Synopsis of Quality by John Galsworthy

About the Author of Quality

John Galsworthy is a reputed English novelist and playwright. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in general. His writings deal with the hardships of people and the need for women's rights. His writings deal with social issues as well as moral values extolling the virtues of the good inherent in humans, and the need for upholding women's rights and animal protection.
The author has penned popular plays like Loyalties and The Skin Game. The Forsyte Saga is a trilogy that deals with the story of three generations in an upper-middle-class family. The short story Quality' has attracted much attention because of the sympathetic approach to the characters as well as the theme.

Summary of Quality

Quality' is about two brothers who love the craft of making shoes. The author knew them from his young days. The shop did not have any grand display or advertisement; just simply a board with the name 'Gessler Brothers written on it. A beautiful pair of shoes displayed in the window represented the 'soul of the boot'. The shoes were made only on order and were a marvelous work of art. It was the younger brother he always talked to, and he would tell the writer his opinions about the modern shoemakers who gave priority to quantity over quality. Advertisement and market tricks made better business whereas quality and craftsman-ship had to take a beating. The author, out of pity for the hardworking shoemakers, ordered more than he needed but still could not help them as the boots would last forever and the shoemaker would be unhappy if he ordered too often as this, according to the old shoemaker was an insult to his craftsmanship. Their business suffered so much that he had to let out a part of the shop. Once, when the author met him, he told him that his brother had expired as he could not bear the thought of losing his shop. The younger brother himself looked wan and tired. At that time the author ordered several pairs of boots. They were better than ever. After that he went abroad. When he came back, he once again visited the shoemaker and was surprised to see how old he looked. He gave an order for four pairs of shoes, and it took much time to be delivered. But when they came, they were the best. One day he went to thank the man but was disappointed and distressed to know that he was dead. The young man who was in the shop told him how old Mr. Gessler had died of starvation, as he would keep on working even without eating. He never advertised and made boots himself, which took a long time to deliver and nobody had the patience to wait and thus, he lost customers.


tenement - a building divided into separate blocks of rooms;
inconceivable - unimaginable:
marvelous - amazing:
incarnating - embodying:
inkling - slight understanding:
sardonic - sarcastic;
crinkly - full of lines or wrinkles:
guttural - throaty, harsh-sounding:
incense - scent;
divesting - depriving someone of something:
rebuking - scolding:
integument - outer protective layer;
conscientiously - thoughtfully, morally;
reproachful - expressing blame or criticism;
conspiracy - a secret plan:
pinched - wretched or haggard-looking:
tremulous - characterized by trembling as from weakness:
ingratiating - trying to please, to win favor or approval. 
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