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The Winter Oak and Leela's Friend

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Explore how adults’ jumping to conclusions affects the lives of
younger people in - The Winter Oak - and - Leela’s friend. - How is this
presented to the reader?

Leela’s parents, throughout the story, are short tempered and
preoccupied. They do not have a lot of time for Leela, leading to
Sidda being her main Guardian and role model. He is very malleable and
plays at Leela’s command, but as a servant he has little choice in the

“‘Sidda, come and play!’ Leela would cry and Seeda had to drop any
work he might be doing and run to her.”

He has a lot of time for Leela and his vivid imagination excites and
amazes her. This demonstrated by Sidda’s magical stories of the moon.
Leela recognises a personality in Seeda that the adults never allow
themselves to see.

From the beginning, the adults never give Sidda a chance; to them he
is a faceless servant who cannot be entirely trusted but to Leela he
is much more. This is mainly because she does not jump to conclusions
about him, unlike her parents.

When the chain goes missing Leela’s mother instantly suspects Sidda:

‘Leela’s mother threw a glance at him and thought the fellow already
looked queer.’

Sidda does not help himself by running away as this makes him look
guilty, but the reader still feels sorry for him as he is frightened.
Leela describes the relationship between Sidda and her mother when she

‘You are always abusing and worrying Sidda.’

Leela’s mother thinks that she is justified in treating Seeda roughly
because she believes that he is a thief.

The disappearance of Sidda has a profound effect upon Leela. She
misses his company and his stories. Leela’s parents assume that
Sidda’s disappearance confirms his guilt; Leel...

... middle of paper ...

...kin’s knowledge in the forest is far
superior to her own and she ‘bit her tongue’ to silence herself. She
allows herself to learn from him:

‘She had better keep quiet.’ This shows their roles are completely
reversed; Savushkin becoming the adult, and Vasilevna becoming the
child. The reader sees a huge change from the beginning of the story
when Anna Vasilevna jumped to the conclusion that Savushkin was wrong
when he suggested that the ‘winter oak’ was a noun. She did not allow
him time to explain the reason for his choice. She assumed that as a
child, he was probably lazy, did not understand what he was talking
about, and she was therefore dismissive. By the end of the story
Savushkin has grown in stature and Anna Vasilevna recognises in him as
not just:

‘the small human being in the worn felt boots,’ but ‘a mysterious and
wonderful future citizen.’

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