First Elephant (Henniker)

An exotic event provides performance opportunities for a local character…

One of my favorite parts of Cogswell’s Victorian-era narrative style is the telling little details he supplies, and the many ways we can interpret them.  For example, note in the final panel how only “some” of the town’s older residents recall Bowman’s antics with pleasure.  (We can imagine others rolling their old eyes…)

That said, I wrestle with the inclusion of the supplemental site information in Panel 2.  On the one hand, it enriches the narrative by adding a layer of Cogswell’s 1880 perspective to the tale.  On the other hand, it interrupts the flow of the story early on with otherwise unrelated details.  Taking it OUT (with a “…” in its place) would allow us to focus on “Widow Atkinson” and the show going on in her barn on this particular day in 1815.  Leaving it IN reminds us of all the narrative points of view involved here, and of the continuity of local experience.

What do you think?

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