“The Castaway Summary” is a compelling tale that takes readers on a journey of survival and self-discovery. The Castaway Short Summary in this blog post, we will explore the captivating story of a castaway who finds themselves stranded on a deserted island. As we delve into The Castaway Poem Summary of this gripping narrative, we will uncover the challenges faced by the castaway, their resourcefulness in adapting to the harsh environment, and the profound personal transformation that unfolds throughout their solitary existence. Read More Class 10 English Summaries.
The Castaway Summary
The Castaway in English
The story revolves around a Zamindar family consisting mainly of Sharat and his wife Kiran, Sharat’ mother. Later Nilkanta, an orphan boy, joins them. He comes to them after the boat in which he was travelling sank in the storm. He was working with a theatrical group. The group was travelling to a nearby place when the boat sank. The boy did not know what happened to the rest of the members or the theatrical group. We also see Satish, the younger brother of Sharat, coming to spend his vacation with the family of Sharat and Kiran.
The story begins with a small discussion between Kiran and her husband Sharat. They discuss whether they should stay for some more time in this retreat, or return to their village. They are now staying in a riverside house in Chandernagore. They had come here from their village because Kiran was very sick and they wanted to have a change of place. Kiran is interested in going back because she enjoyed the company of her villagers. Here in the riverside house she had nothing to do and she was bored. But Sharat wants her to remain there for some more time so that she can become fully healthy again. The doctor also recommended her stay here for some more time.
Their discussion ends when they hear a call from someone. The caller was a young boy, Nilkanta, who comes to them after escaping from a sinking boat. His arrival brings about a major change in the household. He is a Brahmin youth of 14. Kiran took a great liking for the boy. Sharat and his mother were happy that this would make Kiran stay longer in the riverside house. Nilkanta was happy to escape from: his cruel master and be part of a wealthy family. He was given good food and also gifts by the kind lady, Kiran.
Before long, Sharat and his mother realize that Nilkanta is a mischievous boy who developed close friendship with a group of naughty boys who would not allow any fruit to ripen in the neighborhood. He also developed a friendship with a street dog which turned the house upside down. Both Sharat and his mother wanted the boy to go away. But Kiran wanted him to stay. The boy made her happy with his theatrical performances in the afternoons. Sharat sometimes gave the boy physical punishment for his different acts of mischief. But Nilkanta continues to enjoy his carefree life, feeling happy for the first time in his life. Kiran tried to teach him reading and writing, but he was not interested in academics. Slowly he forgot about the hard life he had with the theatrical group.
Things take a different turn when Sharat’s younger brother, Satish, comes to spend his vacation with them. Kiran was happy with her brother-in-law and they had a lot of fun together. For the first time, Nilkanta feels neglected by Kiran, as she is spending more time with her brother-in-law. Nilkanta now feels he is not at all important in the family. He would often become angry and beat his gang members, kick his pet dog or smash the leaves and branches of trees with his canes.
Kiran now did not find time to serve meals to Nilkanta. Sometimes he would say he is not hungry hoping that Kiran would persuade him to eat. But she said nothing. He would then go to his room and cry. He thought Satish played some trick on her to make her angry with him.
Nilkanta wanted to take revenge on Satish. He removed the soap when Satish was taking bath or he threw his clothes up in the air as if blown by wind. Once Kiran asked Nilkanta to entertain Satish with his theatrical skills. But he said he did not remember anything.
Now they all decide to return home. They pack things. Nobody asks Nilkanta to go with them. Later Kiran proposes to take him with them, but all others strongly oppose the idea. Kiran then tells him to go back to his home. He cries and so Kiran decides to take him with her. Satish is very angry and tells Kiran that Nilkanta is clever enough to find a way to soften her heart with a tear or two. She is so good and trustful that she falls for the trick. Nilkanta now thinks of doing something against Satish.
Satish had brought a grand ornamental inkstand from Calcutta. It was his most favourite item. He cleaned it every day with great care. Suddenly the inkstand was missing. Satish thought it was Nilkanta who has stolen it and beats him up badly. Kiran tells Nilkanta to return the inkstand if he has taken it. But he knelt down weeping bitterly. There was a big argument between Kiran on one side and Sharat and Satish on the other. Satish wanted to search Nilkanta’s room but Kiran cried and said he should not do it.
Kiran felt sorry for the poor Nilkanta. She wanted to give him a surprise present. She got two new suits of clothes, a pair of shoes and a bank note. She wanted to place them in Nilkanta’s box and surprise him.
When she opened Nilkanta’s box, it was fully packed and she started pulling out things to place her gift in the box. To her great surprise she sees the missing inkstand there. Nilkanta was standing behind her and he felt as if he was hit by a hammer on his head. He had taken the inkstand as an act of revenge to Satish. He wanted to throw it into the river. But there was no way he could convince Kiran who thought Nilkanta was a thief. He left the room without Kiran noticing him. Kiran sighed deeply and kept the gift on top and closed the box.
The next day Nilkanta was nowhere to be found. Even the police could not find him. Sharat wanted to search Nilkanta’s box but Kiran strongly opposed the idea and so he had to withdraw. She took the inkstand and threw it in the river. The family returned to their house. But the mongrel dog wandered along the river bank with heart-breaking whines.
“The Castaway” is a compelling poem by William Cowper that portrays the isolation and desperation of a shipwreck survivor. Through vivid and haunting imagery, The Castaway poem explores themes of loneliness, faith, and the resilience of the human spirit. Cowper’s poignant verses leave a lasting impact, reminding readers of the enduring strength and hope that can emerge even in the bleakest of circumstances.