Can recasting linear based information into graphic organizers facilitate better critical thinking, J Serie, K Owens

Tags: Rainsford, General Zaroff, The Lottery, Summers, Old Man Warner, The Most Dangerous Game, Mr. Rainsford, Creative Education, Bobby Martin, Hutchinson, Richard Edward Connell
Content: Applied Research II | Fall '14 Can recasting linear based information into graphic organizers facilitate better Critical thinking? Jacqi Serie Masters Candidate in Design Research College of Visual Art and design University of North Texas Instructor: Keith Owens
Summary of Hypothesis and Lit Review/Framework "The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done. -Jean Piaget
When analyzing the effectiveness of using graphic organizers transform linear information as a means to further critical thinking we first have to look at how people consume and process information. Theorist Jean Piaget suggests that early learners first understand information in categories. Children inherently group experiences into schemas. In Piaget's schema theory, he describes the processing of information in stages a young learner passes through: the sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage.1 The final stage, formal operational, is where abstract thought, deductive reasoning and problem solving take place.2 Starting at infancy children will assimilate information to fit categories already defined in their mind.3 For example, when a young child sees a zebra they may call it a horse. They are already grouping traits associated with the animal to fit their preexisting understanding of it. Graphic organizers do the same thing but visually. They sort information into visible groups that aid in understanding. If learners initially understand information in categories it is plausible that recasting linear information into graphic organizers that show relationships and prompt talking points can lead to deeper thinking. Graphic organizers, or diagrams, act as a tool to frame information for better analysis and Pattern Recognition. They are visual symbols that help map complex information to show classification, sequencing, cause and effect, and relationships. This mapping helps a learner derive inferences less apparent if only displayed linearly. A study done in 2003 found that the use of graphic organizers improved students higher order thinking skills when compared with more traditional teaching instruction such as lecture or linear note-taking.4 In Piaget's schema theory it is common for children, too young to fully understand language, to start recognizing symbols.5 Children as early as 2-years-old understand grouping objects by category as a way of making sense of information.6 This suggests that at a young age we may be hard-wired to understand information graphically and in groupings. An example of this is a semantic map shown below (Figure1). This hierarchal grouping shows the relationship the main
2 (1) Cherry, "Jean Piaget's Life and Contributions to Psychology." (2) Cherry, "What Is the Formal Operational Stage of Cognitive Development?" (3) Cherry, "What Is the Formal Operational Stage of Cognitive Development?" (4) Lubin, Jacqueline, and Marcelline Sewak. "Enhancing Learning Through the Use of Graphic Organizers: A Review of the Literature." (5) Cherry, Kendra. "What Is the Preoperational Stage of Cognitive Development?" (6) "Thinking Skills." PBS.
Summary of Hypothesis and idea, "dog breeds," has with
Lit Review/Framework the subordinate concepts,
cont. "working group" and "sport-
ing group" By using strategic
placement, ovals and lines it
quickly allows the viewer to
sort and recognize relevant
information according to its
importance.7 The versatility
of diagramming is also ap-
parent if we take the same
information and place it in
a Venn Diagram as seen in Figure 2. The viewer now sees
FIGURE 2: Venn Diagram example
the main concepts in two different circles, suggesting differences, but where
the circles overlap suggests similarities.8 These diagrams are jumping off
points for conversation and insight among learners. Graphic organizers
clarify main concepts, allowing the semantics of language to take a back
seat. This allows the learner to see the essential information, patterns and
relationships. They are also more universal by nature thereby lessening the
possibility of misinterpretation.9
A vital aspect of graphic organizers is the act of constructing them.
The cognitive thinking that occurs before and after creating the diagram is
essential to deeper think-
ing and analysis. It requires
the student to think con-
structively, first analyzing
the information and then
synthesizing it to reveal a
relationship. They have to
identify concepts or themes
to uncover importance.
different perspectives and
supporting ideas have to
be considered to effectively
communicate it visually.10
Assembling linear informa-
tion into graphic organizers
may allow students to be-
FIGURE 3: Example graphic organisers 3
(7) Dexter, Douglas D., Youn J. Park, and Charles A. Hughes. "A Meta-Analytic Review Of Graphic Organizers (8) Dexter, Douglas D., Youn J. Park, and Charles A. Hughes. "A Meta-Analytic Review Of Graphic Organizers (9) Ellis, Edwin. "Q&A: What's the Big Deal with Graphic Organizers?" (10) Ellis, Edwin. "Q&A: What's the Big Deal with Graphic Organizers?" (11) Ellis, Edwin. "Q&A: What's the Big Deal with Graphic Organizers?"
Summary of Hypothisis and come better strategic learners. Moreover, it may increase their communica-
Lit Review/Framework tion and writing skills as well as their analytical thinking.11 Correspondingly,
cont. it can also allow an instructor to see if there are consistent missed connec-
tions or if learners are struggling with a major concept from the reading.
Figure 3 shows multiple graphic organizers and their purpose. Students can
begin to translate their readings into visual diagrams sparking conversation
and drawing inferences.
In Piaget's final stage of cognitive development, formal operational,
he states that adolescents, 12 years and up, are starting to think in system-
atic ways using symbols, deriving abstract concepts, and problem solving.12
This is a crucial stage in intellectual maturity. They are beginning to make
connections that yield new knowledge. They are beginning to become criti-
cal thinkers. Thinking critically or being able to evaluate and reflect on ones
understanding of an idea or concept is more than accumulating facts and
regurgitating them. Critical thinking is the ability to:13
·
Understand the logical connections between ideas
·
Identify, construct and evaluate arguments
·
Detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning
·
Solve problems systematically
·
Identify the relevance and importance of ideas
·
Reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values
All of these abilities involve a deeper level of thinking and understanding of
relationships between concepts -- relationships that can be made visible with
graphic organizers.
If we review the different types of graphic organizers and compare
them to the traits associated with critical thinking such as: interpretation,
analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and self regulation we can see
that certain organizers aid in facilitating those traits. For example, if we take
the trait interpretation as an example, by critical thinking standards this
could refer to the "meaning or significance of something" or the "wide vari-
ety of experiences, situations, or data"14 and then cross reference that to the
organizers in Figure 3 we can see that certain ones could have the ability to
decipher or infer knowledge such as the spider or fishbone organizer. These
two organizers do two different things but can show us multiple aspects of a
concept. The spider diagram might interpret meaning by showing a relation-
ship amongst how the information is grouped or categorized while the fish-
bone diagram could show us a cause and effect. The organizers act as a way
to sort and interpret concepts forcing the learner to make decisions about
what they have read and think about placement within preexisting knowl-
4 (11) Ellis, Edwin. "Q&A: What's the Big Deal with Graphic Organizers?" (12) Cherry, Kendra. "What Is the Formal Operational Stage of Cognitive Development?" (13) Lau, Joe, and Jonathan Chan. "[Tutorial C01] What Is Critical Thinking?" (14) Lau, Joe, and Jonathan Chan. "[Tutorial C01] What Is Critical Thinking?"
Summary of Hypothisis and edge as well as new. Figure 4 shows a breakdown of how the critical thinking Lit Review/Framework traits could be used to translate and facilitate deeper thinking via graphic cont. organizers. Critical Thinking trait Purpose/Translation Graphic Organizer
Interpretation What does this mean? What is happening?
categorize decode significance
Analysis Why do you think? Pros and Cons? Assumptions? Inference Evidence implies? Additional info needed?
examine ideas identify arguments, claims Query evidence draw conclusions, reasoning
Evaluation Credible claim? Strength of argument?
assessing credibility, quality of argument
Explanation Specific findings? Why do you think?
justify procedures, present arguments
Self regulation Methodology? Credible evidence?
Self correct
FIGURE 4: Critical thinking translated into organizers
Graphic organizers can facilitate better critical thinking among learners because they help categorize and show relationships among concepts, something we may already be hard-wired to do according to the schema theory. If learners are presented with linear information and can, themselves, decode it into a diagram they are beginning to play an active role in deeper thinking by asking questions and analyzing meaning. With the proper understanding of a variety of organizers students can then be empowered to sift through the semantics of linear information and recognize importance and meaning of a passage.
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Project Proposal
Education is constantly evolving. Teachers are looking for new ways to reach their students and prepare them to be critical thinkers. I am proposing a study that will evaluate the use and effectivness graphic organizers would have on developing critical thinking skills among students. This study would look at traditional linear based information, such as popular short stories, students are expected to read and analyze at ninth grade level and above. I would use direct observational research and unstructured interviewing to gather qualitative data from the students and teachers. This data will reflect the impact graphic organizers have on facilitating deeper thinking.
Project Design
For the preparation of this project I will first submit an IRB for approval. The participants will consist of: · Two english teachers from Plano ISD and Justin ISD · Sixty ninth and tenth graders · Myself The materials being used will be: · A brief guide/handout to graphic organizers · Butcher paper, pens · Reading materials, prompting questions Their teacher will have already introduced linear based information to them in the traditional lecture format prior to my interaction with them. I will be shadowing the teacher during this process recording classroom interactions and the process the students go through to facilitate critical thinking. All raw data such as interviews and recordings will be kept in a secured location and I will be the sole proprietor. Once data is analized it will be the shared property of myself, the teachers involved as well as the education administrators. All parties involved will be made anonymous for external publications.
Phase I -- Conduct Study and data collection The study will be conducted over three different class periods. Each class period will be approximately 90 minutes long and will cover a short story (three total) that is already worked into the class corriculum. For the purpose of this proposal I have preselected three popular short stories to use as an example. These short stories have complex, layered symbolism and are normally used to introduce larger concepts to students such as morality and power struggles. Over the coarse of the three days I will gradually decrease my invovlement in framing and building the graphic organizers. I want the students start analysing and synthesising the information via graphic organizers on their own. All observations will be video recorded. I will begin by observing the teacher conduct a traditional, lecture based
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Project Design Lesson Plan. My approach will be a combination of "fly-on-the-wall" and "shad-
cont owing." I will observe the students without any interaction but will consult with
the teacher after she delivers the lesson, gathering information on how he or she
is directing the class to achieve the desired outcome. This will help to shape the
next set of lessons introducing graphic organizers. The teachers involvement in
the creation of the graphic organizer lessons will be vital because of their prior
experience with the students and knowledge of assessment needs. This will also
help in educating the teacher on the exstensive use of graphic organizers.
Before introducing the students to the first short story I will first give a
brief introduction to what they are and the various uses for them such as show-
ing scale, orientation, and hiearchy. This will also be accompanied by a handout
so that the student can refer to it in later parts of the study. Once they are famil-
iar with graphic organizers we will begin to look at the first short story, "The
Most Dangerous Game." They will have been given the short story prior to class
to read. The students and I will discuss the the major themes happening specifi-
cally targeting one, such as the power struggle between all the major characters
and how that can be framed in an organizer.
Figure 5 is an example of this. It shows the different levels of power the
characters have during major scenes in the story. You will notice that they all
seem to cross paths or group during the Hierarchy of power through story arc
Less Power More
third interaction of the hunt. This is an opportunity to discuss what was happening and its meaning during that moment
H Hunter I Ivan C Czar
on ship H
dinner the hunt (2) (3) bedroom
H
C
C
I
HC HC
H
I
in the story. The
participation from the
class to construct this
I
C
organizer with me
FIGURE 5: A Most Dangerous Game organizer
will be vital in showing them the ways you can use them.
Once the class and I finish building the graphic organizer and reflect on
the story's themes we will discuss how the organizer did or did not help them in
thinking more indepth about the subject matter. Here is a breakdown of the first
90-minute session:
· 25 minutes - Introduction to graphic organizers
· 30 minutes - Implementation of graphic organizer
· 25 minutes - Reflection on story
· 10 minutes - Reflection on organizers
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Project Design
For the second class session we will be reviewing a different short story,
cont "To Kill an Elephant." Again, the students will have been given the short story
prior to meeting so they can read it. We will start the class with a brief review of
the previous days discusssion. After that, we will discuss the major theme of the
story such as conflict and I will give them an empty organizer such as the Venn
diagram. The students will then break into groups and fill in the diagram discussing
all the similarites and differences. Figure 6 is an example of a Venn Diagram filled
in with concepts from the story. After
about 20 minutes the groups will share their thoughts and facilitate discussion among the class. The breakdown of class time appears below:
Lack of
British's unjust
authority or occupation of Burma
respect
Wrestling with his conscious
· 15 minutes - Review of the previous organizer · 20 minutes - theoretical framework of story with an organizer
Mocking from the Burmese
His conscious and self image
· 20 minutes - Implementation of graphic organizer · 35 minutes - Reflection on story
Empathy and explotation happening
FIGURE 6: To Kill An Elephant Venn Diagram
The Final class time will consist
of a brief discussion with myself and the students about the story, such as "The
Lottery." The students will then break into different groups and construct their own
theoretical framework explained via a graphic organizer. The final portion of the
class will be used for the students to discuss their organizers as well as if the act of
using them helped them reach new conclusions about the story. The time for the
third session is below:
· 15 minutes - Story discussion
· 40 minutes - Theoritcal framework and graphic organizer implementing
· 35 minutes - Reflection on story and organizer
Phase II -- Analysis and Preparation of Deliverables After conducting the three sessions with the students and teachers I will gather qualitative data the following ways: Student Survey - This will consist of a twenty question online survey asking various questions about the use of the organizers and any new thinking it might have led to compared to linear based lecturing. Student and teacher Interviews - I will conduct interviews that will ask more in-depth questions pertaining to what critical thinking developed over the coarse of using the oganizers. All materials will be collected and coded for key developments.
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Deliverables Phase III-- Deliverables Once all data is collected and analized I will produce the following materials: · A comprehensive Case study consisting of survey and interview notes, key findings as well as further recommendations for the use of graphic organizers as they present themselves. · A set of intructional podcast lessons covering the various uses and abilities graphic organizers have specifically in connection with prompting discussion points that can further deeper thinking. These podcasts will also be available for students to use to aid in deciphering complex literature and concepts presented to the them in class. · A teacher's handbook that will reiterate the informtion in the podcasts but will act as a field-guide catered to critical thinking expectations for them to use during class. All parties involved in the research will be brought in for the iterative process of tweaking lesson plans and preparing materials such as the podcast and field-guide.
Timeline
TIMEFRAME
Prep Jan - Feb
Objectives
Attain permissions to conduct study
Phase I Feb - March Conduct study with students, teachers
Send in IRB,
Observe
Confirm
initial lessons,
Tasks
teachers and school district
implement three class
sessions
Phase II April Conduct interviews and code data
Phase III May Present findings
Schedule interviews with students, teachers, analize data
Write case study and create lesson plans, field guide
Deliverables
Proof of approval and research schedule
Video recordings of class sessions, materials from students
rough draft of findings to be reviewed by teachers
Case study Podcasts Field guide
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Bibliography
1. Cherry, Kendra. "Jean Piaget's Life and Contributions to Psychology." About. Accessed November 9, 2014. http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesofmajorthinkers/p/piaget.htm. 2. Cherry, Kendra. "What Is the Formal Operational Stage of Cognitive Development?" About. Accessed November 15, 2014. http://psychology.about.com/od/piagetstheory/p/formaloperation.htm. 3. Lubin, Jacqueline, and Marcelline Sewak. "Enhancing Learning Through the Use of Graphic Organizers: A Review of the Literature." Lynchburg College, 2007. SPED 644, Section A, Dr. Edward Polloway. 4. Cherry, Kendra. "What Is the Preoperational Stage of Cognitive Development?" About. Accessed November 15, 2014. http://psychology.about.com/od/piagetstheory/p/preoperational.htm. 5. "Thinking Skills." PBS. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.pbs.org/wholechild/abc/cognitive.html. 6. Dexter, Douglas D., Youn J. Park, and Charles A. Hughes. "A Meta-Analytic Review Of Graphic Organizers And science instruction For Adolescents With learning disabilities: Implications For The Intermediate And Secondary Science Classroom." Learning Disabilities Research & Practice: 204-13. 7. Dexter, Douglas D., Youn J. Park, and Charles A. Hughes. "A Meta-Analytic Review Of Graphic Organizers And Science Instruction For Adolescents With Learning Disabilities: Implications For The Intermediate And Secondary Science Classroom." Learning Disabilities Research & Practice: 204-13. 8. Ellis, Edwin. "Q&A: What's the Big Deal with Graphic Organizers?" www.GraphicOrganizers.com. 9. Ellis, Edwin. "Q&A: What's the Big Deal with Graphic Organizers?" www.GraphicOrganizers.com. 10. Ellis, Edwin. "Q&A: What's the Big Deal with Graphic Organizers?" www.GraphicOrganizers.com. 11. Lau, Joe, and Jonathan Chan. "[Tutorial C01] What Is Critical Thinking?" Critical Thinking Web. Accessed November 19, 2014. http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/ct.php.
Addendum
1. Connell, Richard Edward. The Most Dangerous Game. Mankato, Minn.: Creative Education, 1990. 2. Orwell, George. Shooting an Elephant, and Other Essays. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1950. 3. Jackson, Shirley, and Reg Sandland. The Lottery. Mankato, Minn.: Creative Education, 1983.
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A Most Dangerous Game "OFF THERE to the right--somewhere--is a large island," said Whitney." It's rather a mystery--" By Richard Edward Connell "What island is it?" Rainsford asked. "The old charts call it `Ship-Trap Island,"' Whitney replied." A suggestive name, isn't it? Sailors have a curious dread of the place. I don't know why. Some superstition--" "Can't see it," remarked Rainsford, trying to peer through the dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht. "You've good eyes," said Whitney, with a laugh," and I've seen you pick off a moose moving in the brown fall bush at four hundred yards, but even you can't see four miles or so through a moonless Caribbean night." "Nor four yards," admitted Rainsford. "Ugh! It's like moist black velvet." "It will be light enough in Rio," promised Whitney. "We should make it in a few days. I hope the jaguar guns have come from Purdey's. We should have some good hunting up the Amazon. Great sport, hunting." "The best sport in the world," agreed Rainsford. "For the hunter," amended Whitney. "Not for the jaguar." "Don't talk rot, Whitney," said Rainsford. "You're a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?" "Perhaps the jaguar does," observed Whitney. "Bah! They've no understanding." "Even so, I rather think they understand one thing--fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death." "Nonsense," laughed Rainsford. "This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters. Do you think we've passed that island yet?" "I can't tell in the dark. I hope so." "Why? " asked Rainsford. "The place has a reputation--a bad one." "Cannibals?" suggested Rainsford. "Hardly. Even cannibals wouldn't live in such a God-forsaken place. But it's gotten into sailor lore, somehow. Didn't you notice that the crew's nerves seemed a bit jumpy today?" "They were a bit strange, now you mention it. Even Captain Nielsen--" "Yes, even that tough-minded old Swede, who'd go up to the devil himself and ask him for a light. Those fishy blue eyes held a look I never saw there before. All I could get out of him was `This place has an evil name among seafaring men, sir.' Then he said to me, very gravely, `Don't you feel anything?'--as if the air about us was actually poisonous. Now, you mustn't laugh when I tell you this--I did feel something like a sudden chill. 11
A Most Dangerous Game cont. "There was no breeze. The sea was as flat as a plate-glass window. We were drawing near the island then. What I felt was a--a mental chill; a sort of sudden dread." "Pure imagination," said Rainsford. "One superstitious sailor can taint the whole ship's company with his fear." "Maybe. But sometimes I think sailors have an extra sense that tells them when they are in danger. Sometimes I think evil is a tangible thing--with wave lengths, just as sound and light have. An evil place can, so to speak, broadcast vibrations of evil. Anyhow, I'm glad we're getting out of this zone. Well, I think I'll turn in now, Rainsford." "I'm not sleepy," said Rainsford. "I'm going to smoke another pipe up on the afterdeck." "Good night, then, Rainsford. See you at breakfast." "Right. Good night, Whitney." There was no sound in the night as Rainsford sat there but the muffled throb of the engine that drove the yacht swiftly through the darkness, and the swish and ripple of the wash of the propeller. Rainsford, reclining in a steamer chair, indolently puffed on his favorite brier. The sensuous drowsiness of the night was on him." It's so dark," he thought, "that I could sleep without closing my eyes; the night would be my eyelids--" An abrupt sound startled him. Off to the right he heard it, and his ears, expert in such matters, could not be mistaken. Again he heard the sound, and again. Somewhere, off in the blackness, someone had fired a gun three times. Rainsford sprang up and moved quickly to the rail, mystified. He strained his eyes in the direction from which the reports had come, but it was like trying to see through a blanket. He leaped upon the rail and balanced himself there, to get greater elevation; his pipe, striking a rope, was knocked from his mouth. He lunged for it; a short, hoarse cry came from his lips as he realized he had reached too far and had lost his balance. The cry was pinched off short as the blood-warm waters of the Caribbean Sea dosed over his head. He struggled up to the surface and tried to cry out, but the wash from the speeding yacht slapped him in the face and the salt water in his open mouth made him gag and strangle. Desperately he struck out with strong strokes after the receding lights of the yacht, but he stopped before he had swum fifty feet. A certain coolheadedness had come to him; it was not the first time he had been in a tight place. There was a chance that his cries could be heard by someone aboard the yacht, but that chance was slender and grew more slender as the yacht raced on. He wrestled himself out of his clothes and shouted with all his power. The lights of the yacht became faint and ever-vanishing fireflies; then they were blotted out entirely by the night. Rainsford remembered the shots. They had come from the right, and doggedly he swam in that direction, swimming with slow, deliberate strokes, conserving his strength. For a seemingly endless time he fought the sea. He began to count his strokes; he could do possibly a hundred more and then-- Rainsford heard a sound. It came out of the darkness, a high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror. He did not recognize the animal that made the sound; he did not try to; with fresh vitality he swam toward the sound. He heard it again; then it was cut short by another noise, crisp, staccato. 12
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
"Pistol shot," muttered Rainsford, swimming on. Ten minutes of determined effort brought another sound to his ears--the most welcome he had ever heard--the muttering and growling of the sea breaking on a rocky shore. He was almost on the rocks before he saw them; on a night less calm he would have been shattered against them. With his remaining strength he dragged himself from the swirling waters. Jagged crags appeared to jut up into the opaqueness; he forced himself upward, hand over hand. Gasping, his hands raw, he reached a flat place at the top. Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then. All he knew was that he was safe from his enemy, the sea, and that utter weariness was on him. He flung himself down at the jungle edge and tumbled headlong into the deepest sleep of his life. When he opened his eyes he knew from the position of the sun that it was late in the afternoon. Sleep had given him new vigor; a sharp hunger was picking at him. He looked about him, almost cheerfully. "Where there are pistol shots, there are men. Where there are men, there is food," he thought. But what kind of men, he wondered, in so forbidding a place? An unbroken front of snarled and ragged jungle fringed the shore. He saw no sign of a trail through the closely knit web of weeds and trees; it was easier to go along the shore, and Rainsford floundered along by the water. Not far from where he landed, he stopped. Some wounded thing--by the evidence, a large animal--had thrashed about in the underbrush; the jungle weeds were crushed down and the moss was lacerated; one patch of weeds was stained crimson. A small, glittering object not far away caught Rainsford's eye and he picked it up. It was an empty cartridge. "A twenty-two," he remarked. "That's odd. It must have been a fairly large animal too. The hunter had his nerve with him to tackle it with a light gun. It's clear that the brute put up a fight. I suppose the first three shots I heard was when the hunter flushed his quarry and wounded it. The last shot was when he trailed it here and finished it." He examined the ground closely and found what he had hoped to find--the print of hunting boots. They pointed along the cliff in the direction he had been going. Eagerly he hurried along, now slipping on a rotten log or a loose stone, but making headway; night was beginning to settle down on the island. Bleak darkness was blacking out the sea and jungle when Rainsford sighted the lights. He came upon them as he turned a crook in the coast line; and his first thought was that be had come upon a village, for there were many lights. But as he forged along he saw to his great astonishment that all the lights were in one enormous building--a lofty structure with pointed towers plunging upward into the gloom. His eyes made out the shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau; it was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows. "Mirage," thought Rainsford. But it was no mirage, he found, when he opened the tall spiked iron gate. The stone steps were real enough; the massive door with a leering gargoyle for a knocker was real enough; yet above it all hung an air of unreality. He lifted the knocker, and it creaked up stiffly, as if it had never before been used. He let it fall, and it startled him with its booming loudness. He thought he heard steps within; the door remained closed. Again Rainsford lifted the heavy knocker, and let it fall. The door opened then--opened as suddenly as if it were on a spring--and Rainsford stood blinking in the river of glaring gold light that poured out. The first thing Rainsford's eyes discerned was the largest man Rainsford had ever seen--a gigantic creature, solidly made and black bearded to the waist. In his hand the man held a long-barreled revolver, and he was pointing it straight at Rainsford's heart. 13
A Most Dangerous Game cont. Out of the snarl of beard two small eyes regarded Rainsford. "Don't be alarmed," said Rainsford, with a smile which he hoped was disarming. "I'm no robber. I fell off a yacht. My name is Sanger Rainsford of New York City." The menacing look in the eyes did not change. The revolver pointing as rigidly as if the giant were a statue. He gave no sign that he understood Rainsford's words, or that he had even heard them. He was dressed in uniform--a black uniform trimmed with gray astrakhan. "I'm Sanger Rainsford of New York," Rainsford began again. "I fell off a yacht. I am hungry." The man's only answer was to raise with his thumb the hammer of his revolver. Then Rainsford saw the man's free hand go to his forehead in a military salute, and he saw him click his heels together and stand at attention. Another man was coming down the broad marble steps, an erect, slender man in evening clothes. He advanced to Rainsford and held out his hand. In a cultivated voice marked by a slight accent that gave it added precision and deliberateness, he said, "It is a very great pleasure and honor to welcome Mr. Sanger Rainsford, the celebrated hunter, to my home." Automatically Rainsford shook the man's hand. "I've read your book about hunting snow leopards in Tibet, you see," explained the man. "I am General Zaroff." Rainsford's first impression was that the man was singularly handsome; his second was that there was an original, almost bizarre quality about the general's face. He was a tall man past middle age, for his hair was a vivid white; but his thick eyebrows and pointed military mustache were as black as the night from which Rainsford had come. His eyes, too, were black and very bright. He had high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face--the face of a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat. Turning to the giant in uniform, the general made a sign. The giant put away his pistol, saluted, withdrew. "Ivan is an incredibly strong fellow," remarked the general, "but he has the misfortune to be deaf and dumb. A simple fellow, but, I'm afraid, like all his race, a bit of a savage." "Is he Russian?" "He is a Cossack," said the general, and his smile showed red lips and pointed teeth. "So am I." "Come," he said, "we shouldn't be chatting here. We can talk later. Now you want clothes, food, rest. You shall have them. This is a most-restful spot." Ivan had reappeared, and the general spoke to him with lips that moved but gave forth no sound. "Follow Ivan, if you please, Mr. Rainsford," said the general. "I was about to have my dinner when you came. I'll wait for you. You'll find that my clothes will fit you, I think." It was to a huge, beam-ceilinged bedroom with a canopied bed big enough for six men that Rainsford followed the silent giant. Ivan laid out an evening suit, and Rainsford, as he put it on, noticed that it came from a London tailor who ordinarily cut and sewed for none below the rank of duke. The dining room to which Ivan conducted him was in many ways remarkable. There was a medieval magnificence about it; it suggested a baronial hall of feudal times with its oaken panels, its high ceiling, 14
A Most Dangerous its vast refectory tables where twoscore men could sit down to eat. About the hall were mounted heads Game cont. of many animals--lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears; larger or more perfect specimens Rainsford had never seen. At the great table the general was sitting, alone. "You'll have a cocktail, Mr. Rainsford," he suggested. The cocktail was surpassingly good; and, Rainsford noted, the table apointments were of the finest--the linen, the crystal, the silver, the china. They were eating borsch, the rich, red soup with whipped cream so dear to Russian palates. Half apologetically General Zaroff said, "We do our best to preserve the amenities of civilization here. Please forgive any lapses. We are well off the beaten track, you know. Do you think the champagne has suffered from its long ocean trip?" "Not in the least," declared Rainsford. He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite. But there was one small trait of .the general's that made Rainsford uncomfortable. Whenever he looked up from his plate he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly. "Perhaps," said General Zaroff, "you were surprised that I recognized your name. You see, I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian. I have but one passion in my life, Mr. Rainsford, and it is the hunt." "You have some wonderful heads here," said Rainsford as he ate a particularly well-cooked filet mignon. " That Cape buffalo is the largest I ever saw." "Oh, that fellow. Yes, he was a monster." "Did he charge you?" "Hurled me against a tree," said the general. "Fractured my skull. But I got the brute." "I've always thought," said Rainsford, "that the Cape buffalo is the most dangerous of all big game." For a moment the general did not reply; he was smiling his curious red-lipped smile. Then he said slowly, "No. You are wrong, sir. The Cape buffalo is not the most dangerous big game." He sipped his wine. "Here in my preserve on this island," he said in the same slow tone, "I hunt more dangerous game." Rainsford expressed his surprise. "Is there big game on this island?" The general nodded. "The biggest." "Really?" "Oh, it isn't here naturally, of course. I have to stock the island." "What have you imported, general?" Rainsford asked. "Tigers?" The general smiled. "No," he said. "Hunting tigers ceased to interest me some years ago. I exhausted their possibilities, you see. No thrill left in tigers, no real danger. I live for danger, Mr. Rainsford." The general took from his pocket a gold cigarette case and offered his guest a long black cigarette with a silver tip; it was perfumed and gave off a smell like incense. "We will have some capital hunting, you and I," said the general. "I shall be most glad to have your society." "But what game--" began Rainsford. 15
A Most Dangerous Game cont. "I'll tell you," said the general. "You will be amused, I know. I think I may say, in all modesty, that I have done a rare thing. I have invented a new sensation. May I pour you another glass of port?" "Thank you, general." The general filled both glasses, and said, "God makes some men poets. Some He makes kings, some beggars. Me He made a hunter. My hand was made for the trigger, my father said. He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea, and he was an ardent sportsman. When I was only five years old he gave me a little gun, specially made in Moscow for me, to shoot sparrows with. When I shot some of his prize turkeys with it, he did not punish me; he complimented me on my marksmanship. I killed my first bear in the Caucasus when I was ten. My whole life has been one prolonged hunt. I went into the army--it was expected of noblemen's sons--and for a time commanded a division of Cossack cavalry, but my real interest was always the hunt. I have hunted every kind of game in every land. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I have killed." The general puffed at his cigarette. "After the debacle in Russia I left the country, for it was imprudent for an officer of the Czar to stay there. Many noble Russians lost everything. I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities, so I shall never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris. Naturally, I continued to hunt--grizzliest in your Rockies, crocodiles in the Ganges, rhinoceroses in East Africa. It was in Africa that the Cape buffalo hit me and laid me up for six months. As soon as I recovered I started for the Amazon to hunt jaguars, for I had heard they were unusually cunning. They weren't." The Cossack sighed. "They were no match at all for a hunter with his wits about him, and a high-powered rifle. I was bitterly disappointed. I was lying in my tent with a splitting headache one night when a terrible thought pushed its way into my mind. Hunting was beginning to bore me! And hunting, remember, had been my life. I have heard that in America businessmen often go to pieces when they give up the business that has been their life." "Yes, that's so," said Rainsford. The general smiled. "I had no wish to go to pieces," he said. "I must do something. Now, mine is an analytical mind, Mr. Rainsford. Doubtless that is why I enjoy the problems of the chase." "No doubt, General Zaroff." "So," continued the general, "I asked myself why the hunt no longer fascinated me. You are much younger than I am, Mr. Rainsford, and have not hunted as much, but you perhaps can guess the answer." "What was it?" "Simply this: hunting had ceased to be what you call `a sporting proposition.' It had become too easy. I always got my quarry. Always. There is no greater bore than perfection." The general lit a fresh cigarette. "No animal had a chance with me any more. That is no boast; it is a mathematical certainty. The animal had nothing but his legs and his instinct. Instinct is no match for reason. When I thought of this it was a tragic moment for me, I can tell you." Rainsford leaned across the table, absorbed in what his host was saying. "It came to me as an inspiration what I must do," the general went on. 16
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
"And that was?" The general smiled the quiet smile of one who has faced an obstacle and surmounted it with success. "I had to invent a new animal to hunt," he said.
"A new animal? You're joking." "Not at all," said the general. "I never joke about hunting. I needed a new animal. I found one. So I bought this island built this house, and here I do my hunting. The island is perfect for my purposes--there are jungles with a maze of traits in them, hills, swamps--"
"But the animal, General Zaroff?"
"Oh," said the general, "it supplies me with the most exciting hunting in the world. No other hunting compares with it for an instant. Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits."
Rainsford's bewilderment showed in his face.
"I wanted the ideal animal to hunt," explained the general. "So I said, `What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?' And the answer was, of course, `It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason."'
"But no animal can reason," objected Rainsford.
"My dear fellow," said the general, "there is one that can."
"But you can't mean--" gasped Rainsford.
"And why not?"
"I can't believe you are serious, General Zaroff. This is a grisly joke."
"Why should I not be serious? I am speaking of hunting."
"Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder."
The general laughed with entire good nature. He regarded Rainsford quizzically. "I refuse to believe that so modern and civilized a young man as you seem to be harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life. Surely your experiences in the war--"
"Did not make me condone cold-blooded murder," finished Rainsford stiffly.
Laughter shook the general. "How extraordinarily droll you are!" he said. "One does not expect nowadays to find a young man of the educated class, even in America, with such a naive, and, if I may say so, mid-Victorian point of view. It's like finding a snuffbox in a limousine. Ah, well, doubtless you had Puritan ancestors. So many Americans appear to have had. I'll wager you'll forget your notions when you go hunting with me. You've a genuine new thrill in store for you, Mr. Rainsford."
"Thank you, I'm a hunter, not a murderer."
"Dear me," said the general, quite unruffled, "again that unpleasant word. But I think I can show you that your scruples are quite ill founded."
"Yes?"
17
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
"Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships--lassars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them."
"But they are men," said Rainsford hotly.
"Precisely," said the general. "That is why I use them. It gives me pleasure. They can reason, after a fashion. So they are dangerous."
"But where do you get them?"
The general's left eyelid fluttered down in a wink. "This island is called Ship Trap," he answered. "Sometimes an angry god of the high seas sends them to me. Sometimes, when Providence is not so kind, I help Providence a bit. Come to the window with me."
Rainsford went to the window and looked out toward the sea.
"Watch! Out there!" exclaimed the general, pointing into the night. Rainsford's eyes saw only blackness, and then, as the general pressed a button, far out to sea Rainsford saw the flash of lights.
The general chuckled. "They indicate a channel," he said, "where there's none; giant rocks with razor edges crouch like a sea monster with wide-open jaws. They can crush a ship as easily as I crush this nut." He dropped a walnut on the hardwood floor and brought his heel grinding down on it. "Oh, yes," he said, casually, as if in answer to a question, "I have electricity. We try to be civilized here."
"Civilized? And you shoot down men?"
A trace of anger was in the general's black eyes, but it was there for but a second; and he said, in his most pleasant manner, "Dear me, what a righteous young man you are! I assure you I do not do the thing you suggest. That would be barbarous. I treat these visitors with every consideration. They get plenty of good food and exercise. They get into splendid physical condition. You shall see for yourself tomorrow."
"What do you mean?"
"We'll visit my training school," smiled the general. "It's in the cellar. I have about a dozen pupils down there now. They're from the Spanish bark San Lucar that had the bad luck to go on the rocks out there. A very inferior lot, I regret to say. Poor specimens and more accustomed to the deck than to the jungle." He raised his hand, and Ivan, who served as waiter, brought thick Turkish coffee. Rainsford, with an effort, held his tongue in check.
"It's a game, you see," pursued the general blandly. "I suggest to one of them that we go hunting. I give him a supply of food and an excellent hunting knife. I give him three hours' start. I am to follow, armed only with a pistol of the smallest caliber and range. If my quarry eludes me for three whole days, he wins the game. If I find him "--the general smiled--" he loses."
"Suppose he refuses to be hunted?"
"Oh," said the general, "I give him his option, of course. He need not play that game if he doesn't wish to. If he does not wish to hunt, I turn him over to Ivan. Ivan once had the honor of serving as official knouter to the Great White Czar, and he has his own ideas of sport. Invariably, Mr. Rainsford, invariably they choose the hunt."
18
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
"And if they win?" The smile on the general's face widened. "To date I have not lost," he said. Then he added, hastily: "I don't wish you to think me a braggart, Mr. Rainsford. Many of them afford only the most elementary sort of problem. Occasionally I strike a tartar. One almost did win. I eventually had to use the dogs."
"The dogs?"
"This way, please. I'll show you."
The general steered Rainsford to a window. The lights from the windows sent a flickering illumination that made grotesque patterns on the courtyard below, and Rainsford could see moving about there a dozen or so huge black shapes; as they turned toward him, their eyes glittered greenly.
"A rather good lot, I think," observed the general. "They are let out at seven every night. If anyone should try to get into my house--or out of it--something extremely regrettable would occur to him." He hummed a snatch of song from the Folies Bergere.
"And now," said the general, "I want to show you my new collection of heads. Will you come with me to the library?"
"I hope," said Rainsford, "that you will excuse me tonight, General Zaroff. I'm really not feeling well."
"Ah, indeed?" the general inquired solicitously. "Well, I suppose that's only natural, after your long swim. You need a good, restful night's sleep. Tomorrow you'll feel like a new man, I'll wager. Then we'll hunt, eh? I've one rather promising prospect--" Rainsford was hurrying from the room.
"Sorry you can't go with me tonight," called the general. "I expect rather fair sport--a big, strong, black. He looks resourceful--Well, good night, Mr. Rainsford; I hope you have a good night's rest."
The bed was good, and the pajamas of the softest silk, and he was tired in every fiber of his being, but nevertheless Rainsford could not quiet his brain with the opiate of sleep. He lay, eyes wide open. Once he thought he heard stealthy steps in the corridor outside his room. He sought to throw open the door; it would not open. He went to the window and looked out. His room was high up in one of the towers. The lights of the chateau were out now, and it was dark and silent; but there was a fragment of sallow moon, and by its wan light he could see, dimly, the courtyard. There, weaving in and out in the pattern of shadow, were black, noiseless forms; the hounds heard him at the window and looked up, expectantly, with their green eyes. Rainsford went back to the bed and lay down. By many methods he tried to put himself to sleep. He had achieved a doze when, just as morning began to come, he heard, far off in the jungle, the faint report of a pistol.
General Zaroff did not appear until luncheon. He was dressed faultlessly in the tweeds of a country squire. He was solicitous about the state of Rainsford's health.
"As for me," sighed the general, "I do not feel so well. I am worried, Mr. Rainsford. Last night I detected traces of my old complaint."
To Rainsford's questioning glance the general said, "Ennui. Boredom."
Then, taking a second helping of crкpes Suzette, the general explained: "The hunting was not good last night. The fellow lost his head. He made a straight trail that offered no problems at all. That's the trouble with these sailors; they have dull brains to begin with, and they do not know how to 19
A Most Dangerous get about in the woods. They do excessively stupid and obvious things. It's most annoying. Will you Game cont. have another glass of Chablis, Mr. Rainsford?" "General," said Rainsford firmly, "I wish to leave this island at once." The general raised his thickets of eyebrows; he seemed hurt. "But, my dear fellow," the general protested, "you've only just come. You've had no hunting--" "I wish to go today," said Rainsford. He saw the dead black eyes of the general on him, studying him. General Zaroff 's face suddenly brightened. He filled Rainsford's glass with venerable Chablis from a dusty bottle. "Tonight," said the general, "we will hunt--you and I." Rainsford shook his head. "No, general," he said. "I will not hunt." The general shrugged his shoulders and delicately ate a hothouse grape. "As you wish, my friend," he said. "The choice rests entirely with you. But may I not venture to suggest that you will find my idea of sport more diverting than Ivan's?" He nodded toward the corner to where the giant stood, scowling, his thick arms crossed on his hogshead of chest. "You don't mean--" cried Rainsford. "My dear fellow," said the general, "have I not told you I always mean what I say about hunting? This is really an inspiration. I drink to a foeman worthy of my steel--at last." The general raised his glass, but Rainsford sat staring at him. "You'll find this game worth playing," the general said enthusiastically." Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength and stamina against mine. Outdoor chess! And the stake is not without value, eh?" "And if I win--" began Rainsford huskily. "I'll cheerfully acknowledge myself defeat if I do not find you by midnight of the third day," said General Zaroff. "My sloop will place you on the mainland near a town." The general read what Rainsford was thinking. "Oh, you can trust me," said the Cossack. "I will give you my word as a gentleman and a sportsman. Of course you, in turn, must agree to say nothing of your visit here." "I'll agree to nothing of the kind," said Rainsford. "Oh," said the general, "in that case--But why discuss that now? Three days hence we can discuss it over a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, unless--" The general sipped his wine. Then a businesslike air animated him. "Ivan," he said to Rainsford, "will supply you with hunting clothes, food, a knife. I suggest you wear moccasins; they leave a poorer trail. I suggest, too, that you avoid the big swamp in the southeast corner of the island. We call it Death Swamp. There's quicksand there. One foolish fellow tried it. The deplorable part of it was that Lazarus followed him. You 20
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
can imagine my feelings, Mr. Rainsford. I loved Lazarus; he was the finest hound in my pack. Well, I must beg you to excuse me now. I always' take a siesta after lunch. You'll hardly have time for a nap, I fear. You'll want to start, no doubt. I shall not follow till dusk. Hunting at night is so much more exciting than by day, don't you think? Au revoir, Mr. Rainsford, au revoir." General Zaroff, with a deep, courtly bow, strolled from the room.
From another door came Ivan. Under one arm he carried khaki hunting clothes, a haversack of food, a leather sheath containing a long-bladed hunting knife; his right hand rested on a cocked revolver thrust in the crimson sash about his waist.
Rainsford had fought his way through the bush for two hours. "I must keep my nerve. I must keep my nerve," he said through tight teeth.
He had not been entirely clearheaded when the chateau gates snapped shut behind him. His whole idea at first was to put distance between himself and General Zaroff; and, to this end, he had plunged along, spurred on by the sharp rowers of something very like panic. Now he had got a grip on himself, had stopped, and was taking stock of himself and the situation. He saw that straight flight was futile; inevitably it would bring him face to face with the sea. He was in a picture with a frame of water, and his operations, clearly, must take place within that frame.
"I'll give him a trail to follow," muttered Rainsford, and he struck off from the rude path he had been following into the trackless wilderness. He executed a series of intricate loops; he doubled on his trail again and again, recalling all the lore of the fox hunt, and all the dodges of the fox. Night found him leg-weary, with hands and face lashed by the branches, on a thickly wooded ridge. He knew it would be insane to blunder on through the dark, even if he had the strength. His need for rest was imperative and he thought, "I have played the fox, now I must play the cat of the fable." A big tree with a thick trunk and outspread branches was near by, and, taking care to leave not the slightest mark, he climbed up into the crotch, and, stretching out on one of the broad limbs, after a fashion, rested. Rest brought him new confidence and almost a feeling of security. Even so zealous a hunter as General Zaroff could not trace him there, he told himself; only the devil himself could follow that complicated trail through the jungle after dark. But perhaps the general was a devil--
An apprehensive night crawled slowly by like a wounded snake and sleep did not visit Rainsford, although the silence of a dead world was on the jungle. Toward morning when a dingy gray was varnishing the sky, the cry of some startled bird focused Rainsford's attention in that direction. Something was coming through the bush, coming slowly, carefully, coming by the same winding way Rainsford had come. He flattened himself down on the limb and, through a screen of leaves almost as thick as tapestry, he watched. . . . That which was approaching was a man.
It was General Zaroff. He made his way along with his eyes fixed in utmost concentration on the ground before him. He paused, almost beneath the tree, dropped to his knees and studied the ground. Rainsford's impulse was to hurl himself down like a panther, but he saw that the general's right hand held something metallic--a small automatic pistol.
The hunter shook his head several times, as if he were puzzled. Then he straightened up and took from his case one of his black cigarettes; its pungent incenselike smoke floated up to Rainsford's nostrils.
Rainsford held his breath. The general's eyes had left the ground and were traveling inch by inch up the tree. Rainsford froze there, every muscle tensed for a spring. But the sharp eyes of the hunter stopped before they reached the limb where Rainsford lay; a smile spread over his brown face. Very deliberately he blew a smoke ring into the air; then he turned his back on the tree and walked carelessly away, back along the trail he had come. The swish of the underbrush against his hunting boots grew fainter and fainter.
21
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
The pent-up air burst hotly from Rainsford's lungs. His first thought made him feel sick and numb. The general could follow a trail through the woods at night; he could follow an extremely difficult trail; he must have uncanny powers; only by the merest chance had the Cossack failed to see his quarry.
Rainsford's second thought was even more terrible. It sent a shudder of cold horror through his whole being. Why had the general smiled? Why had he turned back?
Rainsford did not want to believe what his reason told him was true, but the truth was as evident as the sun that had by now pushed through the morning mists. The general was playing with him! The general was saving him for another day's sport! The Cossack was the cat; he was the mouse. Then it was that Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror.
"I will not lose my nerve. I will not."
He slid down from the tree, and struck off again into the woods. His face was set and he forced the machinery of his mind to function. Three hundred yards from his hiding place he stopped where a huge dead tree leaned precariously on a smaller, living one. Throwing off his sack of food, Rainsford took his knife from its sheath and began to work with all his energy.
The job was finished at last, and he threw himself down behind a fallen log a hundred feet away. He did not have to wait long. The cat was coming again to play with the mouse.
Following the trail with the sureness of a bloodhound came General Zaroff. Nothing escaped those searching black eyes, no crushed blade of grass, no bent twig, no mark, no matter how faint, in the moss. So intent was the Cossack on his stalking that he was upon the thing Rainsford had made before he saw it. His foot touched the protruding bough that was the trigger. Even as he touched it, the general sensed his danger and leaped back with the agility of an ape. But he was not quite quick enough; the dead tree, delicately adjusted to rest on the cut living one, crashed down and struck the general a glancing blow on the shoulder as it fell; but for his alertness, he must have been smashed beneath it. He staggered, but he did not fall; nor did he drop his revolver. He stood there, rubbing his injured shoulder, and Rainsford, with fear again gripping his heart, heard the general's mocking laugh ring through the jungle.
"Rainsford," called the general, "if you are within sound of my voice, as I suppose you are, let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher. Luckily for me I, too, have hunted in Malacca. You are proving interesting, Mr. Rainsford. I am going now to have my wound dressed; it's only a slight one. But I shall be back. I shall be back."
When the general, nursing his bruised shoulder, had gone, Rainsford took up his flight again. It was flight now, a desperate, hopeless flight, that carried him on for some hours. Dusk came, then darkness, and still he pressed on. The ground grew softer under his moccasins; the vegetation grew ranker, denser; insects bit him savagely.
Then, as he stepped forward, his foot sank into the ooze. He tried to wrench it back, but the muck sucked viciously at his foot as if it were a giant leech. With a violent effort, he tore his feet loose. He knew where he was now. Death Swamp and its quicksand.
His hands were tight closed as if his nerve were something tangible that someone in the darkness was trying to tear from his grip. The softness of the earth had given him an idea. He stepped back from the quicksand a dozen feet or so and, like some huge prehistoric beaver, he began to dig.
Rainsford had dug himself in in France when a second's delay meant death. That had been a placid pastime compared to his digging now. The pit grew deeper; when it was above his shoulders, he 22
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
climbed out and from some hard saplings cut stakes and sharpened them to a fine point. These stakes he planted in the bottom of the pit with the points sticking up. With flying fingers he wove a rough carpet of weeds and branches and with it he covered the mouth of the pit. Then, wet with sweat and aching with tiredness, he crouched behind the stump of a lightning-charred tree.
He knew his pursuer was coming; he heard the padding sound of feet on the soft earth, and the night breeze brought him the perfume of the general's cigarette. It seemed to Rainsford that the general was coming with unusual swiftness; he was not feeling his way along, foot by foot. Rainsford, crouching there, could not see the general, nor could he see the pit. He lived a year in a minute. Then he felt an impulse to cry aloud with joy, for he heard the sharp crackle of the breaking branches as the cover of the pit gave way; he heard the sharp scream of pain as the pointed stakes found their mark. He leaped up from his place of concealment. Then he cowered back. Three feet from the pit a man was standing, with an electric torch in his hand.
"You've done well, Rainsford," the voice of the general called. "Your Burmese tiger pit has claimed one of my best dogs. Again you score. I think, Mr. Rainsford, Ill see what you can do against my whole pack. I'm going home for a rest now. Thank you for a most amusing evening."
At daybreak Rainsford, lying near the swamp, was awakened by a sound that made him know that he had new things to learn about fear. It was a distant sound, faint and wavering, but he knew it. It was the baying of a pack of hounds.
Rainsford knew he could do one of two things. He could stay where he was and wait. That was suicide. He could flee. That was postponing the inevitable. For a moment he stood there, thinking. An idea that held a wild chance came to him, and, tightening his belt, he headed away from the swamp.
The baying of the hounds drew nearer, then still nearer, nearer, ever nearer. On a ridge Rainsford climbed a tree. Down a watercourse, not a quarter of a mile away, he could see the bush moving. Straining his eyes, he saw the lean figure of General Zaroff; just ahead of him Rainsford made out another figure whose wide shoulders surged through the tall jungle weeds; it was the giant Ivan, and he seemed pulled forward by some unseen force; Rainsford knew that Ivan must be holding the pack in leash.
They would be on him any minute now. His mind worked frantically. He thought of a native trick he had learned in Uganda. He slid down the tree. He caught hold of a springy young sapling and to it he fastened his hunting knife, with the blade pointing down the trail; with a bit of wild grapevine he tied back the sapling. Then he ran for his life. The hounds raised their voices as they hit the fresh scent. Rainsford knew now how an animal at bay feels.
He had to stop to get his breath. The baying of the hounds stopped abruptly, and Rainsford's heart stopped too. They must have reached the knife.
He shinned excitedly up a tree and looked back. His pursuers had stopped. But the hope that was in Rainsford's brain when he climbed died, for he saw in the shallow valley that General Zaroff was still on his feet. But Ivan was not. The knife, driven by the recoil of the springing tree, had not wholly failed.
Rainsford had hardly tumbled to the ground when the pack took up the cry again.
"Nerve, nerve, nerve!" he panted, as he dashed along. A blue gap showed between the trees dead ahead. Ever nearer drew the hounds. Rainsford forced himself on toward that gap. He reached it. It was the shore of the sea. Across a cove he could see the gloomy gray stone of the chateau. Twenty feet below him the sea rumbled and hissed. Rainsford hesitated. He heard the hounds. Then he 23
A Most Dangerous Game cont.
leaped far out into the sea. . . . When the general and his pack reached the place by the sea, the Cossack stopped. For some minutes he stood regarding the blue-green expanse of water. He shrugged his shoulders. Then be sat down, took a drink of brandy from a silver flask, lit a cigarette, and hummed a bit from Madame Butterfly.
General Zaroff had an exceedingly good dinner in his great paneled dining hall that evening. With it he had a bottle of Pol Roger and half a bottle of Chambertin. Two slight annoyances kept him from perfect enjoyment. One was the thought that it would be difficult to replace Ivan; the other was that his quarry had escaped him; of course, the American hadn't played the game--so thought the general as he tasted his after-dinner liqueur. In his library he read, to soothe himself, from the works of Marcus Aurelius. At ten he went up to his bedroom. He was deliciously tired, he said to himself, as he locked himself in. There was a little moonlight, so, before turning on his light, he went to the window and looked down at the courtyard. He could see the great hounds, and he called, "Better luck another time," to them. Then he switched on the light.
A man, who had been hiding in the curtains of the bed, was standing there.
"Rainsford!" screamed the general. "How in God's name did you get here?"
"Swam," said Rainsford. "I found it quicker than walking through the jungle."
The general sucked in his breath and smiled. "I congratulate you," he said. "You have won the game."
Rainsford did not smile. "I am still a beast at bay," he said, in a low, hoarse voice. "Get ready, General Zaroff."
The general made one of his deepest bows. "I see," he said. "Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford." . . .
He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.
24
Shooting an Elephant By George Owell
IN MOULMEIN, IN LOWER BURMA, I was hated by large numbers of people--the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter. No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress. As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so. When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than once. In the end the sneering Yellow Faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves. The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans.
All this was perplexing and upsetting. For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically--and secretly, of course--I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been Bogged with bamboos--all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt. But I could get nothing into perspective. I was young and illeducated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East. I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it. All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evilspirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts. Feelings like these are the normal byproductsof imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty.
One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism--the real motives for which despotic governments act. Early one morning the subinspectorat a police station the other end of the town rang me up on the phone and said that an elephant was ravaging the bazaar. Would I please come and do something about it? I did not know what I could do, but I wanted to see what was happening and I got on to a pony and started out. I took my rifle, an old .44 Winchester and much too small to kill an elephant, but I thought the noise might be useful in terrorem. Various Burmans stopped me on the way and told me about the elephant's doings. It was not, of course, a wild elephant, but a tame one which had gone "must." It had been chained up, as tame elephants always are when their attack of "must" is due, but on the previous night it had broken its chain and escaped. Its mahout, the only person who could manage it when it was in that state, had set out in pursuit, but had taken the wrong direction and was now twelve hours' journey away, and in the morning the elephant had suddenly reappeared in the town. The Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it. It had already destroyed somebody's bamboo hut, killed a cow and raided some fruit-stalls and devoured the stock; also it had met the municipal rubbish van and, when the driver jumped out and took to his heels, had turned the van over and inflicted violences upon it.
The Burmese sub-inspector and some Indian constables were waiting for me in the quarter where the elephant had been seen. It was a very poor quarter, a labyrinth of squalid bamboo huts, thatched with palmleaf, winding all over a steep hillside. I remember that it was a cloudy, stuffy morning at the beginning of the rains. We began questioning the people as to where the 25
Shooting an Elephant cont.
elephant had gone and, as usual, failed to get any definite information. That is invariably the case in the East; a story always sounds clear enough at a distance, but the nearer you get to the scene of events the vaguer it becomes. Some of the people said that the elephant had gone in one direction, some said that he had gone in another, some professed not even to have heard of any elephant. I had almost made up my mind that the whole story was a pack of lies, when we heard yells a little distance away. There was a loud, scandalized cry of "Go away, child! Go away this instant!" and an old woman with a switch in her hand came round the corner of a hut, violently shooing away a crowd of naked children. Some more women followed, clicking their tongues and exclaiming; evidently there was something that the children ought not to have seen. I rounded the hut and saw a man's dead body sprawling in the mud. He was an Indian, a black Dravidian coolie, almost naked, and he could not have been dead many minutes.
The people said that the elephant had come suddenly upon him round the corner of the hut, caught him with its trunk, put its foot on his back and ground him into the earth. This was the rainy season and the ground was soft, and his face had scored a trench a foot deep and a couple of yards long. He was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side. His face was coated with mud, the eyes wide open, the teeth bared and grinning with an expression of unendurable agony. (Never tell me, by the way, that the dead look peaceful. Most of the corpses I have seen looked devilish.) The friction of the great beast's foot had stripped the skin from his back as neatly as one skins a rabbit. As soon as I saw the dead man I sent an orderly to a friend's house nearby to borrow an elephant rifle. I had already sent back the pony, not wanting it to go mad with fright and throw me if it smelt the elephant.
The orderly came back in a few minutes with a rifle and five cartridges, and meanwhile some Burmans had arrived and told us that the elephant was in the paddy fields below, only a few hundred yards away. As I started forward practically the whole population of the quarter flocked out of the houses and followed me. They had seen the rifle and were all shouting excitedly that I was going to shoot the elephant. They had not shown much interest in the elephant when he was merely ravaging their homes, but it was different now that he was going to be shot. It was a bit of fun to them, as it would be to an English crowd; besides they wanted the meat. It made me vaguely uneasy. I had no intention of shooting the elephant--I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary--and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following you. I marched down the hill, looking and feeling a fool, with the rifle over my shoulder and an ever-growing army of people jostling at my heels. At the bottom, when you got away from the huts, there was a metalled road and beyond that a miry waste of paddy fields a thousand yards across, not yet ploughed but soggy from the first rains and dotted with coarse grass. The elephant was standing eight yards from the road, his left side towards us. He took not the slightest notice of the crowd's approach. He was tearing up bunches of grass, beating them against his knees to clean them and stuffing them into his mouth.
I had halted on the road. As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought
not to shoot him. It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant--it is comparable to
destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery--and obviously one ought not to do it if it can
possibly be avoided. And at that distance, peacefully eating, the elephant looked no more
dangerous than a cow. I thought then and I think now that his attack of "must" was already
passing off; in which case he would merely wander harmlessly about until the mahout came
back and caught him. Moreover, I did not in the least want to shoot him. I decided that I would
watch him for a little while to make sure that he did not turn savage again, and then go home.
But at that moment I glanced round at the crowd that had followed me. It was an immense
crowd, two thousand at the least and growing every minute. It blocked the road for a long
distance on either side. I looked at the sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes-faces all
happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot. They
were watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a trick. They did not like me,
but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching. And suddenly I
26
realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I
Shooting an Elephant cont.
had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man's dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd--seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib.
For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives," and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things. To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away, having done nothing--no, that was impossible. The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.
But I did not want to shoot the elephant. I watched him beating his bunch of grass against his knees, with that preoccupied grandmotherly air that elephants have. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. At that age I was not squeamish about killing animals, but I had never shot an elephant and never wanted to. (Somehow it always seems worse to kill a large animal.) Besides, there was the beast's owner to be considered. Alive, the elephant was worth at least a hundred pounds; dead, he would only be worth the value of his tusks, five pounds, possibly. But I had got to act quickly. I turned to some experienced-looking Burmans who had been there when we arrived, and asked them how the elephant had been behaving. They all said the same thing: he took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he might charge if you went too close to him.
It was perfectly clear to me what I ought to do. I ought to walk up to within, say, twenty-five yards of the elephant and test his behavior. If he charged, I could shoot; if he took no notice of me, it would be safe to leave him until the mahout came back. But also I knew that I was going to do no such thing. I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into which one would sink at every step. If the elephant charged and I missed him, I should have about as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller. But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behind. For at that moment, with the crowd watching me, I was not afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have been if I had been alone. A white man mustn't be frightened in front of "natives"; and so, in general, he isn't frightened. The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill. And if that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh. That would never do.
There was only one alternative. I shoved the cartridges into the magazine and lay down on the road to get a better aim. The crowd grew very still, and a deep, low, happy sigh, as of people who see the theatre curtain go up at last, breathed from innumerable throats. They were going to have their bit of fun after all. The rifle was a beautiful German thing with cross-hair sights. I4 did not then know that in shooting an elephant one would shoot to cut an imaginary bar running from ear-hole to ear-hole. I ought, therefore, as the elephant was sideways on, to have aimed straight at his ear-hole, actually I aimed several inches in front of this, thinking the brain would be further forward.
When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick--one never does when a shot goes home--but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd. In that instant, in too short a time, one would have thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant. He neither stirred nor fell, but every line of his body had 27
Shooting an Elephant cont.
altered. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frighfful impact of the bullet had paralysed him without knocking him down. At last, after what seemed a long time-it might have been five seconds, I dare say--he sagged flabbily to his knees. His mouth slobbered. An enormous senility seemed to have settled upon him. One could have imagined him thousands of years old. I fired again into the same spot. At the second shot he did not collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. I fired a third time. That was the shot that did for him. You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs. But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upward like a huge rock toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree. He trumpeted, for the first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground even where I lay.
I got up. The Burmans were already racing past me across the mud. It was obvious that the elephant would never rise again, but he was not dead. He was breathing very rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great mound of a side painfully rising and falling. His mouth was wide open--I could see far down into caverns of pale pink throat. I waited a long time for him to die, but his breathing did not weaken. Finally I fired my two remaining shots into the spot where I thought his heart must be. The thick blood welled out of him like red velvet, but still he did not die. His body did not even jerk when the shots hit him, the tortured breathing continued without a pause. He was dying, very slowly and in great agony, but in some world remote from me where not even a bullet could damage him further. I felt that I had got to put an end to that dreadful noise. It seemed dreadful to see the great beast Lying there, powerless to move and yet powerless to die, and not even to be able to finish him. I sent back for my small rifle and poured shot after shot into his heart and down his throat. They seemed to make no impression. The tortured gasps continued as steadily as the ticking of a clock.
In the end I could not stand it any longer and went away. I heard later that it took him half an hour to die. Burmans were bringing dahs and baskets even before I left, and I was told they had stripped his body almost to the bones by the afternoon.
Afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it. Among the Europeans opinion was divided. The older men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee coolie. And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant. I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.
28
The Lottery By Shirley Jackson and Reg Sandland
The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2th. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.
The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play. and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands.
Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix-- the villagers pronounced this name "Dellacroy"--eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.
Soon the men began to gather. surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands.
Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother's grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.
The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers. who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him. because he had no children and his wife was a scold. When he arrived in the square, carrying the black wooden box, there was a murmur of conversation among the villagers, and he waved and called. "Little late today, folks." The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three- legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool. and when Mr. Summers said, "Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?" there was a hesitation before two men. MR. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter. came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.
The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything's being done.
The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained. 29
The Lottery cont.
Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued. had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers' coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves's barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.
There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up--of heads of families. heads of households in each family. members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory. tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this p3rt of the ritual had been allowed to lapse. There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching. Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans. with one hand resting carelessly on the black box. he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins. Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square, her sweater thrown over her shoulders, and slid into place in the back of the crowd. "Clean forgot what day it was," she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. "Thought my old man was out back stacking wood," Mrs. Hutchinson went on. "and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twentyseventh and came a-running." She dried her hands on her apron, and Mrs. Delacroix said, "You're in time, though. They're still talking away up there."
Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her through: two or three people said. in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, "Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson," and "Bill, she made it after all." Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie." Mrs. Hutchinson said. grinning, "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you. Joe?," and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson's arrival.
"Well, now." Mr. Summers said soberly, "guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work. Anybody ain't here?"
"Dunbar." several people said. "Dunbar. Dunbar."
Mr. Summers consulted his list. "Clyde Dunbar." he said. "That's right. He's broke his leg, hasn't he?
30
The Lottery cont.
Who's drawing for him?" "Me. I guess," a woman said. and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. "Wife draws for her husband." Mr. Summers said. "Don't you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?" Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs. Dunbar answered.
"Horace's not but sixteen vet." Mrs. Dunbar said regretfully. "Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year."
"Right." Sr. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. Then he asked, "Watson boy drawing this year?"
A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. "Here," he said. "I'm drawing for my mother and me." He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said things like "Good fellow, lack." and "Glad to see your mother's got a man to do it."
"Well," Mr. Summers said, "guess that's everyone. Old Man Warner make it?"
"Here," a voice said. and Mr. Summers nodded.
A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. "All ready?" he called. "Now, I'll read the names--heads of families first--and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?"
The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet. wetting their lips. not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, "Adams."
A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. "Hi. Steve." Mr. Summers said. and Mr. Adams said. "Hi. Joe." They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously. Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd. where he stood a little apart from his family. not looking down at his hand.
"Allen." Mr. Summers said. "Anderson.... Bentham." "Seems like there's no time at all between lotteries any more." Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.
"Seems like we got through with the last one only last week."
"Time sure goes fast.-- Mrs. Graves said.
"Clark.... Delacroix"
"There goes my old man." Mrs. Delacroix said. She held her breath while her husband went forward.
"Dunbar," Mr. Summers said, and Mrs. Dunbar went steadily to the box while one of the women said.
"Go on. Janey," and another said, "There she goes." 31
The Lottery cont.
"We're next." Mrs. Graves said. She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box. By now, all through the crowd there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand. turning them over and over nervously Mrs. Dunbar and her two sons stood together, Mrs. Dunbar holding the slip of paper.
"Harburt.... Hutchinson."
"Get up there, Bill," Mrs. Hutchinson said. and the people near her laughed.
"Jones."
"They do say," Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, "that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery."
Old Man Warner snorted. "Pack of crazy fools," he said. "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about `Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First thing you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery," he added petulantly. "Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody."
"Some places have already quit lotteries." Mrs. Adams said.
"Nothing but trouble in that," Old Man Warner said stoutly. "Pack of young fools."
"Martin." And Bobby Martin watched his father go forward. "Overdyke.... Percy."
"I wish they'd hurry," Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. "I wish they'd hurry."
"They're almost through," her son said.
"You get ready to run tell Dad," Mrs. Dunbar said. Mr. Summers called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected a slip from the box. Then he called, "Warner."
"Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery," Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd.
"Seventy-seventh time."
"Watson" The tall boy came awkwardly through the crowd. Someone said, "Don't be nervous, Jack," and Mr. Summers said, "Take your time, son."
"Zanini."
After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers. holding his slip of paper in the air, said, "All right, fellows." For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened.
Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. "Who is it?," "Who's got it?," "Is it the Dunbars?," "Is it the Watsons?" Then the voices began to say, "It's Hutchinson. It's Bill," "Bill Hutchinson's got it."
"Go tell your father," Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. 32
The Lottery People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring cont. down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly. Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. "You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!" "Be a good sport, Tessie." Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, "All of us took the same chance." "Shut up, Tessie," Bill Hutchinson said. "Well, everyone," Mr. Summers said, "that was done pretty fast, and now we've got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time." He consulted his next list. "Bill," he said, "you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?" "There's Don and Eva," Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. "Make them take their chance!" "Daughters draw with their husbands' families, Tessie," Mr. Summers said gently. "You know that as well as anyone else." "It wasn't fair," Tessie said. "I guess not, Joe." Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. "My daughter draws with her husband's family; that's only fair. And I've got no other family except the kids." "Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it's you," Mr. Summers said in explanation, "and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that's you, too. Right?" "Right," Bill Hutchinson said. "How many kids, Bill?" Mr. Summers asked formally. "Three," Bill Hutchinson said. "There's Bill, Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me." "All right, then," Mr. Summers said. "Harry, you got their tickets back?" Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. "Put them in the box, then," Mr. Summers directed. "Take Bill's and put it in." "I think we ought to start over," Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. "I tell you it wasn't fair. You didn't give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that." Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box. and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground. where the breeze caught them and lifted them off. "Listen, everybody," Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her. "Ready, Bill?" Mr. Summers asked. and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children. nodded. "Remember," Mr. Summers said. "take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken 33
The Lottery one. Harry, you help little Dave." Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with cont. him up to the box. "Take a paper out of the box, Davy." Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. "Take just one paper." Mr. Summers said. "Harry, you hold it for him." Mr. Graves took the child's hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly. "Nancy next," Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box "Bill, Jr.," Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, near knocked the box over as he got a paper out. "Tessie," Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly. and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her. "Bill," Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his handout at last with the slip of paper in it. The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, "I hope it's not Nancy," and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd. "It's not the way it used to be." Old Man Warner said clearly. "People ain't the way they used to be." "All right," Mr. Summers said. "Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave's." Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill. Jr.. opened theirs at the same time. and both beamed and laughed. turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads. "Tessie," Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank. "It's Tessie," Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. "Show us her paper. Bill." Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd. "All right, folks." Mr. Summers said. "Let's finish quickly." Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up." Mr. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said. gasping for breath. "I can't run at all. You'll have to go ahead and I'll catch up with you." The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles. Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him. "It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her. 34

J Serie, K Owens

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