TU || Flax Golden Tales || Four Levels of Interpretation Lesson 14

Level: B.A/ B.B.S || Lesson 14 Shep’s Hobby (James Herriot, UK 1916-1995)

Words Meaning

Luxuriant = Pleasing

Lurk = Wait

Blast = Explode

Leap = Jump

Alley = Street

Glared = Looked angrily

Recon = Think

Gritted = Pebbles

Meadow = Grassland

Descended = Lowered

Fragrance = Good small

Exotic = Foreign

Apathetically = Indifferently

Herbage = Grass

Erupted = Stood

Obscured = Polluted

Seminary = Little

Muttered = Spoke unclearly

Approached = Came near

Docile = Simple

Triumph = Victory

Commiseration = Empathy

Gallop = Running

With stand = face

Eulogy = Praise

Flickered = Became bright

Inexorably = Being cruel

Snapped = Broke

Anticipation = Expectation

Strolling = Moving

Fascinated = Excited

Tremendous = Terrible

Slumbered = Slept

Hollow = Empty

Tethered = Tied

Disappeared = Vanished

Summary

The writer himself was vetnary surgeon. He went to Mr. Baile’s house for the treatment of his cow. He felt difficultly to find out the disease of the cow. Though he didn’t give up hope. He visited Mr. Baile’s house regularly. When he treated the cow, he pumped formalin and sodium into the cow. The writer gave the cow some medicine with a mixture of treacle as his last attempt. Mr. Baile said that the cow wasn’t getting better with the writer’s medicine. Mr. Baile informed him that his cow cured by the postman’s suggestion. So Mr. Baile thanked the postman rather that the writer. Then the writer felt sad. But each time when the writer used to come to Mr. Baile’s house, the dog used to bark at him. The name of the dog was Shep. It was an Alsatian. The shep used to come to the writer barking and run a way. The writer heard about postman from Mr. Baile, he became angry and left the cowshed immediately. Then again the dog-Shep barked at him.

Then the writer pulled the dog by Chain and shook his fist under the dog’s nose and shouted at the dog. When the writer became calm he realized that he shouldn’t have challenged the dog because he knew that dog frightened the passer by only for fun. It was shep’s hobby. The writer feels sad for his own mistake which he did with an innocent animal. After few months gain Mr. Baile invited him to see the cow, but this time Shep didn’t bark at him. One day the writer was driving to his house then he saw the dog barking at t tinker then the tinker ran away with fear dropping his pots on the floor.

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Four Levels of Interpretation

  1. Literal Comprehension:

The writer himself was vetnary surgeon. He went to Mr. Baile’s house for the treatment of his cow. He felt difficultly to find out the disease of the cow. Though he didn’t give up hope. He visited Mr. Baile’s house regularly. When he treated the cow, he pumped formalin and sodium into the cow. The writer gave the cow some medicine with a mixture of treacle as his last attempt. Mr. Baile said that the cow wasn’t getting better with the writer’s medicine. Mr. Baile informed him that his cow cured by the postman’s suggestion. So Mr. Baile thanked the postman rather that the writer. Then the writer felt sad. But each time when the writer used to come to Mr. Baile’s house, the dog used to bark at him. The name of the dog was Shep. It was an Alsatian. The shep used to come to the writer barking and run a way. The writer heard about postman from Mr. Baile, he became angry and left the cowshed immediately. Then again the dog-Shep barked at him.

Then the writer pulled the dog by Chain and shook his fist under the dog’s nose and shouted at the dog. When the writer became calm he realized that he shouldn’t have challenged the dog because he knew that dog frightened the passer by only for fun. It was shep’s hobby. The writer feels sad for his own mistake which he did with an innocent animal. After few months gain Mr. Baile invited him to see the cow, but this time Shep didn’t bark at him. One day the writer was driving to his house then he saw the dog barking at t tinker then the tinker ran away with fear dropping his pots on the floor.

  1. Interpretation:

The writer tries to show that animals are more faithful and they have the virtues, devotion and sense of recognition. They recognize other human and animal beings. Next thing he wants to say that we want to be praised for what we did. If we don’t get praise, we become angry.

  1. Critical Thinking:

The writer has used simple language to present this story. I agree with the writer that animals have recognition and they are faithful but I don’t agree with him when he says barking is the dog’s hobby. It can’t be dog’s hobby. They can bite us if we don’t take care.

  1. Assimilation:

When I read Shep’s hobby I remembered my own dog-Johnny. It is a faithful dog. If guards my house wherever my family members are. Johnny barks at strangers. It doesn’t bark at familiar persons or family members.

Possible question

  1. Herriot concludes “Shep’s Hobby” with these reflections. “My overriding emotion was one of relief that”. I had not cut the sparkle out of the big dog’s life. Shep was still having fun”. Why is it so important to Herriot for shep to still have his fun?

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