A Gorilla in the Guest Room answers -Difference and Relationship between N’Pongo & Nandy


A Gorilla in the Guest Room

Question: With reference to Gerald Durrell’s short story ‘A Gorilla in the Guest Room’ State how were N’Pongo and Nandy different from each other. Discuss the relationship shared by them.

Answer: N’Pongo is the main protagonist of Gerald Durrell’s short story ‘ A Gorilla in the Guest Room‘ while Nandy, is a female gorilla was bought for fifteen hundred pounds by Gerald to give company to N’Pongo.
They both are quite different from each other in many ways –

  • Physical Appearance:

                          When author first met with N’ Pongo he narrates as –
  “He stood about eighteen inches high and was quite the most handsome and healthy looking baby  gorilla I had ever seen.” 
  N’Pongo was heavy for his size but it was all solid bone and muscle. His fur was thick, and  soft and light – chocolate coloured. His skin was soft and glossy as patent leather.
        “His eyes were small and deep – set, twinkling like chips of coal.”
Gerald was captivated by N’Pongo’s deep black eyes.

        Nandy, like N’Pongo, appeared to be in perfect condition. The author narrates about her as –
  ” her fur was glossy, she was fat, and her skin had a sheen like satin, but at first sight of her it was her eyes that impressed me most.”
   At one hand, N’Pongo’s eyes were small and deep set, calculating and full of humour. While on the other hand, Nandy’s eyes were large and lustrous and when she looked sideways she showed the whites of them. But her eyes were frightened looking.

  • Difference in Natures :

Both N’Pongo and Nandy were quite opposite in nature. N’ Pongo at one hand was pro human while on the other hand, Nandy was anti human natured.

  • N’Pongo’s nature- 

         N’Pongo was quite child like, who quite comfortably Kay in Gerald’s arms, and studied him carefully and played with his beard. He says –

           “He lay back in my arms and studied me carefully with an unwinking stare, and then lifted a  fat and gentle forefinger and investigated my beard. I tickled his ribs and he wriggled about in my arms, giggling hoarsely, his eyes shining with amusement.”

His child-like and innocent behaviour was also seen when he went off to investigate Mandy’s dish thinking it contained additional delicacies.


      N’Pongo was courteous and mannerly. His behaviour captivated Gerald and his family.
” when he became bored with lying on the sofa, he decided to make a circuit of the room to examine anything of interest. So he walked slowly round like a small black professor in a museum,…………. that  there was never any danger that he would break anything.” 

N’Pongo when walked round the room, examining things, he did it so gently that there was no danger of his breaking anything.

      His grave, courteous manner and his sad expression won over the author’s mother and his wife immediately and they supplied him with delicacies. Even the staff came upstairs to play homage  to him as if he were some black potentate. 


     N’Pongo was a happy gorilla who always playfully annoyed his partner only out of pure fun.

     This way we can say N’Pongo was a pro – human gorilla. 

  • Nandy’s anti – social nature – 

Unlike N’Pongo, Nandy was an anti social gorilla. She did not trust or respect humans. She looked at human beings with frightened eyes – 

” but they were frightened eyes that did not look at you squarely.” 

     The author did not blame on Nandy for  her anti social nature because there was a reason behind it – 

  ” right across the top of her skull was a scar which must  have measured six or seven inches in length.  Obviously when she was caught, some over enthusiastic and intrepid human being had given her a blow with a machete……..” This blow would have split her skull in two.

     Nandy had proper respect for herself and her rights. When N’Pongo pulled a handful of her hair, she disapproves this act with a grunt. 

      She also knew how to claim her rights. When N’Pongo as usual, slept on his wooden shelf alone, Nandy sat like a ” thwarted suffragette ” and by the evening of next day “succeeded to claim her position.”

  Unlike N’Pongo, Nandy was much quieter, introspective and watchful.

        Since N’Pongo and Nandy both were quite opposite to each other, Gerald was initially quite unsure about their relation. He did not know how the pro – human N’Pongo, would react to Nandy’s anti – human attitude and her gloominess.

        When Nandy was shifted to the N’Pongo’s large cage, she looked distrustful towards N’Pongo.
“There she put her back to the wall and squatted, her eyes darting to and fro with a curiously suspicious yet  belligerent expression on her face.”
      N’Pongo also showed uninterested, while sitting up on a branch.
They both sat steadily contemplating each other, for some time then N’Pongo rolled himself to the ground. Then he walked in a swagger, close to Nandy and without looking at her, gripped a handful of her hair and pulled it and hurried towards the perimeter of the cage as though nothing had happened. Before Nandy realised what had happened, he was far away from her, she could only disapprove this act with a grunt of indignation.

      When the author and his team presented two dishes full of fruits, one to Nandy and another to N’Pongo. N’Pongo after having examined his own plate, decided to investigate Nandy’s plate as if it had contained some addition delicacies.
          Although, they were so different in character, they plainly adored one another.
N’Pongo was the great giggling clown of the pair, while Nandy was much quieter more introspective and watchful.” 

       N’Pongo used to annoy Nandy only out of pure fun. He would bully or tease her without any malice and out of a pure sense of fun and Nandy realized this. 

It was as if Nandy was “like being married to a professional practical joker.” 

When she reached the limit of her endurance, she would lose her temper and chased him round the cage. N’Pongo would giggle hysterically on it.

    ” If she caught him, she would belabour him with her fists while  N’Pongo lay on the ground curled up in a ball.”

 Even after this he would think of other tricks to annoy his wife.

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