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How do these descriptions of the natural world help your understanding of the stories from which they come?

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OCR: Opening Worlds How do these descriptions of the natural world help your understanding of the stories from which they come? The Gold-Legged Frog by Khamsing Srinawk and The Winter Oak by Yuri Nagibin, are both stories which use nature in particular ways perfectly to set up the stories that follow. Analysing the extracts offers us various details which help us to understand the whole story. In The Gold-Legged Frog one is immediately struck by the use of colour. "Dirty yellow leaves", "dull grass", "brown earth" and " sandy ground" all help to create a picture of a dry and mal-nourished atmosphere. This could imply poverty and suggest a world where things are dull and lifeless. This fits very well with one of the main themes of the story: the death of Nak's young boy. In contrast Srinawk also mentions his "dark blue shirt wet with sweat". Dark blue is a cold colour and yet Nak is sweating. This seems to be a contradiction but Srinawk is trying to create a world where the characters have to live between extremes. ...read more.


This has two different effects; firstly, it incorporates us further into the experience of the character by making us feel present at the suffering. The delicacy of the body parts, particularly the eyes, makes us more aware of the pain and confusion. Secondly, there is a sense of creepiness and spookiness derived from these disembodied parts. Perhaps this links to the "portent of drought, want, disaster and death" triggering a thought of bad happenings. In contrast to The Gold-Legged Frog, The Winter Oak focuses into minute details. Even though the oak itself is huge much of the writing describes the little things. We begin with a "path" going "round a hazel bush" and end up in a "glade" which all have a quality of freshness, smallness and simplicity. The "tiny grotto" later in the extract has a magical effect making everything seem smaller and yet full of possibilities. Nagibin is creating a world which is small and yet inspires so many questions and changes. ...read more.


The Gold-Legged Frog is a more brutal story, involving killing frogs in order to stay alive whereas in The Winter Oak there is a lot more love of humans towards animals. Savushkin's frog is "pretending to be dead" but will be hopping about once it has been warmed by the sun. In contrast, the sun in the first extract is painful, burning and killing. The sun here is victimising the main character whereas in the second extract the boy is in control of his own small world. The oak is superior but not in a threatening way and Savushkin approaches it "as if approaching an old acquaintance". On the other hand, Nak has no control over his surroundings and gains no comfort from the natural world. To add to his powerlessness he is at the mercy of the officials who force him to leave his dying child in order to keep himself out of jail. Perhaps the cruelty of the natural world mirrors this injustice. The writers use grammatical devices in different ways to portray natural worlds that perfectly fit the action of the stories that take place in them. By Chiara Brignone ...read more.

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