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Shvoong Home>Books>Classic Literature>Summary of Selma Lagerlof’S “the Rat-Trap” Review

Summary of Selma Lagerlof’S “the Rat-Trap”

Book Review   by:akso6o175     Original Author: Andy Kester Sawian
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There was a poor man who sold rat-traps and earned his livelihood. His income from the traps was not enough. So he also begged and stole petty things at times. He was not a born thief as no man is. Necessity compelled him in the petty thieving. He used to sleep at night in the houses of people if someone allowed him or some places like factories like Ramsjo Iron-Works. Once an idea struck him that the world is like a rat-trap full of temptations to trap men. If a man is tempted by the baits of wealth, power, etc. he is trapped like a rat in a rat trap. The man selling rat-traps lived a poor life without enough food or shelter. So he looked upon the world in the light of his own sufferings. Once he took shelter in the house of a man who was the crofter in Ramsjo Iron-Works. The man was lonely without any family. He welcomed the rat-trap man as he would get rid of his loneliness at least for a night.
The crofter told him about his life and showed him the thirty kronor that the crofter had kept near the window. Initially he was happy to get the money but very soon the rat trap began to work. He feared detection and avoided the highway. He walked through the forest and lost his way there. He then saw the forge of the Ramsjo Iron-Works and went there to spend the night near the forge. At that time, the iron-master, the owner of the factory, came in. The iron-master by mistake thought him to be his old friend, Nils Olof, with whom he had served in the regiment. To help his friend fallen on bad days, he invited the peddler to his house. The rat-trap man or peddler realized that the iron-master was making a mistake but he did not correct him in the hope that he might help him a little.
But he did not like to go into his house as he feared that he might be exposed and detected. But the kind-hearted daughter of the iron-master Edla Willmansson was too compassionate and loving to be resisted. She suspected even that the man might have committed some crime. But she ignored that and thought that the man, always haunted by fear and security, must have lived a miserable life. She wanted to give him at least a night’s peace and security. She assured the peddler that in her house, he would be safe from ant interference and he would be free to leave anytime. She persuaded him to be her guest on the Christmas Eve. The genuine compassion of Edla gave the man a sense of peace and security. He slept all the while as if he wanted to make up for the sleepless nights he had spent throughout his life.
He ate the Christmas delicacies. The daughter gave him the suit that he was given to wear and she invited him to the next Christmas and assured him of secrecy and security. The rat-trap man was overwhelmed. The next morning, he left the manor house. But before leaving, he left the packet containing the thirty kronor of the crofter. He wrote a letter to Edla asking her to return the money to the crofter. He wrote that she had treated him with respect as if he was a real captain. She had treated him as a man and not as a thief. That genuine regard had induced him to be a better man and giving up stealing. Thus, the genuine compassion and kindness of Edla changed the life of a thief and turned him to a better man.

Published: April 29, 2011   
Please Rate this Review : 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Answer   Question  :    nice View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    how does the metaphor of the rattrap serve to highlight the human predicament? View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    how do elda get to know that a rattrap peddler is a thief? View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    Was the peddlar Captain von Stahle? ( 1 Answer ) View All
  1. Answer  :    no he was not by nidhi chauhan Wednesday, July 30, 2014
  1. Answer   Question  :    really helpful 4 me View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    WHAT IS THE MEANING OF rattrap? ( 2 Answers ) View All
  1. Answer  :    its an material used to trap the rat Saturday, July 12, 2014
  1. Answer  :    in which Saturday, July 12, 2014
  1. Answer   Question  :    jgtdekik ( 2 Answers ) View All
  1. Answer  :    what the heck????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wednesday, March 19, 2014
  1. Answer  :    what?? Thursday, February 27, 2014
  1. Answer   Question  :    The story mentions him being caught by the iron-master, is there a reason why you didn't include this? View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    why did crofter show the 30 kronors to peddler ( 1 Answer ) View All
  1. Answer  :    to show off . lool :P Wednesday, February 26, 2014
  1. Answer   Question  :    from where did the peddler get the idea of the world being rat-trap? ( 1 Answer ) View All
  1. Answer  :    one fine day,the peddler had fallen into line of thought which seemed very interesting to him. He though all the rich and joys,all the materialistic items etc were only to attract people. if a man is tempted by the bait of wealth he's trapped in world of rattrap .Thanks! :] Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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  1. 3. anjali chauhan

    summary

    i want a short summary

    0 Rating Wednesday, July 30, 2014
  2. 2. sriharsha

    opinion

    how do u come this type of beautiful summaries.Thank you.

    1 Rating Thursday, August 15, 2013
  3. 1. urvashi

    good job

    this summary is very nicely written and it can be understood by any one good job. :)

    1 Rating Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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