second was animated and cunning as he attempts to panhandle money from his companion on the bench.

I'm glad, anyhow, that you don't think the story outrageously improbable.

He threw a good deal of warmth into the last remark, as though perhaps to indicate his hope that Gortsby did not fall far short of the requisite decency.

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Dusk

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