Why do some people want to return to nature, when they live in a world filled with technology, whereas other people would do anything to live in the western world? This topic is brought up for discussion by the award-winning author Matthew Kneale in the short story "Paradise", which first appeared in New Writing 4 in 1995.
The story begins in medias res when the protagonist Neville Ewan, a guidebook author, wakes up in a villager's home in Nepal. The first five lines show that the story is written in a third person singular and that the narrator is intrusive because Neville's thoughts and feelings are presented. Later on in the story Neville tells about the circumstances that lead him to the village Drughat.
Just as Neville wakes up he is handed a glass of tea, the villager Thakali wants him to feel comfortable. Neville feels refreshed and revived because the surroundings have an effect on him. "Neville took in the scene, memorising details"(line 10), here he starts drawing a picture of the scenario in his mind and it is also in this scene where the fire motif first appears. The fire is associated with warmth and comfort. Neville wants to take notes for his book but cannot given that he has not been honest in telling the villagers about his real intentions consequently he becomes racked by a bad conscience as these lines indicate, "A pity he could not do so here, in the warm, but A twinge of guilt"(lines 15-16). The devastating sense of shame prevents him from telling the truth; he has already gone so far to feed on their small supply of food and enjoying their hospitality. .
Thakali, who has shown great munificence, is described as a tall, confident, wise and understandable man who is familiar with the art of pleasing. The same could be said about all the villagers, especially Thakali's wife, who works hard making meals over the fire, "Thakali's wife had metal pot above the fire"(lines 23-25), the fire motif appears for the second in these lines.