Literature & Life

The Best Representation of Child Psychology in The Lost Child by Mulk Raj Anand

The short story The Lost child is written by Mulk Raj Anand who is an Indian writer. He is considered as one of the pioneers of Indo-Anglian fiction. His most notable novels are UNTOUCHABLE, COOLIE, TWO LEAVES AND A BUD etc.

The present short story is the best example of Child Psychology. All the characters in the story are unnamed but they symbolise the actual relationship between a child and the parents. At the beginning of the story the writer describes the spring season. The people seem very happy in this season. Some people are walking on the road, some are riding on the horses and some are sitting and being carried in Bullock carts. This is the typical example of the atmosphere in the Indian villages.

With all these villagers; a couple and their child are also walking on the road. The child seems very happy and energetic because children always love to go out with their parents to the fairs and they are very curious about everything happening around them. This child also is enjoying his day out with his parents. The parents are repeatedly asking the boy to walk with them so that he is not left behind and the child is obediently following their orders but he is also carried away by the distractions around him. While walking; the boy finds a toy shop and he is fascinated by all the toys in the shop. He desires to possess all those toys and he is continuously looking at them. For a moment he forgets everything. Suddenly he hears his parents voice asking him to walk with them but still he could not take his eyes off from those toys. Somewhere in the corner of his mind he knows that if he asks his parents to buy a toy for him, they will coldly refuse… still he couldn’t suppress his desire and finally he says, “I want that toy.”

When the child asks for the toy, his father looks at him with anger which the boy knows very well is a look of denial but the boy’s mother handles this situation very cleverly as she knows exactly what to do in such situations so she tries to distract him by saying, “look child, what is before you…” and the child easily gets distracted because his mother shows him a beautiful flowering mustard field where there are dragonflies, bees and butterflies. The boy tries to catch one of the butterflies but suddenly his mother says, “come child, come on to the footpath.” While walking on the footpath, the boy observes insects and worms along with the footpath. After a while, his parents rest for a while in the shade of a grove and they ask their child to come there. The child gets very happy to see all the trees, flowers and birds there.

While walking in the fair the boy also finds a balloon seller. The boy is carried away by all the beautiful colours of those balloons. But again, he knows that his parents will never buy him the balloons by saying that he is too old to play with the balloons. So, he keeps on walking. Beside the road he sees a snake charmer who is playing a beautiful tune on his flute. The boy wants to hear that music but he suddenly remembers that his parents have forbidden him to hear such music. There is also a roundabout in the fair. The boy watches it and imagines himself in that roundabout. After a while the boy requests his parents to go on the roundabout. But he hears no reply from them. So, he turns back to see his parents… but they are not there he looks for them everywhere but he is not able find them.

Finally, he gets tired and afraid. And then he starts crying and starts running everywhere and shouts, “father mother!”  A man in the crowd hears him crying and so he lifts the boy in his arms and asks, “how did you get here child? whose boy are you?” The boy only says, “I want my mother, I want my father!” The man tries to console him by taking him to the roundabout and asks him whether he wants to ride the horse but the boy shouts, “I want my mother, I want my father!” So, the man takes him towards the snake charmer and asks the boy to listen to the nice music but the child does not show interest in that music and keeps on shouting, “I want my mother, I want my father!” The man keeps trying to distract the boy to make him quiet. He offers him balloons, sweets and Gulmohar garland but the boy seems uninterested in all of these things and just keeps sobbing, “I want my mother, I want my father!”

So, we can understand from this story that children get distracted very easily and they want everything that looks beautiful and colourful just like the boy in the story yet nothing is more important for them than their parents…!

J.G. More

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