Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lunchtime read: The Best Short Stories

Away from soliders patroling remote areas of the Empire the stories take a different tone and in the case of the one consumed today become slightly more inventive. It is possible to appreciate what Kipling was doing when you read things that are genuinely different.

The Ship That Found Herself
The story starts conventionally ebnough with the skipper and the ship builder’s daughter discussing a new ship, which the skipper argues needs to find itself. Then Kipling makes the comment that if you ever listen to a boat made of steel and iron you can hear it talking and from that point the voices are those of the steam, rivets and other parts of the ship. The ship makes it to New York and then all of a sudden a new voice emerges and it is the voice of the ship, rather than of the component parts, and the ship has finally found itself.

It is hard not to appreciate the clever way the different parts of the ship make different sounds and the steam is acting as the most experienced voice of all. His use of language and sound is something special.

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