Free Essay

Letter to a Cat

In: Novels

Submitted By MelissaRisbo
Words 1301
Pages 6
Dogma Essay ver. 1.1

In this essay you must make an analysis and interpretation of the enclosed text: Julia Blackburn’s short story “The Mermaid”, but there are some rules that you must obey:

The structure of the essay:

• 1 introductory paragraph (in which you ask a question, put up a theory or present your text).

• 3 main paragraphs (in which you discuss various aspects of the text. Each paragraph must contain a short quotation from the text)

• 1 conclusive paragraph (in which you sum your findings and put them in relation to your introductory paragraph)

Length: 2 pages (with double spacing) – no more, no less.

Criteria for marking:

1. Good, error-free language 2. The conclusive paragraph “answers” the introductory paragraph. 3. Coherence from one paragraph to the next.

Julia Blackburn, The Mermaid

(A British short story published in 1998.)

The man was still there poised in indecision and staring at the thing which lay heaped at his feet. I saw then that it was not a human corpse, or the trunk of a tree, or a bundle of sail that he had found, but a mermaid. She was lying face down, her body twisted into a loose curl, her hair matted with scraps of seaweed.

The year was fourteen hundred and ten and it was very early in the morning with the sun pushing its way gently through a covering of mist that floated aimlessly over the land and the water.

The man had never seen a mermaid before except for the one carved in stone above the east door of the church. She had very pointed teeth and a double tail like two soft and tapering legs, while this one had a single tail which could have belonged to a large halibut or a cod.

The man stepped forward and squatted down beside her. The pattern of her interlinking scales glinted with an oily light. He stroked them along the direction in which they lay and they were wet and slippery leaving a coating of slime on his palm. But when his hand moved over the pale skin of her back it was as rough as a cat’s tongue and very dry and cold.

He lifted a hank of dark hair, feeling its weight. Little transparent shrimps were tangled within its mesh and struggling to free themselves. A yellow crab scuttled around the curve of the waist and dropped out of sight.

He hesitated for a moment but then he took hold of the mermaid’s shoulders and rolled her over. The sand clung in patches on her body like the map of some forgotten country. Her nipples were as red as sea anemones. Her navel was deep and round. Her eyes were wide open and as blue as the sky could ever be. As he gazed at her a lopsided smile drifted over her face.

He had presumed that she was dead and with the shock of her being alive he let out a cry and jumped to his feet. He turned and began to run as fast as he could over the ridges of muddy sand and towards the village.

I watched as he trampled on the grey scrub of sea lavender and the low samphire[1] bushes, their thin skins so easily broken. But he trod more carefully once he had reached the strip of pale stones littered with the sharp empty shells of clams and oysters, until with his heart thumping in his throat he was beside the fishing boats and the wooden hut battered out of shape by the north wind.

The old fisherman was sitting there just as before, singing to himself as he mended his nets with his legs stretched out stiffly in front of him and his bones aching. He made no response as the young man tried to explain what the sea had thrown on to the land; he didn’t even raise his head to look at the speaker.

The young man ran on again until he had arrived at the first house of the village. The shoemaker’s wife was standing by the door, her arms cradling a huge belly which seemed to be about to split open like a ripe fruit.

“There is a mermaid!” he said to her, but she was lost in thought and hardly heard him although her baby lurched violently inside her womb as if it was shocked by the news. She remembered that later.

The man went into the house and from a back room he fetched one of those narrow wooden spades that are used for digging lugworms. Then he returned the way he had come. He meant to bury the mermaid even if she was still alive and his task made him walk slowly now, with all the solemnity of an executioner.

He looked out across the expanse of sand shimmering like an ocean of calm water. He saw how a flock of gulls had settled in a noisy mass on the place where the mermaid was lying and as he drew closer they lifted, screaming and turning into the air.

But the mermaid had gone. Nothing remained of her except for a single lock of dark hair which resembled a ribbon of torn seaweed.

Nevertheless the man dug a hole as deep as a grave: the salty water seeping into it, the sides crumbling away and seeming to melt like snow. And as he dug the surface brightness of the sand was replaced by greasy layers of black and grey mud smelling of age and decay.

When the hole was ready he picked up the hair and dropped it in, covering it over quickly and stamping it down. He marked the place with a big black stone.

That evening he sat with the old fisherman drinking from a jug of beer and going over and over the story and what he had seen and what he had done. During the night his wife Sally shook him awake because she could hear the sound of a woman crying, desperate and inconsolable. On the following morning a cow died for no good reason and the shoemaker’s wife gave birth to a baby with the head of a monstrous fish which only lived for a few hours.

Everyone agreed that this must be the mermaid’s fault and they told the priest to do something. So the priest went with the man to where the hair was buried. He took a holy candle with him but it kept going out in the wind, and he had a bottle of holy water to sprinkle over the sand. In his spidery handwriting he had copied three paternosters on to a piece of parchment and he tucked this under the black stone while reciting a prayer to protect them all from harm.

After that things were quiet again for a while but it was as if a lid had been clamped down on a pot that was bound to boil over sooner or later. The mermaid had disturbed the pattern of life in the village. People waited with growing apprehension for what might follow.

The priest had a dream in which she slithered over his body like a huge eel and wrapped her tail tight around his legs. He was crying when he woke up.

The man who had stroked her rough skin kept on stumbling against her image in a comer of his mind. Whenever he went out with his boat he would hope to find her glistening among the fish he had caught in his nets. Searching for her he began to travel further and further from the shore.

* * *

Points you may consider for your main paragraphs:

• the theme(s)

• the setting

• the characters

[1] samphire, a sea plant

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Letter to a Cat

...Essay – Letter to a cat Letter to a cat was written by the author Sheelagh Morris and published in 1997. The story’s main theme is loneliness: “`Colonel do you think it acceptable practice to ask only the useful and or decorative to your wedding?´ June swung around in her chair. `Mother, would you stop pretending you’re talking to the cat.´” (ll.12-14, p.1), this quote catches the main theme loneliness well as she began to talk to the cat Colonel instead of her husband and daughter. Norma does not feel comfortable at home and wants to get out of there. Then she meets Arthur and he cares about her, which she’s not used to: “It was nice to be looked after” (l.2, p.2) She was feeling looked after when Arthur stopped the bleeding of her foot, which she clearly not feels at home. As a woman in her forties and highly overweight she’s not use to being cared about,  at home she doesn’t get a lot of attention, as we can see in the introduction. Her daughter and husband ignore her and talk to her in a condescending way: “June and Daragh did not look up from the newspapers.”(l.80, p.2) It shows that they don’t even care if she said something or not. At the beginning of the text she has a conversation with her family. It ends in a negative way and she says she is going for a walk. Her way of slamming the door on her way out: “’I am going for a walk,’ she shouted from the hall. ‘There’s shepherd’s pie in the fridge.’ She slammed the door of number 42 behind her.” (l.20, p.1) This......

Words: 756 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Letter to a Cat

...I have recently read an article about how every 3. Danish person has had a conflict with another family member, which has lead to a break-up between them. Every 10. Of these break-up are permanent. Lars Dencik a family researcher from RUC, says that the reason why we see an increasing number of these family breaches, is because we are not as economical depended on each other, as we were a while back. Our economical independence has also increased the numbers of divorces. Let alone in 2014 there were nearly 20.000 divorces in Denmark. 4 years ago that number was about 14.000. “Letter to a cat” is set mostly, at a house near the beach, in what I would guess is England, due to that Norma is reading “Colonel Blimp”. Norma is married to Daragh and together they have June as their only child. Norma is seems to be doing all the cooking in the house, since she tells June and Daragh where the food is when she goes for a walk (P1. L 20). And in the ending when she leaves the family a note, including one phrase. “ You may miss me a little, especially at meal-times but you’ll survive very well without me.” They do not treat her like equal, but more like a maid. Another example of her family being mean to her is seen on (P1. L6-8) “Over the past few years, and more so since January when June joined the family firm of accountants, father and daughter treated Norma with, on good days, condescension and, on bad days, contempt. Most of the time they ignored her”. June is very......

Words: 752 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Letter to a Cat

...the short story "Letter to a cat" from 1997, respect and care is one of the main themes. It takes respect and care to build a relationship. But disrespect and carelessness can equally tear a whole family apart. Our main character is Norma, a very obese Irish housewife with a life dominated by routine and pleasing her family. She is a lady with very few hobbies in life: reading English literature, collecting shells and sowing her own kaftans. She is a naive and loving person, who time and time again offers her family the opportunity of accepting her. This we also see towards the end of the short story, where she offers them one last time to accept her, and her beloved kaftans. But the reaction is unambiguous: "Ridiculous, I hope you're not even thinking of wearing that tomorrow!" As she rustled out of the room, Colonel Blimp gave her a long hard look and closed his eye. Not even the cat supports her, and this, you could say, is the last push she needs to take action into her own hands. Norma never gets any credit for her kind heart and compliant soul, and she is forced to put her few hobbies away in a little room, out of sight and out of the mind, by her husband and daughter. Her husband and daughter are hardly described in the short story. They express great contempt towards Norma. Even the daughter, June, who is to be married soon, talks down to the mother in a superior and disrespectful way: "Mother, would you stop pretending you're talking to the cat." In the......

Words: 842 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Lab 1

...NT1430 Linux Administration LAB 4 vi -- again On your linux server enter the following in the command line: root@servername: cd /opt root@servername: ls -la 1) Write what files exist in your directory. root@servername: touch sysinfo root@servername: ls -la 2) Write what files exist in your directory. 3) What are the permissions on the file you have just created? root@servername: chmod 755 sysinfo root@servername: ls -la 4) What are the permissions on the file you have just created? 5) What have you just done? Practical Mysystem root@servername: vi mysystem Now to enter into insert mode (edit mode) hit [i] to exit back into command mode hit [Esc] Now while you are in INSERT MODE type the following, be careful of all characters and typos. #!/bin/bash clear printf "This is information provided by Program starts now.\n" printf "Hello, $USER.\n\n" printf "Today's date is `date`, this is week `date +"%V"`.\n\n" printf "These users are currently connected:\n" w | cut -d " " -f 1 - | grep -v USER | sort -u printf "\n" printf "This is `uname -s` running on a `uname -m` processor.\n\n" printf "This is the uptime information:\n" uptime printf "\n" printf "That's all folks!\n" To end and save the file enter the following: [Esc] [:] You will exit Insert Mode and enter into Command Mode then save and exit vi: wq [Enter] Now run the script. root@servername: chmod 755 mysystem root@servername: ./mysystem Print a screen shot of the......

Words: 1450 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Chinese Strategies This annoyed the Samurai to no end so he went to the village to buy a cat. A street vendor sold him a cat that he said would catch the rat and indeed the cat looked trim and fit. But the rat was even quicker than the cat and after a week with no success the Samurai returned the cat. This time the vendor pulled out a large and grizzled cat and guaranteed that no rat could escape this master mouser. The rat knew enough to stay clear of this tough alley cat, but when the cat slept, the rat ran about. Half the day the rat would hide, but the other half he again had the run of the place. The Samurai brought the cat back to the vendor who shook his head in despair saying he had given the Samurai his best cat and there was nothing more he could do. Returning home with his money, the Samurai happened upon a monk and sought his advice. After hearing the Samurai's story the monk offered him the services of the cat that lived in the temple. The cat was old and fat and he scarcely seemed to notice when he was carried away by the doubtful Samurai. For two weeks the cat did little more than sleep all day and night. The Samurai wanted to give the cat back to the temple but the monk insisted he keep him a while longer assuring him the rat's days were close to an end. The rat became accustomed to the presence of the lazy old cat and was soon up to his old tricks even, on occasion, brazenly dancing around the old cat as he slept. Then one day,...

Words: 1085 - Pages: 5

Free Essay


...CAT 3 Overview This task is designed to allow students to use tools in Microsoft Word in order to create a business letter. Students will need to use persuasive language in order to convince the local council why the theme park should be built here. Your letter needs to cover the following points - An introduction to who you are and your park building company ( you can make up fake awards that you have won. - Outline what the park is going to be and some of the potential attractions you would like to build - Outline the advantages of building your park in this area - Outline the potential problems and how you intend to overcome them You need to make sure that your letter follows the correct outline of a business letter How long will you need? This will be due at the end of week 9 What you need to do |Tasks |Due dates | |Collect teacher notes | | |Create Brainstorm the potential advantages and disadvantages to the park |Week 8 | |Create a persuasive business letter |Week 9 ...

Words: 440 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Mr Man

...Animal Jokes Q: Why did the cat go to Minnesota? A: To get a mini soda! ———- Q: Where do orcas hear music? A: Orca-stras! ———- Q: Why did the cow cross the road? A: To get to the udder side. ———- Q: What do you call a fish without an eye? A: Fsh! ———- Q: What do you do if your dog chews a dictionary? A: Take the words out of his mouth! ———- Q: What do you call a cold dog sitting on a bunny? A: A chili dog on a bun. ———- Q: Why do fish live in salt water? A: Because pepper makes them sneeze! ———- Q: Where do mice park their boats? A: At the hickory dickory dock. ———- Q: Where did the sheep go on vacation? A: The baaaahamas ———- Q: What do you call a thieving alligator? A: A crookodile ———- Q: What goes tick-tock, bow-wow, tick-tock, bow-wow? A: A watch dog. ———- Q: What do you call a cow that eats your grass? A: A lawn moo-er. ———- Q: What do you call a girl with a frog on her head? A: Lilly. ———- Q: How does a dog stop a video? A: He presses the paws button. ———- Q: Why do cows go to New York? A: To see the moosicals! ———- Q: What do you call lending money to a bison? A: A buff-a-loan ———- Q: What is the snake’s favorite subject? A: Hiss-story ———- Q: What is black ,white and red all over? A: A sunburnt penguin! ———- Q: Why does a dog wag its tail? A: Because there’s no one else to wag it for him. ———- Q: What is a cat’s favorite movie? A: The sound of Mew-sic! ———- Q: How do you make a goldfish old? A: Take away......

Words: 4101 - Pages: 17

Premium Essay

It250 Chapter 2 Assignment

... ASSIGNMENT 3.1 PAGE 184 3. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GIVE THE FOLLOWING COMMNADS IF THE FILE NAMED DONE ALREADY EXISTS? $ cp to_do done $ mv to_do done ANWSER: cp - copy files and directories mv - move (rename) files. You would just basically overwrite the file. 4. HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT WHICH UTILITIES ARE AVAILABLE ON YOUR SYSTEM FOR EDITING FILES ? WHICH UTILITIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR EDITING ON YOUR SYSTEM? ANWSER: You have to use the 'which or whereis' utility. Which locates utilities by displaying the full pathname of the file for the utility. The whereis utility searches for files related to a utility looking in a standard location instead of using your search path. PAGE 185 13. TRY GIVING THESE TWO COMMANDS: $ echo cat $ cat echo EXPLAIN THE DIFFRENCES BETWEEN THEM. ANWSER: echo...

Words: 1961 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Experimental Study

...Word Formulation 1 Effects of the Presence of Flashcards with Jumbled Letters to the Word Formulation of Grade 3 Pupils in Sta. Cruz Elementary School, Sto. Tomas, Batangas Joyce Trissia B. Mendoza Aliza Joana D. Cuenca PSY 106, BS Psychology 321 Mrs. Marjorie S. Villa Word Formulation 2 Abstract This experiment looked at the Effects of the Presence of Flashcards with Jumbled Letters to the Word Formulation. The participants has a total population of 48 Grade 3 pupils at Sta. Cruz Elementary School in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The population is divided into two groups by randomization: 24 pupils in the control group and 24 pupils in the experimental group since the researchers used the between subjects design. The control group received the normal way of giving spelling activity, the oral dictation of words. The experimental group received also the oral dictation of words but they are also shown flashcards with jumbled letters of the words that are being spelled. The computed value of t was – 1.7 and is less than the tabular value, 2.021 with df of 46 and the α of .05. This means that the presence of flashcards with jumbled letters has no significant effect on the word formulation of Grade 3 pupils. Word Formulation 3 Methodology This experiment was conducted at Sta. Cruz Elementary School in Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The subjects of the experiment were taken from the total population of 48 pupils of Grade 3. They were randomly divided into two...

Words: 3022 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

International Business

...Business Law Section A a) This case is under the incapacity-mentally unsound and intoxicated persons. Incapacity is someone that unable to manage the physical or mental of others’ events. According to Contract Law, Incapability, “ As the mentally unsound and intoxicated persons; if the person suffering from the disability is incapable of understanding the nature of the contract, the other party knows or ought to know it, and the contract is voidable.” The plaintiff was Arthur’s guardian and the defendant was Katrina. In this case Arthur sold the land to Katrina as $5000. Arthur was minor and he was not in clear mental but he was looking good. So Katrina bought the land. After that, Arthur’s guardian knew about the deal and complained to invalidate the contract and kept the land back. However the guardian of Arthur’s will win this trial. Because the guardian could proof Arthur was insane. That’s why Katrina might give back the land and the Arthur might pay back $5000 to Katrina. There was a similar case was in 1989; Che Som bet Yip v Maha Pte Ltd. In this case, the third plaintiff who is mentally unsound executive pledged to banks, the court held that, in this case, the bank should have known of his disability, so the mortgage was shelved. b) Yes, Kristin has the right not to sell to lan. This case is counter offer. Counter offer kills the first offer. The offeror is Kristin and Lan is offeree in the first offer but Lan didn’t agree about $5000 land and bargain to...

Words: 2493 - Pages: 10

Free Essay


...English 1st  Paper Comprehensions  1. Oxygen and air pressure are ———————————- enjoyable flight. 2.      The ethnic people in Bangladesh ———————————- in Mymensingh. 3.      Bangladeshi cuisine —————————– people. 4.      River gypsies in Bangladesh ———————— in some areas. 5.      Nakshi Katha ———————————— on them. 6.      Communication of ideas is at ————————- changed our life. 7.      River gypsies are ———————- special power. 8.      Ms Subarna shaha ——————————————- 9.      The word ‘hygiene’ means —————————- 10.  At the farthest corner ———————— in nature. 11.  A six year-old boy from ——————– on our website. 12.  With only 2,500 —————————- in 2012. 13.  Human beings conquered ——————– a major accident. 14.  The Falcon hypersonic —————— days to come. 15.  Most of these ethnic ——————– for them. Paragarph A rainy day** Load Shedding *** Traffic jam*** Mobile phone* Tea stall* Favorite Teacher*** Book fair*** The School Magazine** A day lobourer/ Farmer*** Our national flag*** How to become a good students*** How to learn English well** How to make a cup of tea How to make a garden** A street Hawker/Beggar** STORIES 1.  Once upon a time there was a farmer who had a wonderful goose.  Every morning she laid —————————————-.JSC 1 *** 2.  Once in a very hot day a fox came to a vineyard where he saw some grapes. The grapes were ripe and ———————————-.JSC 11*** 3.  There lived a wood cutter in a village. One day he —————————–.*** 4.  A farmer had three...

Words: 712 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Banking Sector Refo

...kept at the premises of concerned RRB offices, till the closing date. For candidates residing in Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Lahaul & Spiti districts and Pangi sub-division of Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshwadeep islands and for candidates residing abroad, the closing date for receipt of applications by posts will be 26.06.2012 up to 17.30 Hrs. Candidates Please Note: 1) Stages of Exam. :a) Common Preliminary Examination (i.e. stage I) for all the notified categories. b) Main (Second stage) Exam for Cat No. 1&2 - followed by Verification of documents. c) Main (Second stage) Exam for Cat No. 3&4 – followed by verification of documents. d) Main (Second stage) Exam for Cat. No. 5&6, qualifying typing test followed by Verification of documents. e) Main (Second stage) Exam for Cat No.7&8, aptitude test followed by Verification of documents. 2) Preliminary Examination (i.e. stage I) will be...

Words: 11122 - Pages: 45

Free Essay

Lesson Plan

... |Materials and Resources: | |Reading: |-Reading: Looking Closely At Nature |Reading: | |The students will understand the sound |-Math: Data Analysis/Graphing | | |and shape of letter I. The student will |-Science: Capacity |Big book | |understand how to blend words based on |-Social Studies: Important People |Readers/Writers Notebooks | |letter sounds. The student will | |Sound spelling cards | |understand story elements. The student | |Paper/pencils/glue/scissors/crayons | |will understand and generate nouns using |...

Words: 3677 - Pages: 15

Free Essay

Reading Literacy Project

...Reading Assessment I once again chose a child to work with that I am familiar with. The student is a male child of Hispanic decent. The student comes from a household which is considered middle class and both parents that reside in the household are working parents. The mother is a college graduate and works in the education field as a high school teacher. The father did not attend college and is the head of the maintenance department at a local area school district. Both of the child’s parents have worked since the child was born and the child stayed with grandparents or at a daycare facility until the child reached the age to begin school. The child has a younger brother who will begin school the next school year. In talking with the parents the feeling was the grandparents treated the child very well and read to the child on a daily basis when the child was in the grandparents care and the child has a great love for school and strives to be the very best in his class. The male child is about to turn seven years old and is in the first grade. The child attends a school that the mother and father are not employed and the grandparents are responsible for picking the child up after the school day is complete. The parents are very involved in the students’ school work and provide support for the student every evening when they are at home. In visiting with the student before we began our reading assessment I found the student to be very mindful and attentive. We......

Words: 1214 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...Let’s Get Better in Reading Learner‟s Materials 3 This instructional material was collaboratively developed and reviewed by educators from public and private schools, colleges, and or/universities. We encourage teachers and other education stakeholders to email their feedback, comments, and recommendations to the Department of Education at We value your feedback and recommendations. Department of Education Republic of the Philippines i Let’s Get Better in Reading – Grade 3 Learner’s Materials First Edition, 2014 ISBN: Republic Act 8293, section 176 states that: No copyright shall subsist in any work of Government of the Philippines. However, prior approval of the government agency or office wherein the work is created shall be necessary for exploitation of such work for profit. Such agency or office may, among other things, impose as a condition the payment of royalties. Borrowed materials (i.e., songs, stories, poems, picture, photos, brand, names, trademarks, etc.) included in this book are owned by their respective copyright owners. The publisher and authors do not represent nor claim ownership over them. Publisher by the Department of Education Secretary: Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC Undersecretary: Dina S. Ocampo, Ph.D. Development Team of the Learner’s Material Reviewers: Nemah N. Hermosa, Roderick M. Aguirre, Merry Ruth Gutierrez, Felicidad Pado, Ma. Lourdes Tayao Mil Flores Ponciano, Esperanza Diaz- Cruz, Ana Lou Caspi, Criselda DG......

Words: 11582 - Pages: 47