The Elephant [By Slawomir Mrozek] | Questions And Answers

Question answers of The Elephant Slawomir Mrozek
DR Gurung

Questions And Answers for " THE ELEPHANT" which is written by Slawomir Mrozek. " The Elephant " is a great political satire from Poland. The director of the zoo is not responsible for the animals that lived there. To provide an elephant in zoo he decided to make an elephant out of rubber. This creates an ironic situation to point out the absurdities ( अर्थहीनताको अवस्था ) of leftist bureaucracy.

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Question No. 1: What is the relationship between the character of the zoo director, the condition of the animals he chooses to exhibit, and the decision he makes regarding the elephant ? ( चिडियाखानाका निर्देशकको चरित्र, उसले प्रदर्शन गर्ने जनावरको अवस्था र हात्तीको सम्बन्धमा उसले गरेको निर्णयको बीचमा के सम्बन्ध छ ? )

Answers: There is close relationship between the character of the zoo director and the animals he chooses to keep there. He is very selfish person, no doubt. His plan of making rubber elephant is to deceive the visitors. Similarly, the animals that he keeps there to exhibit do not look actually what they are. Giraffe's neck is short; badger does not make burrow; whistler whistles reluctantly. These animals can not give the real impression to the visitor. They deceive people. The elephant, on the other hand, is rubber elephant. The heaviest animal on hand floats easily in the air. This is great irony. As the main aim of zoo director is to deceive the people, the animals he keeps in zoo and his new plan regarding elephant help enhance his aim.

Question No. 2: What significance do you discern in the contrast between the three thousand realistic rabbit and the noble giant-the elephant ? ( तीन हजार खरायो र विशिष्ट भीमकाय जनावर हात्तीको बीचमा पाइने भिन्नताको के महत्व तपाई भेट्नुहुन्छ ? )

Answers: The number of rabbit is three thousand in the zoo. But there is not a single elephant. The elephant is contrasted with the three thousand rabbits. This is very significant because elephant is the most superior animal on earth. It is a fierce and magnificent animal and is very expensive also. Though the number of rabbits is very large, these are many times inferior to the giant elephant. The significance of such a contrast is that even three thousand inferiors can not satisfy the importance or need of a single superior animal, elephant.

Question No. 3: How does the way the elephant will be constructed, what it will be filled with, and how it will be labeled satirize the government bureaucracy in Poland ? ( हात्तीको निर्माण गरिने तरिका यस भित्र भरिने वस्तु र यसको वर्णन गरिने तरिकाले पोल्याण्डको सरकारी संयन्त्रलाई कसरी व्यङ्ग्य गर्छ ? )

Answer: The way elephant will be constructed, the material it will be filled with and the way it will be labelled satirize the government bureaucracy in Poland. The elephant is constructed at the advice of zoo director. It is made up of rubber in 'required' size and is carefully painted with correct colour. It is filled with air. Since it is lifeless elephant, it is labelled as a sluggish elephant. There is nothing natural in elephant and it's making process. This manifests the real face of the government that wants to deceive the citizens veiling ( घुम्टो ओढाएर ) them artificially. The polish government favours only the false things and tries to prove them real.

Question No. 4: At what point in the story did you begin to suspect the writer was being ironic rather than serious ? ( कथाको कुन ठाउँमा लेखकले गम्भीर भएर भनेका होइनन् बरु व्यंग्य गरेका हुन् भनी शङ्का गर्न थाल्नु हुन्छ ? )

Answer: When the writer started to describe the animals in the zoo., I began to suspect that the writer is being ironic rather than serious. Long necked giraffe's neck is short; badger does not make hole and whistler whistles reluctantly. Natural things are twisted ( बङ्ग्याएका ) by the writer.
We cannot make giraffe's neck short. Perhaps by twisting the reality the writer wanted to convey something different. When I came to elephant, I was convinced that the writer was becoming very ironic. The writer wanted to reveal the real face of government bureaucracy by showing their deceitful ( छलीपूर्ण ) activities.

Question No. 5: How are all the director's suggestion and proposals forms of self-promotion disguised as sincere concern for the common good ? ( निर्देशकको सबै आफ्नो पदोन्नतिका सुझाव एवं प्रस्तावहरुले कसरी जनहितको चासोको खोल ओढेको छ ? )

Answer: The director puts forward his plan for obtaining the elephant in an economic way. The real elephant should be a great burden for the Polish people. So, he suggested to construct a rubber elephant in required size and colour. He also stated that the money saved in that matter could be used in buying a jet plane and conserving the monuments. This proposal is not bad. It is sincerely concerned for the common good. But he remind the officers that he should be rewarded because both his idea and implementation are the modest contribution to the nation. If his idea proved to be a success, he would expect a bonus. Though his proposal seems to be good for common people, it is not free from his desire of self-promotion and self progress. 

Question No. 6: What details in the account of the school children's visit to see the elephant and their subsequent disillusionment suggest Morzek's subject is what really happens when citizens question the political rhetoric and propaganda ? ( विधालयका विधार्थीहरु हात्ती हेर्न गरिएको भ्रमण र त्यसपछिको यथार्थ बोध सम्बन्धी वर्णनमा कुन विवरणले " नागरिकहरुले राजनीतिक शव्दजाल र भ्रमात्मक प्रचारको विषयमा प्रश्न गर्दा वास्तवमा के हुन्छ ? " भनेर सुझाव दिनु Morzek को विषय हो भन्ने देखाउँछ ? )

Answer: The school children and their teacher were first to visit the zoo after the arrival of the elephant. The teacher reported the students that the elephant was a herbivorous animal and it pulled out young trees. The students looked at the elephant and waited for it to pull the young trees. But the elephant did not move. Again the teacher described that the elephant was the heaviest animal on land. At the very moment the elephant rose up and disappeared. The students did not believe in elephant and left school to join the hooligans. The rubber elephant is like the political rhetoric and propaganda. In both cases there is no reality.

...And Beyond

Question No. 1: Discuss the relationship between Political rhetoric and Orwell's 'doublespeak'. How is "doublespeak" the equivalent in language of rubber elephant ? ( राजनीतिक शव्दजाल र अर्वेलको "doublespeak" को बीचमा के सम्बन्ध छ ? छलफल गर्नुहोस्। रबरको हात्तीको भाषामा "डबलस्पीक" कसरी समान छ ? )

Answer: George Orwell was a great satirist ( व्यङ्ग्यकार ). His "doublespeak" is deliberately ( जानाजानीकन ) difficult and ambiguous. Political rhetoric is also the ambiguous ( अस्पष्ट ) speech in which the speaker says something but its meaning is something different. The politicians distort the reality and present it in different way. Thus, political rhetoric and Orwell's "doublespeak" are almost the same thing.

The language of rubber elephant is very tricky which tries to veil ( घुम्टो भित्र छोप्नु ) the reality. So, the "doublespeak" is equivalent in language of the rubber elephant.

Question No. 2: Discuss any recent incident that seems to you to express the conflict between appearance and reality as does Morzek's political allegory. For example, you might consider the instant renovations that preside the visit of an important high ranking personage where roads are suddenly paved and cleaned. ( Morzek को राजनीतिक नीति कथामा जस्तै देखावटीपना र वास्तविकताको बीचमा भएको द्वन्द व्यक्त गर्न कुनै घटना भए छलफल गर्नुहोस्। जस्तै: पहिला देखि बिग्रेको सडक राजा आउनुभन्दा पहिला तुरुन्तै ढुङ्गा छोपी सफा गरी पुन: निर्माण गरेको उदाहरण यहाँ प्रयोग गर्न सकिन्छ। )

Answer: I lived at Babarmahal. The road was constructed five years before but after two years it was in very bad condition. The road was so bad that in summer it became dusty and in rainy season ( autumn ) it became very muddy. The road was about three kilometer but it was not repaired for last three years. Two months ago the visit of the King to Babarmahal was declared. Then the road department and municipality started to reconstruct the road. The workers worked day and night and the road was completed within one week. The king came and went. But now there are some holes formed again in the road. I think the condition of the road will be the same after two or three months. The king was perhaps impressed with the condition of the road but the reality was quite different to the appearance.

Question No. 3: Discuss some of the ways Morzek's fable functions as a political allegory. ( Morzek को दन्ते कथाले राजनीतिक कथाको रुपमा कसरी काम गरेको छ ? छलफल गर्नुहोस्। )

Answer: Allegory is a work of art in which a deeper meaning underlies the superficial or literal meaning. We find two levels of meaning in allegory. In political allegory the actions represent certain political event. " The Elephant " story by Morzek, is a political allegory. The story has two meanings. On the surface level, the director of the zoo manages to place the rubber elephant in the zoo. Absence of elephant in zoo was supplied. But in deeper level, he tried to deceive the people by making an artificial elephant.

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DR Gurung
A Learner (अज्ञान जस्तो ठूलो शत्रु अरु केही छैन।) 🙏🙏
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