A Geography Lesson from Uncle Axel
monstrosity - consolation - plodding - detached - decreed - concocting - abetting - concealment - Purity - anguish - humiliation - saprophytes - fathom - fungus - succulents - agitation - canvas - mizzen - jury-rigged - foul
Uncle Axel is used in this chapter as a mouthpiece for the author's own commentary on the beliefs and behaviour of the people of Waknuk. What is the most important part of his account? What is the author satirizing? What is the major sin committed by the people of Waknuk according to uncle Axel?
- Let's do some geography: On page 58 uncle Axel says: "If you make north and keep along the coast, and still keep along when it turns west and then south, you reach the other side of Labrador." Where would you be according to a present-day map?
Still on page 58, he says: "After that you bear south-east awhile and then south, and pick up the mainland coast again to starboard." Where would you be according to a present-day map?
On page 59, he says: "Soon you're following round a big bay, and you get where there are no gaps: it's all Badlands." What is the name of the big bay today? Where are the "Badlands" situated according to a present- day map?
- What truth did the explorer Marther discover? What was the result when he published his findings? Explain why that happened.
- In the story told by Uncle Axel there are truths and fallacies (flaws). List two interpretations that are obviously wrong.
- What advise does uncle Axel give David? Why was it good advise?
- Explain why it is "ironic" that David's telepathic associates find it difficult to agree with his acceptance of Sophie.
- The character of the Inspector is in strong contrast to that of David's father. He is kind, and tries to be understanding with David. However, he has a serious weakness. Explain what it is, and also tell why it makes David's father's position so strong.
- When David's father comes in to announce the capture of the Wender's, he shows unreasonable fury. How does that short passage increase the tension in the novel?
In Waknuk, people, no doubt, elected their officials by casting ballots for the candidate of their choice, just as we do today. A candidate is "one who aspires or or is nominated or qualified for an office." It derives from the Latin word candere, which means "to glow white". In ancient Rome, those who sought political office wore white togas. Below are ten words deriving from candere. See if you can use them correctly in the sentences that follow.
candelabras - candescence - candidacy - candid - candles - incandescent - incandescence - incensed - candor - chandeliers
1. One can be sure, there were no _______________ in David's house, even though the Strorm farm was large by Waknuk standards. (branched, ornate lighting fixture suspended from the ceiling)
2. The Strorm farm was lit by _______________ at night. (molded or dipped masses of wax or tallow that contain wicks for burning)
3. David's father was _______________ when he heard what his son had done. (extremely angry; enraged)
4. Rosalind's face was _______________ with pride when she heard what David had done. (marked by a white glow)
5. Conversations between David and Rosalind were always _______________, because of their telepathic abilities. (marked by honest, sincere expression)
6. Uncle Axel spoke with _______________ about David's plan to run away. (forthrightness)
7. Joseph Strorm announced his _______________ at a meeting with the people of Waknuk. (state of being nominated or qualified for an office)
8. Joseph Strorm had married his wife for her lack of _______________. (quality of brilliance and wit in expression)
9. The large and old _______________ cast ghostly shadows in the Strorm's big kitchen. (branched candlesticks)
10. Welding produces such _______________ that protective gear for the eyes is imperative. (glowing or dazzling light resulting from great heat)
GIVING ADVICE BY TELEPATHY
In the story, David and Rosalind communicate by telepathy. Check the story how that is done, then take Rosalind's position giving David advice after he has told her he wants to run away.
Remember the following:
* David and Rosalind communicate through Images and ideas, NOT words.
* Don't make fun of David or be accusatory. Respect his point of view. Try to express sympathy.
* Remind David that he is not alone. Explain how things might turn out when he carries out his plan
* Tell him that you have confidence in his ability to make a sound decision.
* Conclude with your advice to David, and offer strong evidence to back up what you are advising.