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Justify the title of "Dusk" in H.H. Munro's story.

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The title of Saki's short story,"Dusk," is appropriate given the setting of the story. Norman Gortsby, the protagonist of the story, defines dusk as "the hour of the defeated." Given that Norman is out at dusk, one can only asume that he will find defeat by the end of the tale.

For Norman, dusk provides the cover that those who are hiding their "shabby clothes and bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes." Not wanting to be seen by the successful, dusk provides the shadowing needed to hide their failures.

At the end of the story, Norman has fallen victim to one of the successful. Spinning a story about having no cash and friends, a young man is able to prove Norman to be one of the people of dusk. Therefore, the title of the story is appropriate given not only does it describe part of the setting, it describes the figurative partial darkness of Norman's trust in mankind.

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Is "Dusk" by Saki (H. H. Munro) an appropriate title for the story? Justify.

The title "Dusk" seems quite appropriate for Saki's story for several reasons. Obviously, it creates a mood associated with the setting. Most importantly, however, is the fact that dusk is the time when certain types of criminals are most likely to come out to prey on the public. These would include prostitutes as well as con artists like the young man who claims to have lost his hotel.

The time was early in the twentieth century. London streets were patrolled on foot by policemen well acquainted with their particular beats and capable of spotting any irregularities, which would include people soliciting others. Dusk provided a protective cover for people like the young con man.

Dusk also lent credibility to his story. He badly needed a roof over his head before nightfall or he might have to sleep on the Thames embankment. It would be a very cold and dangerous place to sleep. Hopefully, this fact would help to elicit sympathy and help to make the young man appear to be a respectable citizen who was not accustomed to asking strangers for money but was forced to do so because of his increasingly desperate circumstances.

Saki opens his story with a description of the setting from Gortsby's point of view.

Dusk, to his mind, was the hour of the defeated. Men and wowmen, who had fought and lost, who hid their fallen fortunes and dead hopes as far as possible from the scrutiny of the curious, came forth in this hour of gloaming, when their shabby clothes and bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes might pass unnoticed, or, at any rate, unrecognized.

Gortsby has money in his pocket and is sitting fully at ease. He does not feel particularly sorry for these defeated men and women. He is

. . . not disinclined to take a certain cynical pleasure in observing and labelling his fellow wanderers as they went their ways in the dark stretches between the lamp-lights.

This description of the unhappy wanderers at dusk and of Gortsby's cynical attitude are most important to the story. He is going to undergo a transformation when he finds the cake of soap by the bench and naturally assumes the young con man dropped it. Gortsby suddenly feels guilt, shame, and remorse as he hurries after the young stranger to lend him the money he needs for a room. No doubt Gortsby is castigating himself for his cynicism and cruelty, vowing to change his attitude towards suffering humanity as a result of this lesson he has learned. He actually says to himself:

"It's a lesson to me not to be too clever in judging by circumstances."

Then as he is returning to the vicinity of the park bench, he sees an elderly gentleman searching for something and learns that the cake of soap belonged to him. This proves that Gortsby was right in being cynical and selfish in the first place. The elderrly gentleman who says he lost a cake of soap may be a con man himself. He may have left it there on purpose, intending to come back and use it as an excuse for starting a conversation with Gortsby, leading up to the same story about having lost his hotel and needing a loan to get a room somewhere for the night.

Gortsby's experience dramatizes Saki's philosophy that this is a cold, cruel world in which you can't trust anybody. Saki was described in a Wikipedia article as a Tory and something of a reactionary. Early in "Dusk" he describes the wanderers in the dusk as "men and women, who had fought and lost." From his perspective, life is a struggle of all against all, of "survival of the fittest."

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Justify the title of H. H. Munro's story, "Dusk." Why is this title appropriate?

The title of "Dusk" for Saki's story is indeed appropriate on both the literal and the figurative levels.  For, it defines the setting which is at twilight, the time when the defeated come to the park:

The scene pleased Gortsby and harmonised with his present mood.  Dusk, to his mind, was the hour of the defeated.  Men and women, who had fought and lost, who hid their fallen fortunes and dead hopes as far as possible from the scrutiny of the curious came forth in this of gloaming....

Besides being a time that matches his mood, the dusk matches his psychological state,as well. It deceives an unknowing Grotsby, lending the title the figurative meaning of murky judgments about others.  For, Grotsby believes that he can discern the motivations of others, but, like the twilight itself, he is really unclear and is defeated in his assessment of the youth who sits by him on the bench.  So, for Grotsby, dusk truly is the hour of the defeated.

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What is the justification of the title of the story "Dusk"?

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What is the justification of the title of the story "Dusk"?

The title of Saki's short story "Dusk" can be justified in that criminals usually do their work in darkness or near darkness as in "Dusk." Criminals are rarely seen doing criminal activity in the daylight. They want to protect their identities; therefore, they come out at dark.

In this short story, Gortsby is correct in that people who are defeated or dejected often show up at dusk. They too are protecting their identities. Many are ashamed of their failures and do not desire to be recognized.

Dusk is a perfect time to meander about without fear of recognition. All people have to come out at some point. It makes sense that those who fear being recognized for their failures would prefer to come out when it is nearly dark. Since most people have to come out sooner or later, waiting until it is nearly dark helps conceal their identities. No one will hassle them about their defeats or failures. Hopefully, no one will recognize them.

Saki wrote about the criminal attitudes and behaviors of man. He clearly understood human behavior. He realized that criminals or those who are just defeated would tend to protect themselves from others:

Many of his brilliantly crafted, deeply sarcastic pieces, however, deal with the criminal impulse of man.

At dusk, people appear as shadows. One shadow turns into another shadow. No doubt, the short story's title is justified. Near dark is a perfect time to come out without recognition.

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Justify the title "Dusk" with close reference to the story?

Saki devotes considerable attention to describing one section of the city at dusk.

The scene pleased Gortsby and harmonized with his present mood. Dusk, to his mind, was the hour of the defeated.

But it is not only the defeated who come out in the evening. The darkness makes it easier for con men to operate. After all, what they are doing is against the law, and they can get arrested for misdemeanors such as vagrancy and panhandling. The laws in England in Saki's day were undoubtedly much more strictly enforced than such laws are enforced in modern America. The streets were patrolled by uniformed officers, and these men would be on the lookout for law breakers.

It would appear that both the men Gortsby encounters while sitting on the park bench are con artists who happen to be working exactly the same scam. The elderly gentleman probably has more experience and hence has provided a tangible bar of soap to substantiate his story when he tells it. He drops the soap near the bench and then comes back to retrieve it, giving him an excuse to start a conversation with Gortsby, as he actually does in the story.

"Have you lost anything, sir?"

"Yes, sir, a cake of soap."

Is it too much of a coincidence that both con men should approach the same person on the same bench and tell him the same story? Gortsby probably looks like a good mark because he is well dressed and seems approachable. His meditations as he surveys the passing parade of humanity suggests a certain kind of unguarded and vulnerable body language. The fact that both predators have the same story might only mean that this is the story that is going the rounds among their colleagues. Nowadays, the most common stories we hear from minor con men are either that they need money to make a phone call or that they have run out of gas and need to buy just one gallon to get home. But after people have heard the same sob story for a long enough time, somebody has to invent a new one which will inevitably be copied by others.

Assuming both the young man and the elderly gentleman are con men, they have probably both waited until dark to ply their trade. Dusk is the ideal time. If they waited too long there would be fewer pedestrians on the streets, and people would be harder to approach in the dark of night. They themselves would become more conspicuous to the policemen because there would be fewer people around them. On the other hand, if they started operating in broad daylight they would stand a much better chance of getting arrested.

It was important for Saki to establish that it was dark--but not too dark. That was why he described the atmosphere of dusk and even gave his story the title "Dusk."

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