Summary of ‘The Rattrap’
(By: Selma Lagerlof)
This chapter sheds light on human’s loneliness and its dire consequences. It revolves around a rattrap seller who roams here and there in order to sell his rattraps which he makes by begging the material from the farms. Besides, he often remains involved in begging and petty thieveries for his survival.
While he is walking or lost in his meditations, he considers this world as rattrap where every human is trapped just for the sake of little money, greed and love. He is neither welcomed nor sheltered by anyone in this world rather shooed away by the people because of his odd habits and shabby appearance.
Once he is sheltered by a crofter who lives alone and depends on his bossy cow for his survival. The crofter, having sympathized with the rattrap seller, shows latter his hardly-earned thirty kronors which is, later on, stolen by the rattrap seller taking the undue advantage of his leniency.
Having stolen the money, the rattrap seller runs through the woods but he soon realizes that he has been trapped by those thirty kronors and now he can’t come out of it. Soon, he hears the thumping of the iron and reaches Ramsjo Ironworks which is almost closed now. Only little part of it is working and used for production of good quality iron.
Over there, he is mistaken as an old acquaintance by the ironmaster who is the owner of that mill. He requests that vagabond to come to his home but declined by the peddler. After some time, his own daughter comes to invite the peddler and she succeeds too in that.
The following day, when the ironmaster sees the peddler in day broad light, the ironmaster realizes his mistake and decides to hand him over to the police. Edla intervenes and saves him from the anger of his despondent father. She requests her father to let the peddler celebrate Christmas with them. Her father accedes to her request and they all celebrate Christmas together.
On the next day, when Ironmaster and Edla go to Church, they get to know about the rattrap seller and his misdeed of stealing thirty kronors from the home of old crofter. They rush to their home and find that the peddler is already gone. On enquiry, they find that the peddler has left a package which contains a letter, a small rattrap and 30 kronors. Besides he thanks Edla for changing a wild beast into a man.
In this way, a beast is converted into a civilized man with love care and affection.
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THE RATTRAP (Long Answer Type Questions)
Q1. Give a brief character sketch of the rattrap seller.
The rattrap seller was a tramp who kept on wandering here and there for selling his hand made rattraps. He always wore rags and looked for a place for shelter. But he was neither welcome not respected anywhere. As a result, he thought that the world was a rattrap & they all were rats who had to get trapped into that rattrap that day or the previous day. He cheated on the man who sheltered him, offered him food and shared his emotions with him. He stole his thirty kronors and ran away through the woods where he found himself trapped. Later on, he reached Ramsjo iron mill where he was mistaken as an old acquaintance by the owner. He was brought to the home with the help of iron master’s daughter. He had gone there with an intention of stealing something but when he saw the hospitality of Edla, he mended his way and got changed into a man from a wild beast. In the end, he returned all the stolen kronors back to the crofter and thanked Edla for changing him into a man. In the end, he signed himself as Captain Von Stahle and returned back to his work.
Q2. Anyone can be changed with love and care? Do you agree with this statement? Give reasons in support to your answer.
Yes, I think anyone can be changed with love and affection. One can be made to understand by showing concern and attention towards him. Love is the only one that can help converting a wild beast into a man as we read in the chapter ‘The rattrap’ that how a man who was used to stealing and robbing the people. How he was transformed into a human by Edla through her love and respect. The man who thought of stealing others returned the stolen money and assured her of not repeating such mistakes again. In this way we can say that not only the rattrap seller but everyone in this world can be set to right way through love and respect towards him. Moreover, one should be given proper time and care to see the change in one’s life.
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