Global Tales Question Essay, Research Paper
1. For a long time after the Lord created the world, the only creatures on it were the animals.
2. My grandmother writes without commas or full stops
3. “Who put de clock back, eh!!”
Examine each opening sentence carefully. To what degree does each sentence give a clue as to the story which is to follow and the use of language within it?
The first sentence of the story “Why apes look like people?” already gives us a clue that the story is a fable. The phrase, “For a long time”, simply shows the common opening sentence to children’s fables, other similar sentences which appear in fables are, “Once upon a time”, “Long long ago”. Then the following phrase, “Lord created the world, the only creatures on it were the animals”, Lord is one of the most common characters and animals obviously are the favourite characters in fables.
Then the second particular point of this sentence is that the sentence is phrased in a straightforward way, they are simple words without any accompany of profound or bombastic words, which are clearly meant for readers mostly like children. The main motive of the simple and straightforward words is to make sure the children understand the fable and enjoy it. The language is standard, which we can assume that the following story will mostly be in a standard form of English.
The third point of this sentence is that we can interpret what the story which is to follow will be like from the phrase, “the only creatures on it were the animals,” which means that something must have happened to change the fact that the animals were the only creatures living in the world. Then from here, we can interpret that perhaps the existence of human beings creates some changes in the animals’ lifestyles, the environment they live in and their habitats.
Normally in every fable, animals are the main characters, thus they will be given a significant identity, and an ability to talk like human beings. An example is the story which involves a lion being trapped, and requires a mouse’s assistance to set him free, both are given the abilities to talk like humans, if necessary to make my point more evident, the story, “Tortoise and the Hare”, is a famous fable about animals having human characteristics such as laziness and determination. When animals are being described as behaving like people and having human characteristics, this is known as anthropomorphism.
Similarly, in this story, anthropomorphism is definitely being practised here, and we can presume that the animals featured in this story are given significant personalities which can bring out some of the common characteristics which humans have. Accompanying that, humour might be present in this story as well, as most fables do contain some humour qualities to amuse and entertain the children readers so as to keep the enthusiasm high to complete the whole story.
Usually in fables, there is always a moral value attached to it, which is ofcourse meant to teach the young readers moral lessons in life. So we can come to a conclusion that this story, “Why apes look like people?” will definitely have a moral value behind it, which ofcourse will reflect human nature through the different animal characters. But we can have a guess at the moral value that it might be of humans’ relationships with animals or maybe the bad human qualities such as greediness, selfishness or even jealousy.
The next story, “Full Stop”, can be briefly interpreted by the first sentence, “My grandmother writes without commas or full stops”. From the mention of “without commas or full stops”, we can assume that the story is about the way the grandmother writes her letters, or maybe the interchange of letters between the narrator and her grandmother. The grandmother has a weird way of writing letters, without commas or full stops, this can be the so called “selling point” of the story to attract readers to read the story, and also to reflect on the grandmother’s inability to write proper letter formats.
Then we can also presume that the story is about the relationship between the narrator and her grandmother as they write letters to each other, which could mean that both of them have a close relationship with each other. Because writing letters is a form of communication, which we can also conclude that the narrator and her grandmother are living very far from each other. Perhaps, the technology at that time is not very advanced, and to really calculate the cost of phone calls and writing letters, the latter one is ofcourse the most cheapest and common way of communication between two people living far from each other.
From here, we can see that the characters might not be wealthy, as making phone calls is definitely the most efficient way of communication, but they do not use it. Maybe the narrator and the grandmother are people who focus on sincerity, thus writing letters is a more of a sentimental way, which may reflects that both characters are quite sentimental people.
The language used in the first sentence is non-standard, which means that some parts of the story are of non-standard English or without punctuations, especially the letters wrote by the grandmother. The interchange of letters between the two characters is in a chatty style, and it can be interpreted from the sentence as the first sentence is without punctuations, and it is likely that the narrator is like chatting with her grandmother in the letters.
But we cannot assume that the language used in the story is partly Jamaican and religious especially the grandmother’s letters, as it is not quite obvious in the first sentence, and it is not mentioned that the grandmother is a Jamaican, but we can assume that both of the narrator and her grandmother are not living near to each other by the usage of letters as a form of communication.
The third story, “The Escape” ’s beginning sentence is “Who put de clock back, eh!” From this sentence, we know that it is a threat and it is spoken in dialect, as it is not proper English. The threat gives a hint to the story, that the following story will surely tell the reason to that threat and the reactions of the people being yelled at. The story will ofcourse be related to the word “escape”, and the threat perfectly fits into the title as something bad must have happened to cause that threatening situation, perhaps the escape might have caused that.
It is quite evident for the sentence to reflect on the story following up, as the story is about the narrator’s mother’s escape to Jamaica, and to escape from the father’s forbidden permission to go to Jamaica because the threat might be after the mother’s disappearance. It is quite easy to think of what may follow on, through the first sentence.
Then it is the language which is obvious too, as the language used in the opening sentence is non-standard just like the previous story, “Full Stop”. We can conclude that the language is some sort of a dialect from a particular West Indies country because the language used is commonly spoken by West Indians, particularly Patois, or Creole, the favourite dialects practised in these countries. So the following content of the story will be full of this dialect, and perhaps mixed with English but not in a perfect standard.
Then we can come to an assumption of the characters’ nature by the beginning sentence, the threat “Who put de clock back, eh!” It is obviously spoken in a very harsh tone, perhaps quite loudly which we can say that character who says it is yelling or shouting with anger, as the clock is put back, thus the character will be late for work or for appointment. Then we can predict that punishments to whomever responsible for the act will be featured in the following paragraphs to give a degree of seriousness of the consequences with the clock being put back. This further leads us to the escape and the process in the story, thus it is quite easy to predict what the story is about by looking at the first sentence.
The dialogue approach in the beginning sentence can explain that the story will be filled with dialogues, maybe lots of them, as the dialect being used is definitely outstanding and well-perform if used in dialogues and this ofcourse will bring out another element of the story, perhaps a humourous style of the author. This could ofcourse bring us to another assumption of the story.
All the three sentences have each of their own uniqueness in bringing out the main element of the respective story, but to determine what the story is about following up is quite difficult by just looking at the first sentence, depending on the information, the style, the language and the structure of the sentence is being used in.
To really compare and contrast the three sentences, I can say that the sentence “For a long time after the Lord created the world, the only creatures on it were the animals” from the story “Why apes look like people”, gives the most obvious and simple clue to the plot of the story, it is quite easy to determine the content of the story. Mainly because of the common fable-opening sentence as it gives us a hint to the animal characters, the language, the anthropomorphism being used, and the moral value behind it.
Following up is the sentence, “Who put de clock back, eh!” from the story, “The Escape”. It is very obvious in the language, as it is a dialect. Then the way the story is built through the dialogues, as the dialect is best presented and more understandable if used in dialogues, then the following story is probably about the punishments as the tone of the sentence is quite harsh, so it is not so hard to predict that. From the sentence we can branch out to other different possibilities of what the story is like, that the character is mad for being late, then the story might be about the reasons to why the clock is put back. But the possibilities are not as much as those from the sentence from the first story, “Why apes look like people”
The last ofcourse will be “Full Stop” with the sentence, “My grandmother writes without commas or full stops”. It is quite difficult to determine what the story will be like later on, as I could not generate as much possibilities as the sentences from the top two stories. It is quite limited and the only conclusion to the language used is non-standard, but the story is full of religious phrases, especially in the grandmother’s letters. It does not give us a clue to the fact that the grandmother is very religious, and the relationship with the narrator and her mother is bad. Thus the degree of the clues to what the story will be like is not as high as the top two stories, “The Escape” and “Why apes look like people”.
In conclusion, as I have mentioned above, to really determine the content of the story and its language through the first sentence has to really depend on the information given, the tone of the sentence, the structure of the sentence, the style and the language it is used in. The results of the degree of reflecting the content and the language of the three stories are placed in an order with the best possibilities of the stories, and the easiness to determine the elements of the stories, which is that the sentence “For a long time after the Lord created the world, the only creatures on it were the animals” is the most obvious and easy to interpret one while the sentence, “My grandmother writes without commas or full stops” is the hardest and difficult to deduce one.