ISC Echoes Quality : character sketch of Mr. Gessler



:   Give a character sketch of Mr. Gessler as depicted in John Galsworthy’s ‘Quality’.

:   Mr. Gessler is the younger of the two Gessler Brothers is the main protagonist of John Galsworthy’s short story “Quality“.
He is a traditional German shoemaker who values quality of the shoes more than the profit.

Physical appearance : 

       Mr. Gessler, a little, short statured man with ” his yellow crinkly face and crinkly reddish hair and beard,…….his guttural and one – toned voice ” , it suggests that, his face was pale with lots of wrinkles and reddish hair and beard. His voice was guttural, in conformity with his German origin.  He has been described “as if made from leather “, suggesting that he was firm like leather but also ” stiff and slow of purpose ” i.e. slow in execution.
                   The narrator has highlighted the importance of Mr. Gessler’s  “gray – blue” eyes by divesting them with “the simple gravity of one secretly possessed by the ideal.” This indicates that Mr. Gessler ‘s ideal of being a perfectionist reflected in his eyes.

Hardworking shoemaker: 

             Mr. Gessler is presented as a hardworking shoemaker ,tirelessly making boots since his youth, Mr. Gessler ‘s mission in life seemed to make best quality shoes as per the demands of his customers.

As a passionate artist :

        For Mr. Gessler shoemaking was a sacred vocation. It was not merely a profession, but a sublime art of which he was a passionate artist. Once the narrator asked him whether his work of shoemaking was awfully hard. Gessler answered with a smile “ID is an Ardt !” (It is an art).
               He was highly passionate about shoemaking as is evident from the fact that he performed all the activities himself like working on leather, taking measurements and stitching the shoes. He made sure that the shoes  made by him were not only durable but also comfortable.
      The narrator says about his shoes –
“his boots lasted terribly, having something beyond the temporary – some, as it were, essence of boot stitched into them.” 
As a perfectionist :
          Mr. Gessler was a perfectionist. That is why he used to make shoes only on orders, according to the requirement of the individual customers. He was against mass production. He made sure that every shoes he made were not only durable but also comfortable. Quality was more important than quantity to Gessler Brothers. He was so well versed in his vocation that he could tell whether the shoes were made by him or somebody else by simply looking at them. Once the narrator went to the Gessler ‘s shop wearing a shoe bought from another firm, Gessler simply pressed his finger on the place where the left shoe was not quite comfortable.

As a man of honesty and integrity : 

        Mr. Gessler was a man of honesty and integrity. He never compromised on quality and excellence, even if it meant more work, decreasing customers and profit. He always used the best leather  and took his time to make perfect pair of shoes. For him quality and customer satisfaction is more important than money.  Once the narrator complained about a pair of shoes that he had bought from him creaked. Mr. Gessler was quite shocked ,it was hard to believe for him. He asked the narrator not only  to bring back the shoes to him for repair but also he promised to take them off the bill if they could not be repaired.
        Even, during his last days when he was on the verge of shutting down his business, he still did not compromise on quality and made the  best ever shoes he had made and without hiking the price.

As a man of devotion and commitment :

       Mr. Gessler devoted his entire life for making best quality shoes. He was well – versed in his work and loved it more than himself. He used to do all his  work himself from taking measurements, working on the leather, designing the shoes and giving the finished products. He was against the use of machinery, he used to make shoes in traditional way. He had to face stiff competition from big firms , which had sophisticated machinery and huge capital to advertise their product. But Mr. Gessler believed in quality. He forced to give away a part of his shop. His elder brother could not get over the pain of losing one part of their shop and died.  Mr. Gessler despite losing his brother and part of his shop , continued to his business with same commitment. His commitment to his work was so strong that he gave no time to eat and relax. He became penniless all his profit went in giving rent and buying best quality leather. But for him his commitment to his work  and customer satisfaction is more important than his needs. He finally died of ‘ slow starvation’. 

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