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The Medicine Chest


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  • “I am just going outside and may be some time"

    After initially making good progress, Terra Nova expedition party’s prospects steadily worsened as they struggled northward. Deteriorating weather, frostbite, snow blindness, hunger and exhaustion led to Edgar Evans dying on 17 February and Lawrence Oates, whose condition was aggravated by an old war-wound to the extent that he was barely able to walk, voluntarily leaving his tent on 16 March and walking to his death. (“I am just going outside and may be some time".)" (Liebenberg 2011: 75).
  • A perfect day for bananafish

    Extract from J.D. Salinger's 'For Esmé - With Love and Squalor' in which Seymour Glass interacts with a young girl while swimming in the ocean on holiday. “Miss Carpenter. Please. I know my business,” the young man said. “You just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. This is a perfect day for bananafish.” “I don’t see any,” Sybil said. “That’s understandable. Their habits are very peculiar.” He kept pushing the float. The water was not quite up to his chest. “They lead a very tragic life,” he said. “You know what they do, Sybil?” She shook her head. “Well, they swim into a hole where there’s a lot of bananas. They’re very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in, they behave like pigs. Why, I’ve known some bananafish to swim into a banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas.” He edged the float and its passenger a foot closer to the horizon. “Naturally, after that they’re so fat they can’t get out of the hole again. Can’t fit through the door.” “Not too far out,” Sybil said. “What happens to them?” “What happens to who?” “The bananafish.” “Oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can’t get out of the banana hole?” “Yes,” said Sybil. “Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die.” “Why?” asked Sybil. “Well, they get banana fever. It’s a terrible disease.” “Here comes a wave,” Sybil said nervously. “We’ll ignore it. We’ll snub it,” said the young man. “Two snobs.” He took Sybil’s ankles in his hands and pressed down and forward. The float nosed over the top of the wave. The water soaked Sybil’s blond hair, but her scream was full of pleasure. With her hand, when the float was level again, she wiped away a flat, wet band of hair from her eyes, and reported, “I just saw one.” “Saw what, my love?” “A bananafish.” “My God, no!” said the young man. “Did he have any bananas in his mouth?” “Yes,” said Sybil. “Six.” The young man suddenly picked up one of Sybil’s wet feet, which were drooping over the end of the float, and kissed the arch. “Hey!” said the owner of the foot, turning around. “Hey, yourself! We’re going in now. You had enough?” “No!” “Sorry,” he said, and pushed the float toward shore until Sybil got off it. He carried it the rest of the way. (Salinger 1986: 20-21).
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