Cheque Mate Analysis - A Silent Song and Other Stories Easy Elimu Study Guide

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Cheque Mate by Kevin Baldeosingh

About the Author

Kevin Baldeosingh was born in1963 in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad.

He is a newspaper columnist, author, and Humanist involved in many controversial social issues.

He has worked with the Trinidad Express, Newsday and the Trinidad Guardian.

He worked for 25 years in the field of journalism.

The Title

The title "Cheque Mate" is appropriate for the story for a few reasons.

Firstly, it refers to the chess metaphor that is present throughout the story.

Randall is depicted as playing a long game, manipulating the company's finances and covering his tracks in order to protect himself when the company inevitably goes bankrupt.

Sukiya also plays a long game, using her knowledge of the company's finances and her own cunning to uncover Randall's forgeries and ultimately checkmate him.

Another reason the title is appropriate is because of the actual cheques that are central to the story.

The cheques that Randall has forged with his own signature are the key piece of evidence that Sukiya uses to bring him down.

The title "Cheque Mate" is a clever play on words that ties together the chess metaphor and the actual cheques in the story.

Furthermore, the title also refers to the ultimate outcome of the story, which is Sukiya winning over Randall. It's a clever way of highlighting the power dynamics between the two characters, and how Sukiya manages to outsmart Randall and ultimately triumph over him.

Overall, the title "Cheque Mate" is an effective and fitting title for the story as it encapsulates the central themes of the story, the chess metaphor, the centrality of the cheques and the power dynamics between the characters.

The Plot Summary

The story "Cheque Mate" follows the character Sukiya (Ms Chansing) as she discovers a discrepancy in her bank account involving a large sum of money.

She initially believes it to be a mistake, but upon further investigation, she realizes that it is a cheque signed by her boss, Randall.

Sukiya becomes suspicious and decides to confront Randall about the cheque.

During her commute back to the city, she reflects on her past work experiences with Randall, and how she has always been loyal to him, but also how he has always been secretive and cunning.

Upon her arrival at Randall's office, she presents him with the cheque and demands an explanation.

He reveals that the cheque is a payment for her to keep quiet about a shady business deal involving the undervaluation of shares in a methanol plant.

Sukiya is shocked, but also realizes that Randall has been manipulating her and the company's finances for a long time.

She then pulls out a manila envelope containing several more cheques, all of which have been forged with Randall's signature.

Sukiya becomes emotional and pleads with Randall to help her, but he is unsympathetic and dismissive. In a moment of quick thinking, Sukiya reveals that she had recorded their conversation, and that the recording would be sent to several people as evidence of his wrongdoings.

This revelation leaves Randall speechless and powerless.

The story concludes with Sukiya taking control of the situation and effectively "checkmating" Randall by exposing his corrupt actions and potentially saving herself from legal repercussions.

The title "Cheque Mate" is fitting as it refers to the chess metaphor throughout the story, in which Sukiya outwits and defeats Randall in a game of strategy and deception.

Characters and Characterization

Character List

  • Sukiya - The protagonist of the story, she is a financial manager at a company owned by Randall. She is described as being meticulous and not making mistakes, but also being aware of the company's financial dealings.
  • Randall - The owner of the company where Sukiya works. He is described as having a gruff demeanor and not smiling often. He is also portrayed as cunning and willing to do whatever it takes to protect himself, even if it means committing fraud.
  • Margaret - Randall's secretary, who has been working for him for a long time. She is described as having a little-girl lilt in her voice and as being more informed about Randall's dealings than anyone else in the company.
  • Bank Teller: This person is not described in detail, but they assist Sukiya in examining the cheque that she is confused about.
  • The Chinese - They are not described in detail, but they are mentioned as the buyers of the methanol plant that Sukiya helped negotiate. They are also mentioned as having offered a kickback to Randall and Sukiya.

Character Traits

  • Detail-oriented: Sukiya double-checks her records and the cheques she received, making sure everything is accurate.
  • Logical: Sukiya examines the evidence and comes to a logical conclusion about Randall's actions.
  • Independent: Sukiya doesn't rely on Randall's explanation of the cheques and instead investigates on her own.
  • Pragmatic: Sukiya is able to think quickly and come up with a plan to protect herself when she realizes the potential consequences of the company's financial collapse.
  • Self-assured: Sukiya is confident in her abilities and her position within the company.
  • Strong-willed: Sukiya stands up to Randall and doesn't back down when he tries to intimidate her.
  • Resourceful: Sukiya uses her phone to record Randall's incriminating statement and uses it as leverage in their confrontation.
  • Intelligent: Sukiya is able to understand the implications of the cheques, recognizing that the forgeries were done to protect Randall in the event of a financial collapse.
  • Strategic: Sukiya plans her strategy when she goes to confront Randall and dresses to get an advantage.
  • Loyal: Sukiya mentions that she has always been loyal to Randall and his company.
  • Professional: Sukiya is a successful businesswoman who is highly skilled in her job and does not make mistakes.


  • Cunning: Randall is shown to be very clever and strategic in his business dealings, as seen in his actions of undervaluing the methanol plant shares and forging his own signature on cheques to protect himself in the event of the company's bankruptcy.
  • Amoral: Randall's actions throughout the story suggest that he is not guided by a sense of morality. He is willing to sacrifice the interests of others, including his own employees, in order to protect himself.
  • Cold: Randall is shown to be emotionally detached and unresponsive to the feelings of others. He shows no remorse or regret for his actions and seems to view people as pawns to be used for his own benefit.
  • Self-centered: Randall's primary concern throughout the story is his own well-being, as evidenced by his actions to protect himself from the consequences of the company's bankruptcy.
  • Domineering: Randall is shown to be a controlling figure, both in his business dealings and in his personal relationships. He is dismissive of Sukiya's concerns and expects her to do as he says.


Corruption / Fraud/ bribery

The banks and government will surely unravel and nab the cartel’s underhand deals in cryptocurrency camouflaged in the cheque deposits and contracts.

The first eyebrows are raised when the bank teller repeats the question, “Ms Chansing,? Do you want the ‘thirty million dollars’ deposited in your savings account or would you prefer to open a U.S. dollar account?” (p98).

The official deductible salary standard for top executives does not show in her actual income through platinum credit cards.

Sukiya has accumulated over ten thousand dollars, an amount she deposits five times every month. (p99).

She avoids encounters with bank managers for a bank manager might wonder how a fifty-thousand-a-month salary becomes seven million dollars in savings within six years. He would know enough to make some educated guesses. (p99).

The bank teller reminds Ms Chansing that the cheque is for five million dollars, U.S. equivalent to 30,242,000 Trinidad and Tobago dollars. (p99).

She is responsible for moving vast sums through various channels when the oil and gas boom starts and money flows into the company. Sukiya will need to provide the source of funds, of course. (p101).

Randall had watched too many movies where unrealistically cunning criminals cleaned out businessmen’s offshore accounts by hacking into them. (p100).

Ironically, when Sukiya, a lawyer, is hired as a corporate secretary to detect and close financial loopholes in documents, she gets paid the largest cheques for creating such loopholes. (p103).

The five million cheques she gets she assumes is her fee for having drawn up for the sale of the methanol plant by Randall. It could be a surprise bonus. But now, according to Randall, it is her fee for keeping her mouth shut during that deal. (p101— 107).

Then the truth about the trick unfolds: the money is a fee for keeping her mouth shut on the Chinese methanol deal which Sukiya undervalues the shares by 50 percent. (p107, 109).

  • It is a deal that the Chinese considered protocol even with the (p103).
  • It is clear that the frauds committed, both inadvertent and deliberate, are rewarding, but eventually, the perpetrators will have to pay dearly.

She is almost at the point of betraying herself, insinuating in her mind her readiness to offer herself unto Randall, for he is a man. Sukiya wants every advantage if the meeting turns into a negotiation. (p105).

Deception and manipulation

Randall, the main antagonist of the story, is shown to be a master of deception and manipulation.

He uses forged signatures, kickbacks, and other underhanded tactics to keep the company afloat and protect himself.

Sukiya also employs deception and manipulation in her own way, by recording her conversation with Randall and using it as leverage against him.

Power and control

The story is heavily focused on the power dynamics between Sukiya and Randall.

Sukiya is a highly successful businesswoman, but she is still beholden to Randall in many ways.

Randall, on the other hand, is the head of the company, and he uses his power to bend others to his will.

The two characters are constantly vying for control over the situation, and the reader is left wondering who will come out on top.

Loyalty and betrayal

Sukiya is portrayed as being fiercely loyal to Randall throughout the story.

She does everything she is asked, no matter how questionable, and is willing to sacrifice herself to protect him.

However, when she realizes the extent of his deceit and manipulation, she turns on him and uses her own tactics to take control of the situation.

The theme of loyalty and betrayal is a prevalent one, as the characters are constantly questioning who is truly on their side.

Trust and mistrust

Trust and mistrust are also major themes in the story.

Sukiya and Randall have a complex relationship, and their trust in one another is constantly shifting.

Sukiya initially trusts Randall completely, but as she begins to uncover the truth, she becomes increasingly mistrustful of him.

The theme of trust and mistrust is also present in Sukiya's relationship with the bank teller.

Greed and corruption

The methanol deal and the forgery of cheques are examples of greed and corruption in the story, with Randall willing to engage in illegal activities in order to gain financial benefits.


Randall's deception in regards to the true value of the shares and his forgery of the cheques are examples of deception in the story.

Gender roles

Sukiya is a woman in a position of power and authority, but she is still subject to manipulation and objectification by the men in the story.


Sukiya's actions throughout the story are motivated by her desire to survive the impending financial crisis and protect herself from prosecution.


Sukiya's use of her iPhone to record and email their conversation is a good example of how technology can be used to gain power and protect oneself.

Stylistic Devices


When an idea or animal is given human characteristics. “The sky weeps.”

"The shimmer from the giant windows seemed to become stronger, as though the light had begun to vibrate."


Comparing two things using the words “like” or “as”

"Sukiya's stomach was a cold, tight ball."


Comparing two things without using the words “like” or “as”.

"The universe is collapsing, Sukiya and its masters cannot hold."


Symbolism is a literary device that uses symbols, be they words, people, marks, locations, or abstract ideas to represent something beyond the literal meaning.

The concept of symbolism is not confined to works of literature: symbols inhabit every corner of our daily life.

Sukiya's pen being used by Randall to forge his signature, symbolizing his manipulation and control over her.


Foreshadowing is a literary device used to give an indication or hint of what is to come later in the story.

Foreshadowing is useful for creating suspense, a feeling of unease, a sense of curiosity, or a mark that things may not be as they seem.

"I think there's going to be a worldwide financial crisis before the year is finished."


The definition of irony as a literary device is a situation in which there is a contrast between expectation and reality

Sukiya's pen being used by Randall to forge his signature, symbolizing his manipulation and control over her, but ultimately it is used as evidence against him.


In literature, suspense is an uneasy feeling that a reader gets when they don't know what is going to happen next.

A writer creates suspense through a controlled release of information to readers that raises key questions and makes readers eager, but terrified, to find out what happens.

Sukiya's mounting suspicions and discovery of the forgeries build tension leading up to her confrontation with Randall.


Imagery is a literary device used in poetry, novels, and other writing that uses vivid description that appeals to a readers' senses to create an image or idea in their head.

Through language, imagery does not only paint a picture, but aims to portray the sensational and emotional experience within text.

The use of descriptive language to create vivid imagery of the setting and characters, such as the description of Randall's office as "huge and light and airy" and his face as "the unforgiving god-masks of certain Amerindian tribes."


Repeating words or phrases.

(There are actually many different types of repetition like anaphora and epiphora.)

The repeated use of the phrase "Sukiya" throughout the story creates a sense of emphasis on her role and importance in the story.

Revision questions for Cheque Mate

  1. How relevant is the title of the story, Cheque Mate
  2. Who are the cheque mates in the story?
  3. Why are cheques preferred as their payment modes?
  4. How do the cheque mates exploit contracts’ complexity and detailed nature to commit fraud?
  5. How is sarcasm employed in Cheque Mate?
  6. How symbolic is the title, and how does the duo execute their corrupt syndicate?
  7. How is dialogue used to achieve revelation of the rotten ills of the cheque mates?
  8. Why should corruption be made unattractive to perpetrators?

Essay Question

  1. Explore and analyze the existence of the following themes in the short story titled Cheque Mate
    1. Corruption / Fraud/ bribery
    2. Deceit and Betrayal
    3. Loyalty cheques
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