“The Suit” by Can Themba Sample

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The short story The Suit by Can Themba follows the story of Philemon, a man who craves complete control of his environment and is unable to handle any threat to his perfect version of life. When his wife, Tilly, commits adultery, Philemon becomes obsessed with punishing her, using a suit as a tool for his revenge. Despite moments of contentment, Philemon’s need for control ultimately destroys him, and when he discovers Tilly’s dead body, he realizes that his entire world has collapsed. The story highlights the dangerous consequences of a need for control and the devastating effects it can have on a person’s life.

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Philemon is dominated by a demand to be in direct bid of his ain environment ; in popular footings. he is a “control freak” . He is unable to get by with any menace to his version of “the goodness of life. ” Tilly’s matter occurs outside Philemon’s self-imposed boundaries and he is non equipped to respond to the crisis.

Philemon removes opportunity from even the most commonplace activities. His places and socks are at manus to be picked up as he sneaks out of the sleeping room in the early forenoon. That “he did non like to wake his married woman prevarication by his side” could bespeak consideration. but the add-on of “- merely yet -” to the sentence reveals that he wants clip to organize himself to a province where he is most comfy. A “serene” married woman of “pure beauty” is a demand for his ideal universe. It is ill-defined whether Tilly is cognizant of these outlooks. but it becomes evident that she is either unwilling or unable to run into them. This incompatibility finally destroys Philemon.

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Philemon appears truly happy within his thought of Eden as an “even. unflurried … transition through yearss and months and old ages. ” While his chase of consistence leaves small infinite for exclusion. it consequences in a province of contentment. He hums a melody while he makes the fire and look into his list of things he needs for the twenty-four hours. Philemon’s joy in looking with the breakfast in his “supremest immaculacy” emphasises the stage-management of his being. This desire for order is carried over to the bus-stop where Philemon is “sorry to see that gay old Maphikela was in a waiting line for a coach in front of him. The usage of “daily bulletin” underlines the thought that modus operandi is of import.

Although Philemon appears content. his immediate credence of Maphikela’s piece of chitchat reveals an implicit in insecurity. Philemon’s precedence is non an angry confrontation with his married woman or her lover. but a fleet return to his unreal position quo. The crisis of assurance that Philemon is sing is underlined by his first visit to the beerhall and non stating grace at the dinner tabular array. His modus operandi has been fractured. albeit momently.

It is of import to observe that there is no suggestion of Tilly being thrown out ; she is an built-in portion of Philemon’s modus operandi. Philemon needs to retain complete control of the state of affairs and so can non state anyone in Sophiatown what has happened. He sees the suit as the lever he needs. A state of affairs develops where Philemon is rather sensible provided that his rebuilt agenda is observed. Tilly is permitted to go to the Cultural Club and Philemon even gives her excess money to organize a party. If threatened nevertheless. he reacts brutally. He forces Tilly to take the suit for a walk and to function it a repast in forepart of her friends at the party. He continues to utilize the suit to in secret penalize Tilly. while keeping outward normalcy. His actions are more to reenforce Philemon’s “heaven” that a penalty for criminal conversation.

Philemon’s call on detecting Tilly’s organic structure is non that of a adult male who has lost his married woman. but that of a adult male who realises that his control has been taken off. In a really existent sense. Philemon’s universe has collapsed.

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“The Suit” by Can Themba Sample. (2017, Oct 25). Retrieved from


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