Student Question

Can you summarize the short story, "The Woman on Platform Eight"?

Expert Answers

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The story is essentially about how different people can bisect and intersect into the trajectories of our lives and how, just for an instant, their presence can make all the difference for that moment.  I realize that this is a great deal to take in out of the story, but I think that this might be one of Bond's motivations.  There is a love of people that is evident in both Bond's writings and in this short story.  The story of Arun takes place at a train station, where he awaits a train and is interrupted by an old woman who tends to him and takes care of him, if only for a moment.  The old woman literally comes out of nowhere and feeds him, tends to him, and listens to him as if he is the center of the universe.  There is a universal feeling that she represents the essence of a "Mother Earth" figure, tending to her young.  When his train arrives and he leaves, he bids her farewell, not as a stranger, but as "mother."  If there is a lesson here, it might be that in a world where we are taught to fear everyone and hold skepticism of everything that is unknown to us, there might be moments where individuals reveal themselves to be the representation of caring and love.  The only appropriate response to such moments is to be receptive to compassion and love and to embrace these moments, as Arun did.  In the end, these moments cannot be planned or anticipated.  They just happen. As they do, we are suddenly thrust into a position where our humanity is called upon and the only thing of which we are in control is whether or not we are able to reveal it in that instant of time.

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