Updated September 10, 2022

The Unicorn in the garden by James Thurber

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The Unicorn in the garden by James Thurber essay
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“The Unicorn in the Garden” is a story written by the American cartoonist, author and journalist James Thurber. He was well known for his cartoons and short stories, mainly published in The New Yorker magazine. “The Unicorn in the Garden” is about a man and his wife. One morning he sees the unicorn in his garden eating flowers. Positively excited he goes upstairs to tell his wife about it. She is being in a bad mood calls him a “booby” and threatens to send him to a “booby hatch”.

The husband goes to the garden and falls asleep among the roses. At that time, the wife calls the police and a psychiatrist. She tells them that her husband saw the unicorn, but they think she is the crazy one. In the presence of the police and the psychiatrist, the husband denies having seen a unicorn. Therefore, the wife is taken to the mental institution. This story belongs to the belles-lettres functional style, the main aim of which is to give the reader aesthetic pleasure, to make them think and to entertain them by appealing to their emotions.

It is told in the third person from the viewpoint of an omniscient anonymous narrator. It is a mixture of the elements of the description and the dialogues, though the dialogues are not numerous. This short story has the features of the fable and a fairy tale. As a fable, this story has the moral given at the end, and one of its characters is a mythical creature – a unicorn. The elements of the fairy tale are presented at the first sentence of the short story and the one that is in the end. However, in this story the cliché “Once upon a time” is violated and here it is “Once upon a sunny morning”, and the phraseological unit “They lived happily ever after” is violated and here it is “The husband lived happily ever after”. The protagonists of the fable are a man and his wife; they are opposed to each other.

The man is a quite, mild, dreamy and clever person, while his wife is egoistical, coarse and sly. For example, when the husband woke her up to share his wonderful news about the unicorn, the epithet “unfriendly eye” characterizes the attitude of the wife to her husband (“She opened one unfriendly eye and looked at him.”).

The Unicorn in the garden by James Thurber essay

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The Unicorn in the garden by James Thurber. (2021, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-unicorn-in-the-garden-by-james-thurber/


What did the wife do after the husband left the house the Unicorn in the Garden?
As soon as the husband had gone out of the house, the wife got up and dressed as fast as she could. She was very excited and there was a gloat in her eye. She telephoned the police and she telephoned a psychiatrist; she told them to hurry to her house and bring a strait-jacket .
What does don't count your boobies until they are hatched mean?
cursing: using dirty or obscene speech. "Don't count your boobies until they are hatched": from the American expression "Don't count your chickens before they are hatched", meaning " Don't count on things to turn out exactly as you planned them ." gloat: a look of malice or greed.
What is the main idea of the Unicorn in the Garden?
The story ends with, "Moral: Don't count your boobies before they're hatched ", a play on the popular adage, "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched". Thus, the moral advises not to expect one's hopes to be a certainty.
Who are the characters of the story unicorn in the garden?
This text is a story written by James THURBER in 1940 and taken from the collection Fables for our time. It is entitled The unicorn in the garden. There are three characters in the story: a man, his wife and a unicorn .
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