The Raffle, V.S. Naipaul
-Who? It's the story of a scholar called Vidiadhar Naipaul. Unlike the other boys, he never gets beaten, humiliated or punished by his teacher, the cross Mr Hinds. In class, Mr Hinds calls him by his first name, contrarily to the other pupils. The boys of his class don't like him much and tend to neglect him (“At cricket Iwasn't allowed to bowl or keep wicket and I always went in at number eleven”, page 9).
The scholars say that Mr Hinds' “weak spot” is that he's poor, and that it's for this reason that he gives the pupils private lessons for which he forces them to pay. If the child refuses, he gets beaten, but as the pupils tend to fear him (“It wouldn't have been so bad if Mr Hinds hadn't been so young andathletics”, page 8), they usually accept to pay for the private lessons.
-Where? The story is set in Trinidad, at a Hindu school called Endeavour.
-When? The author of the story tells about his childhood, at an age when he was old enough to go to Queen's Royal College (“My consolation was that I was spending only two terms at the school before going on to Queen's Royal College”, page 9) whenhe was about eleven years old, that means in the 1940's.
The event that sets the story in motion is when Vidiadhar wins a goat in a raffle that Mr Hinds organized. The boys of his class were sure that it would be him who would get it because he's his favorite pupil, and they were right (“Mr Hinds borrowed my cap, put the slips in, took one out, said “Vidiadhar, is your goat”, andimmediately threw all the slips into the wastepaper basket”, page 10).
Soon after he gets the goat, Vidiadhar realizes that it doesn't give any milk although it eats grass all day. His mother decides to put a sign “Ram for service, apply within for terms” in front of the house. Some days later, a man comes grumbling about the fact the Vidiadhar's mother charged his brother withthis useless goat. Mrs Naipaul gives him his money back and gets back the goat. When Vidiadhar tells Mr Hinds that his mother doesn't want of the goat anymore, the teacher buys it back. Some weeks later, another goat raffle is organized, and Vidiadhar forced to contribute.
The turning point
Once again, the goat is won by Vidiadhar.
As Vidiadhar's mother had expected it,she sent a man to get the goat from Mr Hinds'. The man gives some money to Mrs Naipaul and takes away the goat.
Vidiadhar hopes that Mr Hinds won't ask about his goat anymore, but the teacher does. The boy doesn't answer anything, and one of his classmates answers “What goat? That goat kill and eat long time.”.
Vidiadhar isn't treated the same way as before by Mr Hinds. Theteacher “forgets” his first name and calls him by his last name, Naipaul, because he's outraged by the fact that the boy sold his goat. The boy gets beaten by him and never goes to Endeavour again.
In this story the conflict is external: it occurs between Vididhar and Mr Hinds. The object of the conflict is the goat: none of them wants to keep it because it eats a lot withoutproducing anything.
The story takes place in a city called Port of Spain (“Miguel Street”, page 11) in Trinidad, in the 1940's, during the author's childhood. Most of the actions take place in Endeavour school, in Vidiadhar's classroom. Endeavour's students are issued of middle class or higher, because they consider their teacher Mr Hinds as poor even though he owns an allotment (“We alsoknew that Mr Hinds had an allotment in Morvant where he kept some poultry and a few animals”, page 9).
The major characters are Vidiadhar and Mr Hinds. The minor characters are Vidiadhar's mother and Knolly (the boy that said “That goat eat and kill long time”).
About Vidiadhar Naipaul
The characterization is direct.
We don't know anything about Vidiadhar's physical...