Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Intro to Genre~


            The two texts that I am going to compare are a short story by O. Henry titled ‘The thing’s the play’ and another short story by Saki titled ‘Tobermory’. The first is romance realist fiction and the latter is from a science fiction genre.
            The two stories have two distinguishable themes. The first story’s theme is about the complex nature of love, that it is not influenced by physical traits. Helen’s love towards his husband that she only saw for less than an hour after taking the vow stays and never withers even after twenty years. The second story’s theme on the other hand is about a man idea of changing the nature of the world backfires, bringing panic to the world. Cornelius’s experimented for almost seventeen years to make animals able to speak human language, but right after he finally succeed, the animal, a cat named Tobermory was too cleaver and knows too much of the secrets and gossips of the people around him. This appears to be too problematic for them which cause them to plan on exterminating Tobermory. We can see that the theme of these two genres contradict each other in which, the realist fiction use a more personal theme in which someone who may have experienced it in real life may be able to relate to it better, while the science fiction one use a more public theme that is easier to be accessed by readers.
            The story ‘The thing’s the play’ starts with a conversation a scene with the narrator were with his reporter friend, at a performance. The reporter talked about his situation where he needs humor story for his column in the newspaper. This is when the narrator, starts his story, though his story are not ‘humorous’. His story starts with the description of a place that once a wedding took place. This is where the ‘actual’ story starts.  The narrator introduce the characters involved by relating them to one another, in which we were told that Helen is marrying Frank, and John was Frank’s best man. The conflict arose when John came to Helen asking her to flee with him, which was rejected by Helen, but Frank saw them together in the bride’s room and misunderstood. Both Frank and John left. Helen was left alone married by without her husband with her. In the coming years, she was proposed by a young lawyer but she rejected him, saying that she was married. After twenty years since the incident, two men came and rent a room at her house. Both of them were charming and caught her attention. One of them, Ramonti, is a musician, who had no memory of his past, and another one is a handsome man that has something special that made Helen think that he was Frank, and she had an affection towards him. But, the story was twisted here where actually Ramonti is actually Frank who lost his memory but still love her, and the other man is John which still love Helen too. In the end, her love is still with the real Frank, when she knows the truth after John tells her who he actually is. Contrarily, the story ‘Tobermory’ starts with a scene at a tea-table where Mr. Appin, a scientist was at Lady Blemley’s house party. Mr. Appin announced that he had made a new discovery, he was able to make animals talk. The other guests did not believe him resulting in him bringing Tobermory, Lady Blemley’s pet that he had been conducting experiment on. To their surprise, Tobermory can speaks human language perfectly. But as they asked Tobermory questions, the cat proved to be highly intelligence and knows a lot about their secrets as he had been watching them all this time. He exposed many of their secrets and this had made them panicked and ultimately decide to exterminate Tobermory, worrying that he might teaches other cats and cause more chaos. They poisoned his food, but he didn’t went for his dinner that night. They were all anxious, but in the morning the gardener found Tobermory corpse, with a bite on his throat. He was killed in a fight. We can clearly see the difference from the way the story we told, which in ‘The thing’s the play’ the story is actually in another story, while in ‘Tobermory’ it was quite straight forward. The plots in the first story which is a realist romance were also more complicated compared to the second story that is from the science fiction. A realist genre’s plots usually are more complicated because they reflects that of a real life, while a science fiction may have a more straight forward plot in order to let the readers absorb the new ideas and the concept introduced in the story.
            The first story, ‘The thing’s the play’ takes place in a western country, at around the 19th century based on the act of kissing the lady’s hand while kneeling which suggest that it was around that era. The second story, ‘Tobermory’ also takes place in a western country, at around the same era as the first story. This is due to the fact that they have a house party, with their acquaintance and they also have servants which the Englishman usually has in the 19th century. This shows that, stories with different genres can have the same settings.
            In ‘The thing’s the play’, the main character Helen was portrayed very detailed in which her personality were well presented to the readers. Again, this is due to the story being a realist fiction where the main character needs to be real enough to enable the readers to engage the story. In ‘Tobermory’ the characters are not as detailed as the one in ‘The thing’s the play’, because the focus of the story lies in the ideas and the philosophy of the story. We can also see the difference in the amount of characters in the two stories where in a realist fictions, less characters were used in order to enable the reader to dive into the story easier without losing focus.
Point of view
            Both of the stories use the third person omniscient point of view. The reason why this point of view was used is because it explains everything in the story. This allows the story to be accessed easier by the reader without having to guess and make assumptions which can cause confusion in understanding the story. As mention before, a realist fiction has a complicated plot and therefore having a clear picture of the whole story would helps a lot. As for science fiction, since it is a new concept or idea, a clear image of the story is needed to prevent misinterpretation of the writer ideas.
            In the story ‘The thing’s the play’, Helen herself symbolized ‘true love’ in which ones love was not affected by physical appearance. Helen almost accepted John only because she thought John was Frank, but once she knows the truth, she came running at Ramonti, who is actually Frank. She loves him not for his looks or traits, but for who he is. As for ‘Tobermory’, the talking cat, Tobermory, symbolized the human desire in changing the world without thinking about the side effect or the collateral damages. Mr. Appin thinks solely about giving the animals the ability to talk, but he never considers the possible unwanted effects.
            The language used in the ‘The thing’s the play’ was rather simple but with a lot of adjectives, to give the readers the most accurate visualization of the situation in the story. On the other hand, in ‘Tobermory’ there were not as many adjectives used and the writer keeps the surrounding simple and maintain the focus of the story on his new concept and the ideas. A realist genre is more descriptive and in-depth compared to the science fiction genre which is straightforward and less rich vocabulary.