The Vendor of Sweets

by R. K. Narayan

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How is Jagan's garden described and used in his daily life in The Vendor of Sweets?

Quick answer:

Jagan’s garden is lush and quiet and serves as a retreat from modern daily life.

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In chapter 8, the bearded man takes Jagan on a tour of his “garden.” The space is lush. There’s a pond, stone, mango trees, and “vegetation of every type.” There are also monkeys and snakes. Jagan marvels at how quiet the garden is. The silence and abundance of nature leave him feeling like he’s entered another time; it’s as if he’s not a part of modern life. The tranquil, calming atmosphere of the garden makes Jagan’s current problems and obligations—like his store and his wayward son—seem alien. He thinks he might be heading toward a different way of life. “Am I on the verge of a janma?” he wonders.

By the end of the chapter, Jagan is given the chance to buy the garden. Jagan is reluctant. He tries to dismiss the offer with laughter. The man remains serious. Jagan then admits that he needs a retreat. He thinks about how he’s at a point in his life where he could use a fresh environment. Before the chapter concludes, Jagan and the man reach a deal. The garden becomes Jagan’s garden.

Jagan’s garden has a dramatic impact on his daily life. The experience in the garden changes how Jagan treats his son. Instead of pampering him, he holds him accountable for his actions. He wants Mali to spend time in prison. He also surrenders his business to his cousin. Such steps are taken so that Jagan can escape from his materialistic daily life and form a new spiritual daily life in his serene garden.

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