Summary of ‘The Letter’ Chapter 3, Class X

This chapter centres around an old man who wakes up early in the morning and goes to world’s most uninteresting building i.e Post office to receive his daughter’s letter. On reaching there, he squats on his particular position in the post office where he has been sitting for almost half a decade. He gets to hear the names being called at the post office such as; police superintendent and many more. At the same time, he hears somebody calling his name. When he stands up, he finds that he is being mocked by the clerks deliberately even when there is no letter from his daughter for him.

He comes back to home and follows the same routine patiently even when there is no response from his daughter. He has been bearing this pain (of not receiving his daughter’s letter) for five years.

According to the narrator, Ali, in his youth, used to be a very clever Shikari. He had separated many young partridges from their parents by killing them. Therefore he felt that he was suffering due to his karma of bereaving younger ones (partridges) from their parents.

Having been tired of going to the post office , he goes to the post office for the last time keeping his approaching death and ens in mind. But, it does not change the mindset of the post master and his clerks. Yet, they make fun of him calling him a ‘pest’ and a ‘madman’. While leaving, a clerk namely ‘Laxmi Das’ follows him and Ali hands him five golden guineas and request him to keep the letter on his grave when it comes. He also adds that these five guineas are useless for him but they can be helpful to the clerk.

After few months, the postmaster daughter falls ill which makes him sad and monotonous. He decides to stay in the post office but he could not sleep for the whole night owing to the pain & excitement of receiving his daughter’s letter the next morning. On scrounging the heap of letters next morning, he finds Ali’s daughter’s (Miriam) letter and he realises the pain of Ali who had been coming to receive his daughter’s letter regularly for five years. He starts waiting for Ali and soon some body knocks on the door. On opening the door, he find Ali standing over there whose eyes are teemed with tears. He starts talking to Ali and shares his pain too of not receiving his daughter’s letter when he is startled by the voice of Laxmi Das.

The clerk asks the postmaster who he is talking to. The postmaster replies that he was talking to Ali. Having heard him talking about Ali, the clerk can’t believe him & tells the postmaster that he had gone to Ali’s village where he got to know that Ali had died three months ago. The postmaster can’t believe in the words of Laxmi Das but soon realises that it was probably the soul of Ali whom he had been talking to. They both go to Ali’s grave and keep his daughter’s letter over there as promised by Laxmi Das. The postmaster regrets his act of ridiculing Ali. a helpless father, He comes back tortured with doubt and remorse and sits alongside the sigri while waiting for his daughter’s letter.



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