Here are some questions designed to test your comprehension of, appreciation of, and response to In The Park (below).
1. Imagine you are the person with pimples. How do you think your sense of self-esteem and integration within your community hub would be affected by being shouted at by a person with a loudhailer when you are sitting on a bench in the park at dusk spitting into a beaker?
2. Try to inhabit the mind of the dog which belongs to the person with pimples. Pretend that dogs can write in coherent English. Re-write the scene from the dogâ€™s point of view.
3. The bird which remains on its perch on a branch of a tree in the park at dusk is clearly unconcerned at the din created by a person shouting through a loudhailer. Using your vast store of ornithological learning, identify what type of bird you think it is, and argue your case with vivacity and bloody-mindedness.
4. The narrator seems to be quite ill-tempered, and there is a hint that he or she is an authoritarian figure who takes none too kindly to having their authority baulked. Is there anything in the text to suggest that the narrator is a disgruntled Maoist at sea in the twenty-first century?
5. What kind of town do you think this is?
Spitting into a beaker is highly personal, and so I would be offended at the interruption. However, spitting into a beaker is outside the rules of normal social conduct, so rude interruptions could only be expected, and as such I would probably want such interruptions, or I wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.
1. I would be pleased with myself at being such a n important person in this mans life that he wishes to shout at me with a loudhailer. i would presume i am very key in the community and therefore miy self esteem would be high.
2. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (in satisfied tone at relieving myself against a tree)
3. an owl, so wise that he is too busy thinking of higher things to be concerned with the events surrounding him.
4. it is clear that he is not a maoist at sea in the 21st century because he would clearly need to be in or near the park to witness the described events.
1. The man with the loudhailer has no obvious connections with the community hub, in fact, by his audacity and un-professional behaviour i would suggest that he is a rogue “loud hailer”, and therefore a surprise, rather than a being likely to damage one’s self esteem.
2. Weeing, I was shouted at. Bloke didn’t much like that bird though.
3. The bird’s stark refusal to move was caused potentially by any number of personality traits and as such it is impossible without further information to determine the type of bird. The two more obvious birds likely to take this course of action are firstly the hawk; proud, arrogant and powerful, or the wood-pecker; dizzy out of its mind and unable to fly away.
4. There is no evidence for his being at sea, in fact the man is on a lawn. Maoism, variably and officially known as “Mao Zedong Thought”, is a variant of Marxism derived from the teachings of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, or so it says on t’internet, evidence for this is equally scarce. He is disgruntled though, and of the 21st century, as both are respectively indicated by his use of the loudhailer… assuming of course it is not simply some form of cone.
1. I should feel rather sad, and confused. Spitting into a beaker requires precision, a calm atmosphere: one must relax to do it.
2. It is a question of status. The canine community is obsessed with status, as much as the human community is. The scorns of one onlooker is thus bearable, but, if any more should pour their scorn, I might suffer a nervous break-down.
3. It is clearly a falcon. Look! Can’t you see it? It’s big black pupils dilate and sparkle with each successive wail. The falcon believes that it is being courted, or at least greeted by this loudhailer man.
4. If anything, I should suggest that this is a twenty-first-century re-incarnation of Mao, spitting and hissing. He is confused to find himself amongst the living, breathing the autumn air. Autumn air. Autumn air.
5. An ovcerwhelming sense of sadness permeates this town. Dark and disturbing for a man like Mao. Madness by midnight. A lonely Tesco kissing the edge of the town, the edge of something not quite there, not quite at rest. The church bells can be seen from space.
1. This is my town and my spit. This is not your spit. I like the echo of the spit in the puddle in the beaker. You are too loud. You are not my spit.
2. So good to piss.
3. The bird is a deaf magpie. The magpie will pluck out their eyes; he is biding his time. Birds remain still before the Plucking.
4. The inhabitants of the park are the sole beings in the narrator’s mental apocalypse. The screaming of the loudhailer is the rage of the erect phallus.
5. This is a town where bells mark the passing of things. There is spit, their is shouting, there are birds hungry in the trees: so there are bells.
1. Pimply people are generally more obnoxious and louder than clean-skinned humans so I would not be perturbed by the shouting. I spit in a specially-designed yellow bucket every day in the park to seem ‘hard’, so I would relish the fact that a small waif-like child is shouting at me, pleading with me to stop spitting. It makes me cool.
2. There is a tree I particularly like in the park. It is an oak tree with mouldy green ooze spilling out from its bark. Every evening, while my owner sits spitting into his bucket, I like to take a nice, leisurely piss against the part of the tree with the most oozing gunge. Today, someone shouting through a loudhailer distubed me and made me feel uncomfortable to carry on urinating. Never mind… I will be back tomorrow.
3.I am a sparrow. A brown sparrow. A brown sparrow with wings and a beak. And legs which I use to stand on my perch, staring at men with loudhailers (or ‘loudspeaker’ as it is commonly known in sparrish, the language of the timid brown bird). Unfortunately, I am an outcast in the bird community for I am not shy, quiet or chirpy. This is because I used to be a gypsy, cursed to live in a sparrow’s body by an evil wizard. The hex will fall if I can win a no-blinking competition with a small gypsy child. I spied one such child today and sat on my perch staring at her shiny green eyes willing her to blink, but she ran away through the allotments before I could defeat her.
4. I don’t know who Mao is but I feel that the narrator is actually Mew, from the well-known Pokemon series: The narator seems wise. Very wise and pink.
5. I think this town is Stanton Drew, a small village in Somerset. There is a very nice park there, with a bench incidentally. As the narrator described his journey away from the park I can almost envisage a quiet evening in quaint Stamton Drew.
1. As the person with pimples is not alone (he owns a dog) and there seems to be no community as such, except perhaps for that of the birds, it may be reasonable to say that he is more integrted with the community than the person shouting at him, and the birds (whom he is alienating from whatever community there is). It could in fact be the case that the person with pimples is an upstanding member of the community (spitting may be seen as an interesting and somewhat elegant passtime), and that the person with the loudhailer is the outcast. In this case, the person with the pimples may be either unnafected by being shouted at, or simply mildly offended.
2. In my opinion, a dog would use rather simplistic english…
“loud person noise bark at pimple. loud person bark at me. me pissing. brown birds fly. brown bird stay. brown loud on brown floor.” After all, aren’t dogs colourblind?
3. To be unconcerned at the person with the loudhailer making a din, the bird would have to be a rather large creature. I suggest, therefore, that the bird must be a pheonix. Such a bird would be unafraid of any noise created by a man with a loudhailer. This could also explain why the man with the loudhaier dropped it and rushed away in such a hurry. obviously, he would have been terribly frightened of such a creature, especially at dusk, when the imagination of man can become overrun with frightful visions.
4. Absolutely nothing. except ‘a sea of rage’.
5.Perhaps the town is inhabited by orthadox christians, as the bells may be calling the town to midnight mass. at christmastime. Allotments suggest green-fingered people, and this could therefore be a rather old-fashioned town.
1. This is a fable of redemption: The key fact is that he has chosen to spit into a beaker rather than expectorate upon ground, tree, dog or loud-hailer man. This shows that his once askew moral compass has been realigned by the Miliband-camp to which he has been bound to attend… bound by the shackles of society.
2. The domesticated dog lives in a state of prolonged puppyhood – he would most likely be in a state of wordless rapture as the stream of golden fluid connects his corporeal doggyness with the corporeal treeishness of the tree.
3. A spectral bird, the bird of your mind’s eye. It’s colours are of astonishing hues, ever shifting, swirling – undefinable.
4. Since the other responders have tackled the issue of the narrator’s Maoism, I shall now address the thorny issue of being “at sea”. By this I presume you mean he is somewhat lost or overwhelmed by the wonders of the modern era – perhaps he longs for a time when all the truths that would be worth knowing could be written in a “little red book” and then shouted with gusto from a loud-hailer. The object of his enshoutment is no doubt one of generation X, Y or Z – a type who knows no absolutes and is therefore an abomination.
5. A bell-benightend Hell-Hole.