ISC Echoes Quality: workbook Answers – art choked in highly commercialised world



Question:  The artist and his art choke in a highly commercialised world, where success is determined not by excellence but by advertisement. Discuss this statement with  reference to the short story  ‘Quality’. 

Answer :  In this highly commercialised world, a small businessman who considers his work as worship and believe in quality and excellence has lost everything and become pennyless while the big firms with the power of advertisement become successful.

         Mr. Gessler shows his pain and helplessness when he says,
” Dose big virms’ave no self respect………..Dey get id all.” (Those big  firms have no self respect…… they get it all.) He said ” dey get id by advertisement, nod by work. Dey dake it away from us,….bresently I had no work. Every year id gets less – you will see. 

     Here Mr. Gessler wants to say that those big firms with huge capital take all their customers who appreciate their high quality boots. These big firms take their customers not by their good quality product but by glittering advertisements.

    In the short story ‘Quality‘, Mr. Gessler represents all those traditional artisans and craftsmen who believe in quality and excellence. He was a man of integrity, having complete dedication for his work.  When he was asked about his work is awfully hard, by the narrator, he answered with a smile, “id is an Ardt !” For him shoemaking is not merely a craft, but a sublime art. He loved his job and was highly passionate about shoemaking, as he performed all the  activities himself without using any machine. Although it took a little more time, but the quality of his shoes was undoubtedly excellent. He was against the mass production, as making goods in large quantity will be at the cost of its quality. He never compromised on the quality of the leather, even all his profit went in giving  rent  and buying the best quality leather.

     He did not believe in advertisement. Among the expensive shops, their shop was the simpler one. They did not give any sign board upon it – as 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 Brothers and in the window a few pair of boots. “

  On the other hand, other big firms lured the customers with advertisements. They have large capital and sophisticated machinery to produce goods  at low cost and in short period of time.

       The Gesslers had to face stiff competition with these huge firms. But due to dwindling customers and business they  could not afford the rent of their shop and had to part  with one half of their shop to a big firm selling shoes.

     In this story there exists an  external conflict between the Gessler Brothers and the big firms. There is also an  internal conflict within  the Gessler Brothers. They are in dilemma to chose either between their traditional mode of shoemaking without compromising on quality or to shift to the modern commercial way, investing more on advertisements than on quality. The Gessler Brothers, however stick to their ideal and lose one half of their shop.

       Mr. Gessler’s elder brother was so shocked at losing their Sanctum Sanctorum that he could not bear this pain and died. Mr. Gessler suffers on  account of losing his brother as well as a part of his shop. Mr. Gessler could not give up his commitment to excellence because for him shoemaking was a sublime art. He never worked for money but for the love of his art. Actually he was personified as the ideal of quality and excellence. He continued to endure hardships and watched helplessly his business being taken over by  a big firm.

           It shows that such craftsmen as Mr. Gessler resign themselves to their fate and continue to endure it silently as clearly shown by words – slow starvation. This shows the gradual decay and death of the handicraft industry caused by the new factory system.

          On his last visit to ‘Gessler Brothers’ narrator placed an order  for shoes and went away without any hope of getting those shoes as Mr. Gessler had become too old and feeble. But  he was surprised to get all four pairs of shoes, the best ever at the same rate.

      When the narrator visited ‘Gessler Brothers’, a new shop had come up there. There was neither the shop nor Mr. Gessler. The old man had died of slow starvation and lack of sleep as he could not cope up with  the stiff competition from big firms.
      Thus, the artist and his art choke in this highly commercialised world where the success is determined not by excellence but by advertisement.

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