ISC the Sound Machine :character sketch of Klausner

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The Sound Machine: Character Sketch of Klausner


Klausner is the protagonist of the story. He was an amateur scientist, who was obsessed with sounds. He invented a sound machine to capture the sounds which are inaudible to te human ear.

  • Physical Appearance –

                 Klausner is described as “a small frail man, nervous and twitchy, with always moving hands.”

        His head was comparatively large, inclined towards his left shoulder as though his neck were not strong enough to support it.

     He had a strange pale face and pale gray eyes that blinked and peered behind a pair of steel spectacles which looked bewildered, unfocused and remote.

     His looks are that of typical scientist who is occupied in his own world so he appeared quite “dreamy” and”distracted “.

       There was something different about him and his mind seemed to be quite distant from his body which characterised his absentmindness and  he seemed to belong to different world.

  • Self possessed and self occupied –

       Klausner is quite self possessed and self occupied at this moment, as he is all alone in his workshop, tugging the wires, twiddling the switch and re -examining the mechanism of the machine. E enjoys talking to himself, sometimes smiling, hands and fingers continuously moving and shaking and his mouth twisting into curious shapes. He was saying to himself ” Ah yes ……of course…..good ….good….yes, yes.”

      His excitement seemed to be suppressed as if waiting for something expected to happen.

  •  Obsessed –
       Klausner is a crazy inventor occupied in
his own world of thoughts. He was obsessed with sounds as he himself said to
Dr. Scott “ I like sound.”

     He believed that there are a number of
high pitched sounds that are inaudible to human ear. He wanted to hear those
inaudible sounds which, according to him, made such a powerful musicthat they
could drive a listener mad. That is why he invented a sound machine, to capture
those inaudible sounds.

   His obsession was so strong that he worked
for hours on it, and made changes for improving on it.
        Klausner is described as “moth of a man” indicating that as a
moth is attracted to bright lights, so was Klausner was attracted to sounds.

    Even his neighbour Mrs. Saunders considered
Klausner as a “peculiar person” a
crazy man but “harmless one.”
   Due to his obsession to prove his theory, he
desperately wanted to test his machine and prove his theory. At the end of the
story, even after his machine was destroyed, he demanded to know the doctor, if
the latter had heard the sound which he himself had heard earlier.
  He forcibly asked “Dr. Scott, what did it sound like?”

·   Insecure and lacking in confidence –

Klausner’s insecurity and lack of confidence is visible
throughout the story in his behaviour and in his actions. While working on his
machine “ he picked up a piece of paper
that lay
beside the box, studied it
carefully, put it down , peered inside the box ………then at the paper
again, checking each wire. He did this for perhaps an hour”.

            When he was telling about his
machine to Dr. Scott, “ he was shifting
from one foot to other, tugging at the lobe of his ear, looking at his feet”-

reflecting his insecurity and lack of confidence.

·    Meticulous and Patient –

Though Klausner appeared to be nervous and excited, yet he
was quite meticulous and patient like a true scientist.
         When he wanted
to call Dr. Scott to verify the result produced by his sound machine in park,
he hurriedly went back to his home –
he went to telephone, consulted the book, dialled a number and waited”.

      He waited
patiently for him to answer. He even sat down beside the telephone and waited
for Dr. Scott to come.

·  Lover of Nature –
       Throughout the story, klausner appeared
to be a lover of nature. He was attracted to various sounds in nature.
      He believed that those high pitched
inaudible sounds would be making new exciting music in the universe such
inaudible sounds when heard by men, would make them mad with excitement.

     So he made a sound machine to capture all
the inaudible sounds made by plants animals and insects.

  While testing his machine in his garden when
his neighbour Mrs. Saunders cut the stem of the rose plant , Klausner could
hear “a throat less, inhuman shriek,
sharp and short, very clear and cold”.
He found as
if the rose stem was in pain .

         He explained his experiment and his theory to
Mrs. Saunders but she could not understand then he asked her “ how do you know that a rose bush doesn’t
feel as much pain when someone cuts its stem in two… It’s alive, isn’t it?”

      This shows his concern for nature.
when experimenting on a tree in a park, klausner hit the trunk of the tree with
axe, he could not stop himself touching the edges of the gash and pressing them
together to close the wound, he felt sorry for the damage as if the tree were a
real wounded person.

           Later in the story Klausner imagined
about the sound generated by the wheat plants when the mower would cut the
field and five hundred wheat stems  every
second would scream with pain.  His heart
was filled with pain and sorrow for the pain of plants.

          At last when he hit the tree second time
and the branch fell upon the sound machine, smashing it into pieces. He was
although disappointed for his experiment but at the same time he demanded Dr. Scott
to “ stitch this up quickly”  and  “paint – the – cut- with –iodine”.

           Klausner has attached his feelings with the
painful shriek of the plants. He could sense the unheard pain of the nature
when it is exploited and disturbed.

         This quality of Klausner makes him
different from other human beings.

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