The Creek by Subraj Singh

The Creek - Subraj SinghIn The Creek by Subraj Singh we have the theme of colonialism, determination, freedom, power and fear. Taken from the A World of Prose collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Singh may be exploring the theme of colonialism. The boy and his grandfather are minding their own business as they paddle through the creek. Only to have themselves unsettled by white colonial hunters. This may be significant as the land belongs to the grandfather and Singh may be highlighting how white colonial predators, without thought, have taken over the land (and rivers) or at least tried to. However the grandfather is not prepared to let the colonist’s take control of his land, even if they have a rifle. This too is important as it suggests that the grandfather, regardless of what is happening, is determined to protect his land. He will not allow others to take control over what he knows is his.

The theme of fear is self-evident in the story. The boy, who remains unnamed throughout the story, is afraid of the two white men. Even though his grandfather is trying to protect him. He remains afraid. Most importantly when his grandfather starts to physically fight with one of the men. The boy falls into the river, struggles but does eventually make it to land. Unlike his grandfather who remains fighting with the white men. This could be important as it again suggests that the grandfather has a level of determination higher than most. He may die but he will die fighting for his land.

There may be some symbolism in the story which might be significant. The butterfly, which flies over the canoe, can be seen to represent freedom. Particularly when one looks at the other animals in the story, who are all caged. They too have an importance as they are being taken from their home and shipped abroad as novelties to European curiosities. The rifle also has some significance as Singh could be using the rifle to symbolism power, white European power. The grandfather does not have a rifle, instead he uses the paddle in his hands to protect himself and his grandson. The fact that the creek is dark could be a matter of foreshadowing. Something bad is to happen and it does.

The end of the story is interesting, if not confusing. While on the land (and safe) the boy hears two gunshots. Either his grandfather has been killed which might suggest the dominance at the time of white colonists or the grandfather has shot the two white men. It is difficult to say for certain. One hopes that the grandfather has survived. That he has prevailed and won the day. Not only for the boy’s sake but for the sake of beating colonialism. However that may be wishful thinking and the reader is left to wonder what will happen the boy now that his grandfather and mentor may be dead.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "The Creek by Subraj Singh." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 11 Oct. 2021. Web.

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