Misunderstanding – Sri Lankan Literature


Summary & Analysis

J.S.Tissanayagam’s Misunderstanding

Subject-matter: A university student called Bandula trying to reach high society

Main theme: Inability to understand the inner mentality of another person

Sub themes: upper class mentality
mere ostentation
inaccessible goals inflict a person
The real person is hidden in one’s inner self.

Techniques: 3rd person narration, conversational tone

Language: simple and impressive

Comment on the following extract.

“The dirty bitch, he thought bitterly; just because he did not come from Colombo, did not go out dancing or speak kaduwa, she despised him and did not talk to him: it was not only she but also those dirty bitches. This was their superiority. But what irked him most was that he would have to put up with their snobbishness and the airs they give

This extract is from the short story, “Misunderstanding” by Tissanayagam. In the story he talks about a university student called Bandula who is trying to reach high society. This part is the anti-climax of the story. There is a junior university student; Sherine whom he thinks belongs to high society. One day while waiting at bus halt Bandula happens to meet Sherine. There he makes several desperate attempts to create a conversation with her. In his final attempt on the bus to buy her a ticket he gets a bitter experience. He thinks she intentionally told him a lie to evade him and bought the ticket for herself. This part reveals the thoughts that arise in Bandula’s mind after that experience. it reveals his tantalization and mental agony.