Be Honest!

Reader Response about “The Mandarin Exam” short story. It’s one of my assignments in my colleague.

In The Mandarin Exam (London: Victor Gollancz LTD, 1982), Farrukh Dhondy portrays an honesty and freedom. The honesty and freedom clearly explain when the Headmaster told Spiggy about the story of Wu Fan’tsi. There are five characters in this story; they are I or Spiggy, the English teacher, the Headmaster, Wu Fan’tsi and Wu Fan’tsi tutor. The main character, Spiggy, faces the conflict of doing exam because he does not like to do exam. When English examination, he does not do that. He even tore up the question paper. Till his headmaster come, he also said that he does not like to do the exam. However, the Head asked him to go to his office and told a story of Wu Fan’tsi. The character of Spiggy is complex and the characterization is implicit. The character is complex because it has several features and dynamic. I think that Spiggy is naughty, honest, visionary, free and open-minded.

In the story, the author says that “..when they all got their heads down and started writing, I pulled out my snuff-box..” and “Now I deliberately hadn’t brought a pen. I pick up the question paper….but I sat back and tore it up”. The quotation shows that Spiggy is naughty boy. When others is serious to do exam, he does not care about it. As a student, I think that he is not good boy. The main character, Spiggy, says “I don’t want to do exam, sir, I told Mr Scott ..” This shows that Spiggy is honest boy. It has strengthened when he say “I want to write the truth” I think that although he is naughty, he is honest in terms of to utter what is his feeling at this time. I think he has a vision because when the Head asked him “What do you want to do in life?” and he answered “I want to be a writer”. In my opinion, he is has a purpose in life, has a vision that he want to be a writer. When the main character says about ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’, I conclude that he is a free person who does not like laws. He loves freedom. We can see this when he says “He’s like me, except I can’t run, got asthma”. The last, the character of Spiggy is open-minded. In the end of the story, when the Headmaster finished the story of Wu Fan’tsi, he compares himself with Wu Fan’tsi. He deals that if we want to write something we should honest although he thinks that is it impossible to do in the exam. From the explanation above, I conclude that the characterization of Spiggy is implicit because the description of the character comes from actions, ideas, and background.

To sum up, the characters of Spiggy in this story is naughty, honest, free, visionary and open-minded. This story was very interesting to read because it has some good values such as be honest, never give up and visionary or dream. Besides, I conclude that everyone has a good side and bad side. Although Spiggy is a naughty boy, he is also an honest boy.


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