R. K. Narayan Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What is the conclusion about Swami's character at the end of the story "Swami and the Sum"?

At the end of the story, "Swami and the Sum," Swami's character is revealed to be quite typical of a child. While his father is concerned about Swami's ability to correctly solve a math problem, Swami is imaginative and thoughtful, attempting to take into consideration everything that he knows about the characters, mangoes, and fairness. His father's treatment of him will likely compel him to become like his father and like many adults who have lost their own imaginations.

Expert Answers info

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write7,336 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

Swami's father has presented him with a word problem about two popular avatars of the Hindu god, Vishnu: Rama, who is known for his purity, and Krishna, who is known for his compassion and tenderness. Swami's father is really only concerned with whether or not his son can do the math problem presented by the textbook, but Swami himself is concerned with whether or not the mangoes are ripe and with whether or not the price of fifteen annas is appropriate for these ten mangoes. If the mangoes are unripe, Swami feels, then the price Rama sets is too high.

Furthermore, since Rama is associated with purity and fidelity, it would seem to go against his character to try to cheat Krishna. On the other hand, he thinks, it is impossible for Swami to know what the "fool Krishna" might pay for four mangoes. It is telling, I think, that the avatar associated with compassion is thought of as a "fool" by Swami, a young boy.

Swami is concerned about what is fair, even perhaps considering what he knows...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1,033 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Philip Arrington eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write1,400 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,809 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write3,286 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial