by: Mary Joy Basañez
The article that I’m going to criticize is entitled “The Killing of the Mammoth” by Henry Tukeman. This 7 paged-article was made after the death of Horace P. Conradi- the one who paid Henry Tukeman to keep the secrecy of the death of the mammoth. It was quite obvious that some parts have explicit and implicit claims and some parts in which Henry wasn’t really sure about what he’ stating.
Introducing the characters of the story it was Henry Tukeman- the one who killed the mammoth and Paul – a young fellow from the tribe of Indians whose very intelligent, Na-thu-joyi-a(also known as Joe)- an ancient head-man in the tribe, and Soon-thai- Nathu-joyi-a’s son. It was Nathu-joyi-a who first told the story of mammoth to Tukeman and it was repeated by Tukeman after writing down the article in broken patois. The article was then favored to Tukeman, because he was the one whose writing the story. In addition to that he says, “ I will not detail the weary work of the portage of the little river” Which is a form of hedging because he’s not making a clear picture of how they travel from the river to their destination.
On the first paragraph, it was very obvious that Henry Tukeman was favoring himself. I can sense that he’s having a form of bias because he’s talking a lot for himself which is not really necessary. He must’ve talked what kind of person Mr. Conradi is, why he was the one who was ask to secure the specimen, is he the most trustworthy person Conradi had ever met? How long have they known each other? Thus, he must’ve published the article before Mr. Conradi died because it seems like he’s just faking it. In part “that I , poor man, found myself unable to refuse it.” seems like he wants us to show sympathy for him, because he cant refuse Conradi’s offer. Also, it seems so histrionic how he wrote the lead paragraph specially the end part where he told us about his dreams, like he wanted us to be on his side. Moreover, he must’ve explained further why it was called Conradi Mammoth rather than narrating his own life story. What’s more is that he uses generalization in “Many people will, undoubtedly, call me unpatriotic,…” to imply that most of the people will refuse the offer except for him. Also, in the first paragraph, he was apparently hedging the topic from “ Conradi Mammoth” to Mr. Conradi’s offer. I also got confused why he used the word ‘repurchase’ rather than recall and as you can see, Washington was misspelled as “ Wadington”.
Another point I would like to clarify is “ In 1890, I journeyed, by the way of St. Michaels and the Yukon River, to Alaska . The Kondlike had not been discovered and the Alaska Commercial Company’s steamer…” What vehicle did he used to travel then? Is the Alaska Commercial Company a company or a vehicle? What is the Kondlike?He must’ve put on supporting details to support his statement.
The opening of the story of the third paragraph was fine but later on, he inserted his opinion “ but the statement that I was the “Hudson Bay Man”( an unpaid account was my mental justification)” and confirms by claims of fact that he was really the “Hudson Bay Man.” Furthermore, I want to advise that he must restate his article without the broken lingo/vernacular language because I find it very aggravating that he repetitively use “an’” rather than using “and” and it affects the reader’s mood whether to continue reading the story or not. Moreover, Soon-Thai’s name was mentioned over and over again until Joe ended the story. I think it’s a form of bias mentioning a lot of things about his son and a little for himself.
“Beyond we see big valley, an’ lakes an’ trees there, an’ far away, on the other side of the valley, we see the mountains, an’ beyond them, very far off, high mountains which never goes away.” On the first part, Joe was stating claims of fact based on his own experience, and later on, he stated claims of values. “ Soon-thai is brave, plenty brave an’ he says, “We shoot plenty beaver in the valley eh?” I say, ‘No, that is the devil’s country’.” It was obvious too that he is using slanting to package his son so that he could manipulate one’s perception. Moreover, the whole thing that Joe was describing was a plain opinion too. Why? Because he’s saying personal statements and include expressions of personal beliefs of feelings that may or may not be universally true
In addition, Tukeman uses hedging to avoid making a clear stand so he won’t be blamed if ever errors are present in his article and he didn’t make it clear if he meant Tee-Kai-Koa’ as the mammoth or the place where the mammoth was being found . Tukeman’s claim about the killing of the mammoth made Conradi’s claims false.
The part “Paul and I both swore secrecy” shows a bias on Joe’s part. Why did Tukeman didn’t told Joe that they’re planning to kill the mammoth? Why do they have to keep it in confidential? Why does Paul doesn’t wish for the tribe to know? Will the whole tribe be mad?
Some parts of the story lead the readers to believe that it actually happened .They provided evidences that was stated like this: “ The first day that we explored back from the river we found enormous footprints of the mammoth, but they were not fresh, The track was nearly circular, and even on hard ground the indentations were made to stay, while in the softer soil around the lakes they were frequently three or four feet deep. Though lichen was abundant in the valley , I saw no caribou sign, nor, indeed, signs or any other game whatever.”
On the fourth page if we read between the lines, “A feeling of pity and shame crept over me as I watched the failing strength of this mighty prehistoric monarch whom I had outwitted and despoiled of a thousand peaceful years of harmless existence” we could say that he stated this to cover up his true motive.
In general, I could say that Henry Tukeman is a great author for he knows where and how to end up his article, though it’s an untested claim, he made it to look so real. Maybe he just have to polish some parts by directly editing it.