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What is the significance of the title "Dusk?" "Dusk" by Saki (H.H. Munro)

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The title is a double entendre.  On the one hand, the story takes place at dusk as Norman Grotsby sits "heartsore and disillusioned" in the twilight where others cannot discern the woe upon his face.  On the other hand, Grotsby, who cynically regards others, passing judgment upon them as they pass, ironically becomes the victim of his own judgments in the "dusk" of his complacency in his ability. Thus, there is the physical dusk of the environment as well as the psychological dusk of Grotsby's character.

Both circumstances of dusk--the real and the psychological--are essential to Saki's story.  For, the effective irony of his story depends upon the setting as well as the interior judgments of Norman Grotsby.  Indeed, the title is very significant as proven by the narrative and the authorial techniques, not just by opinion.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In my opinion, the significance of this title is mainly a figurative one -- the title emphasizes one of the major themes that the author is trying to convey.

I think that a major theme of this story is that we human beings really do not have a good way to know other people.  We think we can tell who is honest and who is not, but we are really not able to do this.  If this is the case, we can compare our perceptions of other people to dusk.  Dusk is a time when you can still kind of see the world around you, but it is not very clear.  You might think you see things, but you might be wrong.

So the author is using this title, in my opinion, to show that we cannot understand other people any more clearly than we can see in the dusk.

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