“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.”).