STONES BOUNCE ON WATER By: Dilman dila - Memories we Lost and Other Stories Study Guide

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Dilman Dila, the author of this short story is a Ugandan writer and filmmaker. He is also a social activist. He has written several short stories. Dila has had several short stories published in both online and print magazines over the years. Most of Dila's short films have appeared in several international film festivals, including Clermont Ferrand in France, Durban in South Africa and on SKY TV.

Summary of Events

Events begin in Meg's house, who is married to Joe Paulson a man they met in London as she was doing her studies. They have invited guests who are enjoying themselves with the African climate. It comes to an open up that Peter and Chelsea are drawing something on board. Winnie is quite aware in the way she reacts. She even tells Chelsea off that she is having an affair with her husband Peter.

She keeps on being suspicious that someone is planning to assassinate her, now that she is the chairperson of a charity board. A charitable organization that worked to improve the health and education facilities of the Simon's county. The charity group is quoted as not paying tax, and making a lot of money (p 148)

Meanwhile, Winnie says that she is not comfortable with Simon the narrator being their cook as he can poison her. This comes after her taking a sip of Meg's intoxicated tea mistakenly. This makes Simon and all the other cooks sneak out and away not to come back for job, leaving behind food in the cooking stove (p 1 53)

That morning, Winnie goes missing. She had locked herself her room clone but they couldn't find her in the morning. The case is reported to sergeant Pascal Kivumbi, who investigates only to learn that she had been killed and dumped on the pond. It becomes clear that indeed it was a plan between Peter, Tim Chelsea and the Paulson to exterminate her (p 163)


This short masterpiece is taking place in a fancied independent African state. It is in a shanty village whereby some good food is rare for VIPs. There is a nice pond whereby people who have been killed are normally thrown. The pond is associated with magic, bringing magical realism to a reality, in Dilman Dila's work.

Simon, the narrator vividly describes the events in a past tense form, making "Stones Bounce on Water" enjoyable.



This is an act of deliberate killing of another human being. The theme of murder is quite open in the story. Winnie is dead. She has been killed by her friends for their own selfish gain.

'Winnie starts to suspect of her being killed as the story unfolds. She felt it at very first time when Chelsea proposed of another honey moon in Africa.

"Winnie nearly dropped her cup at Chelsea's remarks. The scowl returned. To hide it, she put the cup on the table and reached for a hanky to wipe her face " (P. 146). She even said it publicly that someone was trying to kill her.

"Someone's trying to kill me!"(p 1 48)

At the end of the day, she disappears, only to be recovered at the dead dumping site, according to Simon, that is the pond.


Betrayal is fully identifiable in this story, in the way Winnie's death being plotted. Winnie turns out to face betrayal from her friends, worse still to her husband.

Everyone turned to Winnie, for she'd dropped her spoon and her face had lost color. She was struggling to keep the food in her mouth.

She lost the battle and dumped the stuff into the napkin on her lap.

"Is that where you'll deposit my body?" she said.

This implies that Winnie is indeed sensing the betrayal from far. Many people, including me, believe these three conspired to murder without the cooperation of the Paulsons. I became firmly convinced of this last night, after BBC radio reported that Peter had married Chelsea. Tim was the best man. The Paulsons skipped the wedding '(P 162-163)

This is Simon, the narrator, who puts things clear that betrayal was at its peak in Winnie's death.


This is actually the excessive yearning or desire for more than it's needed. This is especially desire for money, wealth, food, or other material possessions.

Tim and his friends yearn for Winnies chair ship, and wealth to a point of eradicating her.

'The Yard discovered that Tim called a poacher in Kenya shortly before Tim came to Uganda, but they couldn't prove that the poacher provided Tim with the dart gun ' (p 162)

However, their greed doesn't succeed.

"The publicity hurt the Paulsons charity so much that it ceased all activities two years after Winnie's death. They now live a quite life in their mansion. They are volunteer teachers at a local school. I don't work for them anymore " (p 162)

Winnie's lawyers fought to prevent Tim, Peter and Chelsea from inheriting her money and Gala, but after the trail, there was no reason why they couldn't.


This is a pretense of holding beliefs, feelings, or opinions that one does not actually possess. When one applies criticism to others, or actually the moral self contradiction in that case whereby you plan good things with your 'in-quotes' friends leads to hypocrisy.

Winnie is living with friends who in deed are foes and at the end of the day decides to kill her. As illustrated below:

"Peter, " Winnie hissed, "when I die the police will question you first.

You won't mention that we quarrel every day, will you? You won't mention that we quarrel every time we go to bed, so I better publicize it (P. 152)

This illustration now clearly indicates that peter is cheating on Winnie, with Chelsea "Shut up!" Peter shot out of his chair, banging (tis fist on the table at the same time. He upset a glass You won't shut me up! You are cheating on me with Chelsea!"

"Oh Winnie!" Chelsea said "Don't you Oh Winnie me!" (P.l 52)

Techniques and Language Use

Narrative Voice

First person narrative voice is a narration that has been told from the perceptive of a first person narrator. The narrator is therefore the protagonist in the story and he narrates the events as he experienced them. This kind of narration makes the events to be quite immediate to the reader and hence, it becomes engaging to read. Dilman Dila also uses present tense intertwined with the usual past tense in this story about events that happened in the past. It is as if he is giving commentary on the event. A rapport therefore between the narrator, Simon, and the reader is created.

Vivid Description

One of the ways through which an author can make hisher works to be tangible, enjoyable, and memorable and eye catching is by using vivid description. It's through vivid description that the thematic concern of a story floats in the reader's sea. Below are some of the descriptions in the story. At this time of the year, the hundred feet wide pond had green slime on its surface. Flowery vegetation draped the mountain of rocks that formed a ring around the water. White stones pocked the muddy shore. Several bird species flew about, chirping and singing to add beauty to the scene. We followed the cop to the pond. It looked like a paradise that morning. The encircling cliff of white rocks draped in vegetation stood clear against a blue sky, casting a shadow that offered solace from the sun's heat rays. Where there was no slime, the water sparkled in calmness. The birds chirped louder than ever, and darted about in larger numbers than I'd ever seen (P 159)


A series of dialogue has been employed in this story. This is discourse between two or more characters in a work of art.

"l am Sergeant Pascal Kivumbi, " he said "

Sub County Police - a title that doesn't exist-"Where is the missing Commander woman?"

That question scared the people on the porch more than his appearance did (p 154)

Dialogue creates a sense of immediacy in the text, and an illusion of reality. It appears as if we are listening to the narration a video watching it, making the story appeal to almost all the senses.




Winnie is a character who appears to be quite suspicious, "Just paranoid! Why did you go with that cook to the pond? He's the cook, Tim! He can poison my food!"

She seems probing and observant in this excerpt "He took you to that pond to show you where you can deposit my body after he's poisoned me! Didn't he?"

The flow of events in the story gains momentum through her.


Simon is the narrator of Stones Bounce on Water. He is a cook who is working at Meg's home, together with some two other young men. He spears to be comical. However, he is concerned and remorseful; in the way he is deeply concerned by the death of Winnie, and finds all the details, even after Winnie's death.

Sergeant Pascal Kivumbi

Sergeant Pascal is an ambitious, self driven man, who is committed to Performing his duty as a police officer. He works with a lot of competence and prowess. He is a hard working, confident man, who doesn't give up, not until he gets to find out the route course of Winnies death.


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