The Axe by RK Narayan Summary, Notes & Explanation WBBSE Class 7

A Purposeful Man

This is a simple tale of a man trying to find his purpose and place in life. It also inspires the themes of courage, belief, optimism, and strength of character. Velan, the protagonist, is a man forced to find his own way after he is disowned by his father. Undeterred, he embarks on a journey to find his independent footing in the world. He is able to procure a job as a gardener at an old man’s house.

The old man is completely opposite of Velan’s father and he lets Velan enjoy his freedom and commit mistakes. This allows Velan to excel at his work and at the same time, find happiness and satisfaction.

Velan’s Relation With Plants

Velan develops a beautiful relationship with his plants and flowers. He grows with them and prospers with them. However, this does not mean that life is full of roses and void of any thorns.

Velan suffers huge losses all along. He loses his father but finds the strength to continue his life and work. He finds his beloved wife and has beautiful children with her. However, he loses all of them as he grows old. Velan accepts the tough truths of mortal life.

The owners of the garden change over the years, but Velan stays steadfast in his commitment to his garden and its plants. However, we all have our breaking points and weak spots. Velan’s weakest part was his devotion to his plants.

New Owner

The newest owner of the garden decides to get rid of the garden itself. The casualty of this change becomes the plants and trees blossoming in it. When Velan sees the sight of strange men wielding blades at his tress, he is heartbroken and despondent. He pleads with them to stop and halt.

He requests them to be generous to his life’s worth of hard work. The men delay the execution of Velan’s garden until he is at a safe distance.

Velan collects his things and trudges toward a new beginning not turning back to see the garden that he gave his life too, mutilated and destroyed. He accepts the verdict of fate but saves his eyes and ears from the agony of seeing his children (plants) murdered in front of his helpless eyes.