This narrative fiction “Quality” by John Galsworthy, was written in the era when advertisements led to the success of a business in Europe, however, loyalty by work was a secondary issue. According to Galsworthy, Quality is an important aspect in the manufacturing of an object, but it is sometimes not sufficient to become the source of accomplishing everything in life. It is merely practicality that can succeed, not the idealistic approach towards achieving goals because idealists keep on adjusting according to the client’s requirements. The theme of the story “Quality’ is a hardworking man survives in his profession. People who make moral choices based upon moral values do not usually prevail at the end. As shown by Galsworthy in his story ‘Quality’ where the Gessler brothers believed in the quality of their product and hence worked sincerely towards it, instead of being practical and utilizing the marketing skills others used to develop their businesses in the West of London.
The story shows the way two German brothers were bitterly struggling with integrity and dedication to satisfy their customers in order to make a living in the competitive life of London. By profession they were boot makers who were infatuated with their work and custom made every pair of boots for every customer who came to purchase one in order to maintain the quality. As stated in the story “for he made only what was ordered”. This shows the dedication of the two brothers towards their work and their consideration of uniqueness of every customer.
Both brothers worked in two small shops that were abutted together. They were such devoted people that they spent most of their time making the boots themselves and had no extra help or employees. They found their sanction in their profession and they considered boot making an art which they had since years. As stated in the story “Id is an Ardt!” They were sincere with their customers because when the narrator once told him, “Mr. Gessler, the last pair of boots creaked, you know.” He got furious and replied, “Zend dem back! I will look at dem.” He continued further, “Zome boods, are bad from birdt. If I can do nothing wid them, I dake dem off your bill.” This showed integrity, dedication and honesty he had towards his work that he took liability for the quality of the boots he had made.
The main conflict of the story was Gessler brothers verses the big firms. The question arises whether the Gessler brothers should stop idealizing their work and become more professional like other firms and advertise their product in order to gain publicity and attract more customers. This could be done if they would change their work style from a small family business to a public entrepreneur and hire employees to increase the quantity of their product. On the other hand should they maintain the distinct value of their product by manufacturing unique quality of the boots? These questions arise in the minds of the readers, who on one hand appreciate their dedication and on the other want them to be more successful too in their business.
The setting of the story is their shop which is in the West end of London. The narrator symbolizes the shop as a “church” to show the importance of these two small shops in the life of the Gesslers. As narrated by him, “as one enters a church; and, sitting on the single wooden chair, waited—for there was never anybody there.” He also uses the word “soul” for the material ‘leather’ which the brothers used to make boots to show how their work was coupled with their souls, that is their work meant everything to them.
As can be seen, the value of quantity is more than quality alone because at the end the brothers had to sell one of their shops to another boot maker. The elder brother died due to depression of losing his shop and the other also did not live long due to slow starvation. He spent incredible amount of time working and never had enough money to spend on food.