Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Story Review: The Lady, or the Tiger?

Access to the online short story: The Lady, or the Tiger, by Frank R. Stockton

‘The Lady, or the Tiger?’ is an American classical short story written by Frank R. Stockton, a humorist and a writer, in year 1882. He was born Philadelphia, the seventh of thirteen children. During his life time, he published several fairy tales, humorous books, novels, and science fiction. Among many best known stories, ‘The Lady, or the Tiger?’ was Stockton's most lasting story. He used satirical writing to examine the absolute power and self-interest of leaders, the romantic relationship, passion, and trusting between lovers, the cruelty of systems, and the uncertainty of lives in a society. The story involved a jealous princess, a vindictive king, and a handsome suitor. In general, the story was written from third person’s point of view except one part where the suitor asked a question, “Which?” to the princess.

‘The Lady, or the Tiger?’ began with a description of a “semi-barbaric” king who ruled his kingdom with a heavy-hand. He enjoyed turning his wild imagination into facts. Inspired by his implacable will, he utilized an unusual form of administering justice for offenders in his kingdom. The offender could determine his own fate by selecting one of the two closed doors in the arena. He was forced by nothing and led by no one. Behind one door stood a beautiful lady hand-picked by the king and behind another door hid a ravenous tiger. If the offender picked the door with the beautiful lady behind it, he would be declared innocent and as a reward, he must marry that lady under the witness of the king, regardless of previous marital status. If the offender opened the door with the tiger behind it, then he would be deemed guilty and the tiger would tear him to pieces. The uncertain ending of the offender pleased the king and the people in the kingdom a lot, except women, who were always the victims of the system.

The king had a daughter that who was also semi-barbaric. She was the apple of his eye. One day, the king found out that the princess had taken a lover far beneath her station. He could not accept this and so he threw the suitor into prison and set a day for his trial in the arena. On the trial day, the suitor stood in the arena and looked at the princess who sat on the right side of the king. When his eyes met hers, he knew right away that the princess knew the secret behind the doors. Through telepathy, he quickly asked the princess for some indication of which door to pick. The princess was actually in quandary. If she indicated the door with the tiger, her lover would be killed on the spot. However, if she indicated the door with the lady, her lover would be forced to marry another woman, and even though he would be alive she would never be with him. Despite the dilemma, the princess responded to her lover’s question in a second. But it had been made after days and nights of deep and painful thought. The princess gave a sign to the right. Without hesitation, the suitor walked to the door on the right and opened it. At this point, the story abruptly stopped and the author left the question to the reader, “Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady?”

This is a great story. I like the story but not the abrupt ending, especially when the story is a cliffy. The author placed the princess, as well as the reader, in a predicament. Making a decision is hard; making a decision for a woman is even harder, as illustrated in one Chinese saying that equates the difficulty of predicting a woman’s heart as finding a needle in an ocean. If a decision must be made for the princess, I think the suitor should be led to the door with the lady behind it. But, Wait! Do not premeditate my intention; I have additional reasons to support the decision. The law forces a man to marry a lady if he did choose the right door, regardless of his previous marital status. Is there a suggestion that polygamy is legal in the kingdom? If so, the princess could marry the suitor later, regardless of the suitor’s previous marital status. At the end, the princess could save her lover and could live happily with him again.

5 comments:

oakleyses said...

michael kors pas cher, polo ralph lauren, nike roshe, louboutin pas cher, polo ralph lauren outlet online, prada outlet, christian louboutin, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton, gucci handbags, christian louboutin shoes, kate spade outlet, nike free run, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, replica watches, ugg boots, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, jordan shoes, burberry pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, ugg boots, nike air max, oakley sunglasses wholesale, air max, tory burch outlet, christian louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses, jordan pas cher, replica watches, tiffany jewelry, longchamp outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, prada handbags, louis vuitton outlet, nike free, uggs on sale, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin uk, chanel handbags, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet

oakleyses said...

true religion outlet, oakley pas cher, coach purses, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, sac hermes, lululemon canada, nike air max uk, sac vanessa bruno, guess pas cher, nike air max uk, burberry outlet, replica handbags, polo lacoste, converse pas cher, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, nike tn, ray ban uk, michael kors outlet, nike air force, michael kors outlet, uggs outlet, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, burberry handbags, coach outlet store online, nike blazer pas cher, north face, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, hogan outlet, kate spade, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, ralph lauren uk, michael kors outlet online, true religion jeans, mulberry uk, nike free uk, uggs outlet, hollister uk, nike roshe run uk, north face uk, timberland pas cher, michael kors, new balance

oakleyses said...

baseball bats, iphone cases, ghd hair, lululemon, louboutin, celine handbags, longchamp uk, mac cosmetics, nike huaraches, gucci, nike trainers uk, beats by dre, nike roshe run, oakley, abercrombie and fitch, converse, hollister, jimmy choo outlet, bottega veneta, hermes belt, wedding dresses, insanity workout, vans, hollister clothing, north face outlet, instyler, hollister, ray ban, valentino shoes, converse outlet, asics running shoes, babyliss, mcm handbags, herve leger, soccer jerseys, giuseppe zanotti outlet, timberland boots, reebok outlet, ferragamo shoes, p90x workout, chi flat iron, vans outlet, mont blanc pens, ralph lauren, nike air max, new balance shoes, nfl jerseys, nike air max, north face outlet, soccer shoes

oakleyses said...

ugg pas cher, canada goose outlet, hollister, replica watches, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg, moncler, swarovski, canada goose jackets, supra shoes, canada goose, moncler, canada goose, links of london, canada goose, toms shoes, barbour, juicy couture outlet, ugg uk, pandora charms, louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, marc jacobs, montre pas cher, canada goose uk, louis vuitton, moncler, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, moncler, louis vuitton, lancel, coach outlet, moncler outlet, canada goose outlet, thomas sabo, canada goose outlet, karen millen uk, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora jewelry, swarovski crystal, wedding dresses, pandora uk, barbour uk, moncler uk, moncler outlet, louis vuitton, doudoune moncler

Anonymous said...

Welcome to quick town. We invite you to swallow some sperm