Attempt a character sketch of the peddler in the story ‘The Rattrap’

Attempt a character sketch of the peddler in the story ‘The Rattrap’. [CBSE (AI) 2008C]

Answer: Selma Lagerlöf draws the character of the peddler with all sympathy and understanding. Selma wants to give a definite message. The peddler represents some human weaknesses. He is in fact the product of circumstances. But he is never devoid of basic human goodness. Only it lies in hibernation for some time. The essential goodness in him is awakened through the love and understanding of Miss Edla Williamson. The peddler is so many things, all rolled in one. He is a vagabond cum beggar cum a petty thief. At moments he can raise himself to a philosopher. He philosophises life and compares the world to a big rattrap. Finally, he transforms himself into a ‘gentleman’. The peddler is a pragmatist. He finds his business not quite profitable. He doesn’t mind resorting to both begging and petty thievery. Nor is he above temptations. He steals 30 kronors of his generous host, the old crofter. The peddler raises himself above petty worldly temptations in the end. His essential human qualities raise him to heroic heights. He is witty and humorous. He knows how to deal with men and tricky situations. He thanks Miss Edla for her kindness and hospitality. She gives a little cry of joy when he decides to return 30 kronor to the rightful owner. She is requested to return the money to its rightful owner, the old crofter. The readers forgive him for his little human weaknesses. They develop sympathy and appreciation for him.


Attempt a character sketch of the peddler in the story ‘The Rattrap’


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