A Story from Pueblo, Mexico
Fear is a psychological story from Mexico with Armando Gonzalez as its main character. The story examines how baseless fear results in nervousness and how things get worse when people become unnecessarily nervous.
Armando goes to a bank in Mexico to withdraw 50000 pesos. He has a dream to buy a house with this money. The bank teller asks unnecessary questions and counts the money loudly which helps to increase Armando’s fear. As he leaves the bank he puts his hat on backwards due to nervousness. A number of people look at him and a heavy man looks at Armando twice in the bank.
Armando starts sweating with fear because he thinks that somebody is going to rob him. His mouth becomes dry and his heart starts beating faster. He holds the wad of money tightly because the amount he had was the whole world to him and his family. As they had many people to feed, the couple has earned the money with great difficulty. Their dream is to buy a house to live which will be a house that they could call their own. It will be the happiest day of their life. But the dream is in danger now because Armando thinks that he could be robbed at any moment and the dream would be stolen from him. He regrets having not taken the cheque.
As Armando waits for the right bus, his fear increases more when he sees the same heavy man standing next to him. After getting on the bus he finds the heavy man there too, it greatly adds to his fear and horror. He thinks the heavy man and the other three boys talking to him are the members of a street gang and are going to rob him. He has the same feeling when other people on the bus look at him. He thinks that they are looking at him because they know he has money in his pocket. Actually, people are looking at him because he has still his hat on backwards. He becomes very nervous and can’t think straight. With this in mind, Armando decides to change the bus so that he will be safe from potential robbers.
To his great surprise, the three boys get off the bus at the same station as Gonzalez. At this, feelings of hot and cold run through his body. He finds himself in an area without buildings nearby. The boys walk in the direction of Armando. He thinks they are after him and cries frantically for help. He goes to an area full of rubbish and junk and stumbles over something. Though he asks the scavengers for help they can’t hear him. The three boys come near him and he weeps like a baby. He asks them to leave a poor and honest man alone. The boys ask him if they can help him, Armando can’t believe his ears because he had thought that they are there to rob him. The boys introduce themselves as students who had come to the city for a football tournament. The boys also explain that they had taken the wrong bus and had to get off.
After asking the boys many questions, Armando confirms that he is safe. He stops sweating and puts his hat straight. His dream of buying and living in his own house is not harmed.
Important Questions and Answers:
Q.1. Summarize the story ‘Fear’.
Ans: See the summary above for the complete answer.
Q.2.Why did Armando have the idea that everyone in the bank was watching him? What was the truth?
Ans: Armando had the idea that everyone in the bank was watching him mainly because he was withdrawing a large sum of 50000 pesos from the bank. The bank teller asked him so many questions and she spoke louder each time she did. He thought that everyone in the lobby knew how much money he was going to take out and they were watching him.
But this was not the truth. Being nervous, Armando started playing with his hat. Then, he put it on backwards by mistake. As he looked funny, people were watching him.
Q.3. What were the things which made Armando think that someone was going to rob him?
Ans: There were so many things that made Armando think that somebody was going to rub him out. Which are, as given below:
a) The people of the bank look at him.
b)When Armando was at the bank, the cashier counted the money loudly.
c)The heavy man looked at him twice inside the bank.
d) Co-incidentally, Armando and the heavy man travel the same bus.
e) The act of conversation between the heavy man and the three teenager boys.
f) Three teenagers also want along the road which was taken by Armando.
Many things made Armando believe that someone was going to rob him. He had saved fifty thousand pesos in twenty years’ time. He was taking out the money to buy a house. It was natural for him to think that someone might rob him. Particularly, when the bank teller counted the money loudly, he thought people knew how much money he was going to withdraw. As he was ab go out of the bank, he put his hat on backwards. A heavy looked at him twice. While he was waiting for the bus, he saw the same man there. The man also got on the bus and talked to three boys. When he got off the bus, the three boys too got off the bus. Therefore, he thought he was going to be robbed.
Q.4. If someone had told him that his hat was on backwards when he left the bank, do you think that Armando would have felt better? Explain.
Ans: I think if someone had told him that his hat was on backwards, he might have felt better. Majority of the people looked at him just because he had his hat on backwards, but Armando thought that they would rob him. People would not have looked at him like that if his hat was in a proper position. As a result, he would not have a feeling that they were planning to rob him.
Q.5. Do you think we sometimes make things worse rather than better when we get nervous? Explain.
Ans: Yes, I think so. In fact, I think in most cases we make things worse when we get nervous. A nervous person can not judge a situation properly. When he is nervous, he can not act correctly. He is so much puzzled that his mind stops functioning. If a student becomes nervous in the exam hall, he spoils his exam. Similarly, a nervous person can hardly get through interviews.
Q.6. Why is Armando afraid of the heavy man in the bus?
Ans: Armando is much afraid of the heavy man on the bus because the heavy man was looking at him and standing next to him at the bank. The heavy man also got on the same bus. Armando wanted to be free from fear of a heavy man by getting off from the bus. Those three boys, who were talking with a heavy man, also got off from the bus. Armando thought that these three boys might have been sent by the heavy man. He thought they might be the helper of the heavy man. So he was always afraid of the heavy man.
Q.7. Armando said that the man who was going to help him with the purchase of the house told him to bring the money, and he thought that this meant he had to bring cash. Do you think he was right about that? Explain.
Ans: I don’t think Armando was right about that. The man who was going to help him with the purchase of the house simply meant to tell Armando that the price of the new house had to be paid. And, the payment could be made through cheques, drafts etc. In fact, big payments are always made through cheques. Money does not mean only currency notes but also cheques and drafts. They are as good as cash. It was poor Armando’s ignorance and inexperience in such deals that he mistook money for hard cash only.
Q.8. How do you think Armando felt when he found out that the boys wanted to help him? What do you think he said to them?
Ans: I think Armando, first of all, felt greatly relieved when he found out that the boys wanted to help him. He had been very nervous in the bank and throughout his journey. When he realized that he was absolutely safe and the boy intended no harm, he must have thanked them and laughed at his own foolishness.
He might have told the three boys what misled him to think that the boys were gangsters. He might have told them what made him become fearful that day.
Questions for Practice:
- How did Armando’s wife Eva, earn a little money?
- Explain the changes in Armando’s behaviour as a result of fear?
- Write the story of “Fear” in about 300 words.
- Why were the people looking at Armando?
- What did Armando think was the reason some people looked at him?
- Describe what effect fear had on Armando.
- Why did Armando leave the bus?
- Why did Armando have the idea that everyone in the bank was watching him? And describe what various sights made him more and more nervous.