Silence! The Court is in Session

by

Vijay Tendulkar

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Sparrows Symbol Analysis

Sparrows Symbol Icon

Sparrows are representative of Benare herself, and more specifically of the devastation she feels at the prospect of losing her child and her livelihood. Twice in the play Benare sings the same song involving the birds, presumably one she learned as a child and now sings to her students. The full song goes, “The parrot to the sparrow said, / ‘Why, oh why, are your eyes so red?’ / ‘Oh, my dear friend, what shall I say? / Someone has stolen my nest away.’ / Sparrow, sparrow, poor little sparrow . . . / ‘Oh, brother crow, oh, brother crow, / Were you there? Did you see it go?”/ ‘No, I don’t know. I didn’t see. / What are your troubles to do with me?”/ O sparrow, sparrow, poor little sparrow . . .” The song explicitly maps on to Benare’s own troubles. Like the sparrow, much of her security (or nest) has been stolen from her; Benare no longer has a job and has little chance of finding a husband. Additionally, during the trial, when Mr. Kashikar decides on a punishment for Benare’s unmarried motherhood, he decides she must end her pregnancy. Although this trial has no actual legal grounding, the threat of the death of her unborn child traumatizes Benare and further mirrors the stealing of the sparrow’s nest. The parrot in the song can most easily be mapped onto Samant, who carries with him a cloth parrot and is the most sympathetic of any of the characters to Benare’s plight. The crow, meanwhile, who is uninterested in the sparrow’s trouble, is reflective of the rest of the characters in the play: Kashikar, Mrs. Kashikar, Ponkshe, Sukhatme, Karnik, and Rokde. These men and women, although ostensibly friends and colleagues of Benare, have no interest in helping her with her troubles and instead antagonize her further.

Sparrows Quotes in Silence! The Court is in Session

The Silence! The Court is in Session quotes below all refer to the symbol of Sparrows. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Silence! The Court is in Session published in 1996.
Act Three Quotes

The parrot to the sparrow said,
‘Why, oh why, are your eyes so red?’
‘Oh, my dear friend, what shall I say?
Someone has stolen my nest away.’
Sparrow, sparrow, poor little sparrow . . .
‘Oh, brother crow, oh, brother crow,
Were you there? Did you see it go?’
‘No, I don’t know. I didn’t see.
What are your troubles to do with me?’
O sparrow, sparrow, poor little sparrow . . .
Act Three

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant
Related Symbols: Sparrows
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
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Silence! The Court is in Session PDF

Sparrows Symbol Timeline in Silence! The Court is in Session

The timeline below shows where the symbol Sparrows appears in Silence! The Court is in Session. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Benare returns newly clean, singing about a parrot and its friend, a sparrow, who has been crying because “someone has stolen my nest away.” (full context)
Act Three
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...the theatre. The speakers play a song from earlier in which a parrot asks a sparrow why she’s crying, and she says her nest has been stolen. They ask a crow... (full context)