1. The Little Willow


Q.1.     What does “The Little Willow” stand for or symbolize?

Or       Simon keeps the little willow as a token of Lisby’s love which gives him      strength till his death. 1998, 2001

Or       How did Lisby express her love for Simon?


The little willow was a little willow tree made of hard green stone and crystal designed by a Chinese artist. Lisby had bought it from an antique shop. In the story the little willow symbolises Lisby’s love for Simon Byrne. She presented it to him as a token of her love. It had an emotional importance for her.

Lisby’s sisters Brenda and Charlotte attracted their lovers with their charming looks, bright dresses and capitulating talk. She, on the other hand, was simple, silent and modest. She did not profess her love openly like them. She had fallen in love with Simon Byrne, the moment he visited their Court House. One day When Simon came to the Court House to say good bye for the war, she expressed her love by presenting to him her little willow tree, a decoration piece made jade and crystal. He stammered, “It is much too lovely.” Lisby hoped his retune. He said, “I would try to……. In the spirit, if not in flesh” To her sisters, little willow was quite useless, but for her and Simon it had an emotional and spiritual significance. That is why Simon kept it with him even on the war front till it was shattered into pieces by a shell. The little willow, a token of her love, gave Simon strength enough to bear death cheerfully. 169


  1. 3. The little willow is a story of untold and silent love. Explain.

Or       The little Willow is psychotically story.

Or       Describe the theme of the little Willow.

Or       How did Simon die and how did he express his love for Lisby?

Or       How did Lisby know about Simon’s love for her?

The little willow is a psychological story of unexpressed and silent love of Simon Byrne and Lisby who loved each other deeply. They had silent and sincere emotions of love for each other. Lisby came to know of Simon’s love for her after his death through Captain Oliver, Simon’s friend. He came on the wedding day of Charlotte with Richard Harkness. Brenda, Lisby’s sister asked Oliver about Simon. He told that he was nice and loveable person. Suddenly Brenda saw Charlotte and went to her. He turned to lisby and told her Simon’s death. She was very sad.

Oliver told her that the night before his death, he requested him to write a letter to his mother. Oliver asked him if he was interested in none else. At this Simon told Oliver that he was in love with “a little, quiet creature” meaning Lisby who never knew that she was his. She was a source of consolation for him in great pain. Her memory comforted him in pain. He also told him of the little willow tree given by her. It was broken by an enemy shell. Lisby could not help bursting into tears and cried, “He was my dear, dear love.” She wept soundlessly. The next morning, when Brenda told her that was no letter foe her, she retorted, at once,” I have had mine_____one that was never written.” This makes the story pathetic.  236



Q 4.     What do you know about the characters of Charlotte and Brenda?     Why were they called charmers?

Or       Give the comparative study of Charlotte and Brenda and Lisby.

Charlotte and Brenda were two elder Avery sisters. They were very fond of outward pomp and show. They tried to attract and fascinate young army officers with their physical. They, therefore, tried to look as beautiful and as graceful as possible. That is why they were called “charmers”

To captivate young army officers, they tried to talk and dress in the most attractive manner. Every young man visiting the Court House was allured by them at first sight. Their lovely, graceful faces and their crisp conversation had magnetic attraction. Their artistic taste attracted the musicians, artists and writers. They had decorated the drawing room very profusely. They welcomed the guests, kept them busy in conversation and music and saw them off. They also walked with them in the adjacent garden and also entertained them.

Brenda had a sweet, soft voice and played on the piano beautifully. Charlotte had special taste for flowers. Both were seductive in their own way. They selected the young men of their choice and then flirted with them, in order to select future husbands. In this attempt they tried to excel each other.

But they were not sincere in their love. If any officer who had been coming to them died in war they easily shifted their love to someone else. In this way their love was hollow and superficial. Lisby, on the contrary, was true, sincere and steadfast in her love for Simon.

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