Sunday, November 14, 2010

Conversation With My Brother: Three Little Pigs

I just love some of the email exchanges I have with my brother and couldn't resist posting this one:

Him: Why in the Three Little Pigs does the wolf threaten to huff and puff and blow the house down? He could just kick the door in or break a window, why blow the whole house down. Maybe who ever had a fear of windstorms? And... it seems there are more than two ands in the sentence and comas.

Me: The wolf's capability of leveling the house by blowing it down is far scarier than kicking in the door or breaking the window. More than a mere repair job, the leveled house literally makes the pig homeless.

As for the "and," I seem to recall it's a type of writing convention perhaps used as away to build suspense and for emphasis. It certainly creates a unique rhythm precisely because we've been taught not to use multiple "ands" in this way. I saw a Wikipedia article, can't find it now, which discusses this convention. It uses the speech Brad Pitt gave in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds as a example:

"We will be cruel to the Germans, and through our cruelty they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us. And the German won't not be able to help themselves but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the German will be sickened by us, and the German will talk about us, and the German will fear us. And when the German closes their eyes at night and they're tortured by their subconscious for the evil they have done, it will be with thoughts of us they are tortured with."

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