The Tiger in the Tunnel

by Ruskin Bond

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How does Baldeo display courage in his encounter with the tiger in "The Tiger in The Tunnel"? How does this relate to his family relationships?

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Courage is something that Baldeo shows in his confrontation with the tiger.  One of the most demonstrative aspects of this courage is that Baldeo only interacts with the tiger because he is earning extra income for his family.  He shows courage in being able to make a sacrifice for his family.  He knows that it is dangerous and that he could be threatened with the elements around him.  Yet, he shows courage in embodying what he needs to do and is courageous in how he never flinches from his responsibility.  Another layer of courage is seen in how Baldeo fights the tiger.  He never runs away from the tiger.  Knowing that there is no escape, Baldeo stands tall and meets the challenge posed by the tiger in the most direct way possible.  The tiger attacks and Baldeo is waiting there to bring his axe down on the tiger.  Courage is most visible in Baldeo's entire approach with the tiger.

Certainly, in creating a word sketch of Baldeo, one can see how this courage has transferred to his son. Tembu mourns for his father, but resumes his father's post at the tunnel.  A word sketch might involve the words "courage," "son" and "responsibility" for the son sees his own notion of responsibility in the same light as the father.  At the same time, I think that Tembu's coming of age is a reflection of his father's  courage. Tembu recognizes the courageous nature of his father, and through his father's example, he understand what it means to "be a man."  Tembu is able to assume his father's post and embrace his father's condition because of what he saw out of his father.  A word sketch in this light could consist of words such as "man" "duty," and "legacy" for in the end, Tembu understands these elements from what Baldeo displayed.

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