ISC echoes the gorilla in the guest room : theme of love for wildlife


A Gorilla in the Guest Room

Question : How is the theme of love for wildlife  brought out in the story, ‘A Gorilla in the Guest Room “.

Answer : ” Love for wildlife” is also an important theme reflected in the story “A Gorilla in the Guest Room”.

      Through the character of N’Pongo and Nandy, Gerald had depicted the special bond  that can be formed between animals and humans. The love for animals thus can bring these two diverse species together.

  • Gerald’s  Love for  N’Pongo 

Gerald loved N’Pongo from their first meeting. He was quite fascinated with his dark eyes  – 
” His eyes were small and deep-set, twinkling like chip of coal.” 

N’Pongo’s child-like nature won over his heart. With twinkling eyes , N’Pongo while laying  back in Gerald’s arms, studied him carefully. Like a child, he lifted his “forefinger and investigated his beard.”

        He tickled N’Pongo’s ribs and N’Pongo giggled hoarsely. They engaged playfully with each other.

N’Pongo’s playful nature, yet sad and calm expression lovingly involved with Gerald’s family and the zoo staff also. 
    ” His grave, courteous manner and his rather sad expression immediately won over both Jacquie and my mother “.

They supplied him with delicacies and the staff came to meet him upstairs “as if he were some black potentate.”

When he got bored with lying on sofa he decided to make a round to examine the room.  He did it so gently that there was no danger of his breaking anything. 

    His manner was so exemplary that Gerald’s mother ” wads doing her best to persuade me to keep him in the house permanently.”

  • Gerald’s  understanding of N’Pongo’s need 

      Being an animal lover  and a naturalist Gerald understood the needs of N’Pongo. When N’ Pongo doubled his size, Gerald realised his need to have a companion of his own kind. Gerald feared that in the absence  of a companion N’Pongo would turn  morose and sad. Thus, he made all possible efforts and made deal with the dealer to buy, on installments, a female gorilla, Nandy.

N’Pongo was playful and happy gorilla, while Nandy was quiet, introspective, and anti human natured gorilla. She looked at humans with frightened eyes. Gerald understood that her anti – social attitude was the result of the inhumane treatment meted out to her sometimes before. He narrates the reason as – 
     ” When she was being caught, some over- enthusiastic and intrepid human had given her a blow with a machete which had split her scalp like a razor slash.” 

      It took atleast six months, for Gerald to gain her confidence. Gerald admired and cared,  N’Pongo and Nandy like his own children. 

‚óŹ Gerald’s concern for their health

Having such a rare and valuable animals like a pair of gorillas, under his captivation, madr the author quite anxious about their health and well-being. To be able to monitor the animals health and well – being, he installed a magnificent communication apparatus in the zoo. 

The theme of love for animals also depicted when Gerald came to know about the real illness of N’ Pongo. Gerald had arranged to spend three weeks in the south of France for work. Four days before he had to leave , N’ Pongo started to look pale. The only symptom was acute diarrhea, later it was found that he was suffering from a form of colitis. He lost weight and stopped eating altogether. He was not even drinking milk and so no antibiotics could be given. Gerald dedicated himself to curing N’Pongo. He was extremely caring and consulted vets to give him best medical aid. But his ” diarrhea was quite heavily tinged with blood”  and this made Gerald and his team lose hope. 

         Gerald loved him so much that he was ready to cancel his visit to France but could not leave N’Pongo alone. 

         To tempt  N’Pongo, Gerald and Jacquie bought a bright green coloured watermelon. As soon as  N’Pongo wad given a slice of it, he displayed signs of interest. He took the slice and started to eat. This was used to distract him and inject him with antibiotics. 


      Gerald did not wish to leave N’Pongo unless his health  improved. Luckily, when he had to leave, N’Pongo had gained the lost sparkle of his eyes which Gerald had been missing badly for past few days. Gerald thus “drove down to the airport and caught the plane to Dinard.” By the time he returned, he was happy to see  N’Pongo back in good health. 

These all shows the love and caring for wild animals.

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