the liteture class we group work about the story we read called “Sredni Vashtar”. I worked with Anouk de Laferrere, Belen Brito Peret, Alexis Stankiwich and Juan de Elia.
“In the dull, cheerless garden, overlooked by so many windows that were ready to open with a message not to do this or that, or a reminder that medicines were due, he found little attraction. The few fruit-trees that it contained were set jealously apart from his plucking, as though they were rare specimens of their kind blooming in an arid waste; it would probably have been difficult to find a market-gardener who would have offered ten shillings for their entire yearly produce. In a forgotten corner, however, almost hidden behind a dismal shrubbery, was a disused tool-shed of respectable proportions, and within its walls Conradin found a haven, something that took on the varying aspects of a playroom and a cathedral. He had peopled it with a legion of familiar phantoms, evoked partly from fragments of history and partly from his own brain, but it also boasted two inmates of flesh and blood. In one corner lived a ragged-plumaged Houdan hen, on which the boy lavished an affection that had scarcely another outlet. Further back in the gloom stood a large hutch, divided into two compartments, one of which was fronted with close iron bars. This was the abode of a large polecat-ferret, which a friendly butcher- boy had once smuggled, cage and all, into its present quarters, in exchange for a long-secreted hoard of small silver. Conradin was dreadfully afraid of the lithe, sharp-fanged beast, but it was his most treasured possession. Its very presence in the tool-shed was a secret and fearful joy, to be kept scrupulously from the knowledge of the Woman, as he privately dubbed his cousin. And one day, out of Heaven knows what material, he spun the beast a wonderful name, and from that moment it grew into god and a religion. The Woman indulged in religion once a week at a church near by, and took Conradin with her, but to him the church service was an alien rite in the House of Rimmon. Every Thursday, in the dim and musty silence of the tool-shed, he worshipped with mystic and elaborate ceremonial before the wooden hutch where dwelt Sredni Vashtar, the great ferret. Red flowers in their season and scarlet berries in the winter-time were offered at his shrine, for he was a god who laid some special stress on the fierce impatient side of things, as opposed to the Woman’s religion, which, as far as Conradin could observe, went to great lengths in the contrary direction. And on great festivals powdered nutmeg was strewn in front of his hutch, an important feature of the offering being that the nutmeg had to be stolen. These festivals were of irregular occurrence, and were chiefly appointed to celebrate some passing event. On one occasion, when Mrs. de Ropp suffered from acute toothache for three days, Conradin kept up the festival during the entire three days, and almost succeeded in persuading himself that Sredni Vashtar was personally responsible for the toothache. If the malady had lasted for another day the supply of nutmeg would have given out.”
While being imprisoned in his house by his cousin and guardian Mrs De Ropp, Conradin found a shed which becomes heaven for him only because inside, there is a ferret which starts to be very important to him.
While Conradin is surrounded by an oppressing atmosphere and society, in the shed, forgotten in the garden, he found a ferret which, by his imagination, tranforms into his god and religion. It was his most important belonging, and he named it Sredni Vashtar. This was his treasured secret that he reserved from his cousin Mrs. De Ropp
The author’s style is to use a descriptive vocabulary and language which makes readers imagine the situation better and understand Conradin´s situation and feelings. For instance: “ Conradin was dreadfully afraid of the lithe, sharp fanged beast, but it was his most treasured possession.” In this quotation we can see clearly how by describing perfectly the ferret, we can also get to know how Conradin felt about it. Although the ferret seemed to be a beast, it was very important for the kid due to it’s ability of getting him off the oppressing atmosphere off the house.
We can also notice that the shed is only that much special to him because the ferret is inside. Sredni Vashtar is what makes the shed so interesting for the child because it’s his god and his way of releasing his anger towards Mrs De Ropp.
Explains Conradin´s imagination. What he imagined. To escape from her, he creates his own mystical world where he could be separated from the suffocation and hardship of reality.
“Its very presence in the tool-shed was a secret and fearful joy, to be kept scrupulously from the knowledge of the Woman, as he privately dubbed his cousin”
Mrs De Ropp forces Conradin to go to church, however, to Conradin his one and only god is the powerful Sredni Vashtar. The child elaborates ceremonies and rituals in honor of his most important creature in charge of doing whatever Conradin asked him to do.
Conradin tries to get all his anger against Mrs De Ropp away through his ferret. He attended the shed as if it were his shrine, once a week, and carried out ceremonies, where he prays, and festivals. Once, when Mrs. De Ropp suffered from a toothache, the festival lasted three entire days and Conradin thought the toothache was the responsibility of Sredni Vashtar.
10. We can see how the tool-shed becomes a place in which Conradin can be himself and let everything go away through his imagination. The shed becomes a place in which the imprisonment of the house disappears and Conradin doesn’t feel limited at all.
11. We can also notice that the shed is only that much special to him because the ferret is inside. Sredni Vashtar is what makes the shed so interesting for the child because it’s his god and his way of releasing his anger towards Mrs. De Ropp.
12. The shed becomes a place in which Conradin could be himself and the imprisonment of the house disappears and he doesn’t care about the guardian.
13. This place shows part of the uncanniness of the story. On the one hand, it is familiar because it meant to be a cathedral and Sredni Vashtar’s home. But, on the other hand, it is unfamiliar because it is where, in Conradin’s mind, Mrs De Ropp dies.
“…he was a god who laid some special stress on the fierce impatient side of things, as opposed to the Woman´s religion…”“ On one day occasion, when Mrs. De Ropp suffered from acute toothache for three days, Conradin kept up the festival during the entire three days, and almost succeeded in persuading himself that Sredni Vashtar was personally responsible for the toothache.”
13. The shed also presents the element of instability in the story