The story ‘Grandfather Tiger’ is about a Indian girl going to school in Australia. This story tells her experiences during her first few days of school. It also tells about an imaginary tiger which has replaced her grandfather when he passed away. This story shows how school and being exposed to the outer world and other people can change the mindset of a person. At first Joti was very enthusiastic and optimistic about school. “Friends! ” she says.
From this we can see how much she is looking forward to her experience at school and how she sees friends as the main essence of school, and how eager she is to meet new people and become friends with them. However, in school, she was constantly insulted by her schoolmates: “You have to sit on the other side”, “You’re awfully skinny”, “That’s only what black people eat”, and “eating those”. And even after that she held her thoughts back, “She didn’t think it was right to tell the girl that she was awfully fat”, so as to not cause conflict.
She “Sat with her back to them so that they could not see her crying”. This is a point where her opinion and impression of school starts to change. After school, she exclaimed that she “cannot go back”, that “they think I am black-people. They laugh at me, and I hate them”. From this we can observe that her mindset is no longer the same, optimistic ‘Friends! ’, but after being bullied, it is changed to a negative and scary one, she no longer looks forward to going to school.
However, the next day, when she found a friend who understood her and is nice to her, her mindset of school changed yet again. To a place where she could be herself and ask her mum to “make more kebabs” because she wanted to “share them with [her] friends”. This time her impression of school changes to a place where sharing and caring for one another as close as sisters would as she exclaims: “We are sisters, sisters”. This shows how much the people whom you interact with can affect your whole experience, idea and impression of a certain place, even though the actual place has not changed.
For example, in the story, the school did not change, but the people whom which Joti interacted with were different, and they both created two different perspectives of the same place: School. This story also illustrates that people are more likely to accept you if you’re yourself. At the beginning of the story, Joti wore a “white-girl’s dress” like the rest of the people in her school. She clearly wasn’t being herself or else she would have worn her traditional white sulwa. So, she is rejected and excluded by the rest of her classmates as she tries to fit in during the first day of school.
Although she is clearly a “dark-faced Indian” girl, she looks at herself as a white person: “They think I am black-people… ”, “… and I hate them”. Those are clear examples how she tries to be something she’s not. After school, “she took off her new dress and put on her old sulwa”. She has stopped trying to pretend to be someone else and is now being herself. She wore the sulwa to school the next day, and the day was much better. She had set the record straight with the teacher concerning her name: “‘please, miss,’ she said, ‘my name is Joti. ” She found a new friend who liked her for who she was and she had a good day at school. She was happy after that when she went home and she was looking forward to another day at school. Here we can see that people are more likely to accept you for who you are, not who you pretend to be. In this particular story there is a clear difference between her experience in the first and second days of school. I think this is because she had decided to be herself on the second day of school. This story shows that people with mixed backgrounds have a harder life.
Joti, as the story has introduced her, is a “dark-faced Indian child who was a second generation Australian. ” In school, she is constantly bombarded by racist comments and bulling. “You’re awfully skinny”, “that’s only what black people eat”. They excluded her from their community and she has trouble fitting in. Her teacher also (maybe unintentionally) called her Josie: “the teacher is nice, but she calls me Josie”. Even filling and enrolment card for her proved more difficult than usual: “The cards had a space to tick for Australian and another space to tick for New Australian.
What was to be done with a dark-faced Indian child who was second generation Australian? ” The clothes that she wears are also scrutinized. When Joti told them she was wearing a sulwa, they asked (maybe out of curiosity, maybe just to exclude her) “‘Why are you wearing it? ’ asked the red-headed girl. ‘Why don’t you wear a dress? ’” The story depicts the difficulties that a girl with a mixed background had to go through during her (first few) days at school. Clearly her days in school were not as happy as one would expect.
In conclusion, the story of ‘Grandfather Tiger’ explores what it is like to be a stranger in a new country. This theme is presented through the eyes of a new girl on her first day of school. Her family, grandfather tiger, being bullied and not fitting in, all show how life is like for her and the thoughts that race through her head at that time. This story is a good example of some of the ‘not so good things’ in this world, which proves that this world is not a perfect place, and it highlights one area that we can improve on.