GCSE English opening worlds- the gold legged frog

notes on the short story the gold legged frog

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The Gold Legged Frog by Khamsing Srinawk
Opening Worlds No 4
The story begins with Nak resting against a tree as he travels home to his village.
He is exhausted and anxious to be with his poisoned son. He sees a whirlwind
and recalls "the old people" had told him this was a portent of drought, want,
disaster and death.
`and he was afraid': This direct comment from Srinawk (the writer) shows Nak's
troubled thoughts and sets up an ominous feeling of suspense by suggesting that
the whirlwind is a sign of bad luck. The reference to `death' hints at the sad
ending to the story. He establishes a gloomy mood and the idea of problems
piling up for Nak by using alliteration "drought .. disaster and death".
There is a switch in time to the morning when Nak and two of his children hunt
for frogs. This section has a comic element when Nak himself is compared to a
frog "he had hopped from place to place". However, the comedy is tempered
with the sense that this frog hunting is a ritual part of their daily battle to
survive. The section ends with the high drama of the youngest son being bitten
by a cobra. The sparcity of food is emphasised when we learn that Nak carries
the basket of frogs home in addition to his bitten son (i.e. they still need the food).
We are given an insight into a traditional way of life when we are given a
`snap-shot' of the villagers offering suggestions on how the boy might be healed;
"cut up a frog and put it on the wound". Nak's desperation is shown by the fact
that he tries these alternative remedies and also summoned "all the faith healers
and herbalists whose names he could think of".
The other villagers are not portrayed sympathetically ­ they seem fascinated by
the drama of the event rather than generally concerned for Nak's plight. Their
suggestions that he should pursue the two hundred baht offered by the
government rather than stay with his son shows them to be either hard-hearted
or realistic.
Nak finally agrees to collect the money after advice from the village chief. His
decision is based on fear rather than greed. He is warned that he could be put in
prison "for life" if he refuses the handout.
However, this section also contains humour. Nak's response to the questions
"Why do `we' have such a lot of children?" is humorous ­ but also borne out of a
deep sense of anger and frustration. "I gotta use my wife as a blanket and the
kid's just keep coming.''
The story ends with Nak heading back from his resting place by the tree (where
the story started). His hopes are raised briefly by his neighbour calling out "you
sure are lucky". However, the grim irony of Srinawk's story is revealed when we
learn that Nak's son will die and Nak's `luck' is that he collected the `many
children money' while he still had enough children to qualify.

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The quote that perhaps best reveals Srinawk's sympathy with the rural poor
comes on lines 103-104 when Nak thinks to himself "All you do is suffer if you
are born a rice farmer and a subject.…read more


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