A Quest to Assess

by: Allyssa Mae Anuada

The article I’m going to criticize is entitled “The Killing of the Mammoth” by Henry Tukeman. A seven paged article which talks about the exploitation of a prehistoric animal called a mammoth. On the first time reading this article I actually thought it was perfect because it’s English but as I began to read it again, there emerged the lapses of this article.
On the first paragraph, I could somehow sense that there is Bias from Henry Tukeman because he is talking a lot about himself which is not necessarily needed in explaining as to why he accepted Mr.Conradi’s offer. For me it’s actually kind of dramatic, how he wrote the first paragraph especially the latter part where he told us about his dreams, it’s like he wanted us to be on his side, to have sympathy with him, to not judge him because he accepted the offer. He could’ve at least told us who Mr.Conradi is .In addition, he’s also hedging the topic from the “Conradi Mammoth” to Mr.Conradi’s offer, where in fact he should have discussed why it’s called Conradi Mammoth, why it’s been the talk of the town and not flashback his life. I can’t seem to understand the third sentence on the first paragraph “and to this charge I can only reply that the re-purchase of Wadington Hall…” until I had consulted a dictionary, it’s kind of technical, he should’ve used “recall” instead of repurchase and I think it’s Washington instead of Wadington. In addition, there is also Generalization in the part where he said “Many people will, undoubtedly, call me unpatriotic in thus allowing a foreign country to obtain this wonderful specimen,…”
On the second paragraph, Klondike is a river if I’m not mistaken, it’s a fact. It would be great if the author would make it clear as to what transportation he used to reach Fort Yukon. Is Alaska Commercial Company steamer a vehicle, specifically a steam Engine or what? At the fourth sentence of the second paragraph “and I listened later to many an interesting yarn from the old tribesmen” the author could omit “an” in the sentence or is it supposed to be “and I listened later to many and interesting yarn from the old tribesmen”. ?
The sentence starter of the third paragraph is good but then again I think the author put his own opinion in this sentence “ I was a “Hudson Bay man” (an unpaid account was my mental justification)” . There is also a claim of fact in here because he’s claiming he is indeed a “Hudson Bay man”.
At this point we could identify that there is slanting, the author is manipulating old Joe by humouring him and persuading him to tell the story. We could also read between the lines that there is something that old Joe is hesitant to talk about. Moreover, I would like to suggest him to directly retell the story in English language not in broken patois.
I would like to commend him for the great description of the setting and actions, the details were clear even though it’s written in broken patois but it’s kind of annoying how he used “an/and” many times. The way the story was told is bias with Soon-thai, his name is mentioned all throughout the narrative of his father. We can read between the lines that something unpleasant happened as old Joe went on with his story. Furthermore, he is hedging the topic when he said “I’m old and tired, and to talk of Soon-Thai, my son, makes me weak like a woman” and another reading between the line sentence “Do not seek Tee-Kai-Koa, white man, lest you have no tale to tell us as I have told you” He is warning Tukeman not to continue hunting if he has plans in doing so. As I scan through the sentences on the second page I found a technical error “fIrst”instead of “first”. In addition, I could say there is Hedging because he or they are just assuming that the mammoth they’re going to hunt is last of its race proven by this sentence “so that it seemed as if this prehistoric giant must be the last of his race alive there” signalled by the modal auxiliary verb “must”. He also used slanting in the third page, twentieth paragraph if I’m correct to persuade Paul as he tell of the fortunes they will be able to get when they accomplish this mission that made the guy agree and go with him to hunt the mammoth.

On the third page where he is bound to leave Fort Yukon, I found that there are numerous opinions that held no significance in the story like “A round of presents to the Indians (not forgetting an extra one for Joe’s pretty daughter) made my departure more easy,…” . One more is ‘the handsome scamp’s attention to the girls were too impartial to call for any particular and individual congratulations”. Another is “And then the mosquitoes! I have had some experience of them…”
Continuously reading, I found a claim that has been proven not true by Tukeman and Paul as they go on with their journey; here it is “we found the “gully” to be in reality a considerable creek which had evidently been blocked by a rock slide or an eruption.” It’s good that he made it clear it wasn’t a gully. Again, I appraise his talent when it comes to describing the place he is in, you can really imagine what it looks like in reality. In addition to the technical errors he would’ve wanted to change is “valley” than “vallev”.Claim of fact is also evident when he said “As I knew the Noyukuk river must rise in these ranges” , he really is expecting to see the river on the ranges.
I would as well advise him to interchange “the creek water being undrinkable from the presence in it of copper ore” to “the presence of copper ore in it” to make it more understandable. He should be more meticulous in writing or encoding his text. Moreover, I can observe there is an untested claim that mammoths are believed to run after a smoke by Joe that is to be tested by Tukeman in his supposition that smoke would attract their target. True to his theory that the mammoth would run after the fire, the experiment they did revealed the truth behind why the beast ran after the smoke is because it is threatened by the conflagration .
On the fifth page I can make out that there is a claim of fact, a mammoth really seems to appear like what he is describing it. There is also a presence of claim of policy in “Paul must have watched him very coolly”. Technical error like “quietlv” should be changed to “quietly” .Afterwards, in the sixth page, when the day of the killing was fast approaching we could sense that the mammoth have felt danger around his surroundings when the author said that “He seemed to be restless, and kept sniffing the air” . As I scan the last two pages I found another error “seream” that should be replaced by “scream” and “uneertainly” to “uncertainly”. There is reading between the lines in the part where the author said “But the end was drawing near, for the great brute was bleeding profusely from the mouth and ears and staggered uncertainly back and forth” this has been an indication that the mammoth is close to dying. “A feeling of pity and shame crept over me as I watched the failing strength of this mighty prehistoric monarch whom I outwitted and despoiled of a thousand peaceful years of harmless existence. It was as though I were robbing nature , an old Mother Earth herself of a child born to her younger days, in the Dawn of Time” in this part it gives me the impression of him being suddenly so sorry for what he did to cover up the terrible act he made , he’s somewhat hedging .
Taken as a whole, Henry Tukeman did a great task in narrating his venture to kill the mammoth though at some aspect he would have to polish it. Overall, this has been a helpful article for me to improve my critical reading ability in distinguishing explicit and implicit claims in a story.


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