ISC Echoes Quality question Answers – Mr. Gessler was destroyed but not defeated



Question: In the story ‘Quality’ Mr. Gessler was destroyed but not  defeated. Do you agree with this statement. Justify your answer with examples from the story.

Answer : ‘Quality’ by John Galsworthy is indeed the story of Mr. Gessler’s triumph over crushing adversities.
‘Quality’ tells the story of Mr. Gessler, a German shoemaker, known for making best  boots in whole London. Mr. Gessler was a man of integrity and complete dedication to his work. He used the  best quality leather. He only tailor made shoes according to the requirements of individual customer and their shoes lasted terribly long. As the  narrator says-
Some as it were, essence of boot stitched into them.”

        Mr. Gessler regards his business of shoemaking not merely as a craft but a sublime art, and he loved his art. He seemed to be well – versed in his vocation that he could tell whether the shoes were made by him or somebody else by simply looking at them. He could also find out where the shoe might be hurting the wearer by just looking at them. For him what mattered more than money was the quality of his shoes and customer satisfaction.

     Mr. Gessler was against mass production. During the Industrial Revolution, where the other big firms with huge capital had sophisticated machinery and money to advertise their products, Mr. Gessler did all the work with his hands from working on leather, taking measurements, designing and finalising the shoes. Mr. Gessler refuses to give into modern business practises. Whereas  his competitors depend on advertisement, Gessler’s approach is minimalist in nature. The narrator says –
“….there was no sign upon its face that  he made for any of the Royal Family – merely his own German name of Gessler Both and in the window a few pair of boots.”

     He always used the best quality leather, never used any machinery but handcrafted the boots himself. But he can’t make ends meet. His competitors advertise their cheap and lower quality products to lure the customers, which the Gesslers do not.  He tells the narrator that  “ Dose big virms ‘ave no self respect.”
        People buy the lower quality boots from other sellers who were aggressively market.

       Due to competition from big firms and using old methods of  production Mr. Gessler lost  his business. He had to give up one – half of his shop as he could not afford it’s rent. But he never thought about hiking the price of his shoes or using lower quality leather for making shoes to make good profit. His elder brother could not get over this shock of losing their Sanctum Sanctorum so he died.
             Mr. Gessler continued with his style of shoemaking, without compromising on quality but his own needs like food and sleep. He worked day and night. He died of slow starvation.

        These are crushing adversities, and in the end, they kill Mr. Gessler. However, he triumph that he never compromises on quality. His craft comes before his profit. Mr. Gessler sacrificed his life for the love of his work. He was destroyed but not defeated.

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