Mr. Butt

Topics: Stephen Leacock, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, Upper Canada College Pages: 5 (1988 words) Published: January 9, 2012
Stephen Butler Leacock (1869-1944) is a Canadian author. He will long be remembered for his best-selling book Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912) as well as the numerous awards and honours he received during his illustrious lifetime as author, professor, lecturer and humourist. Leacock published Literary Lapses in 1910, with the financial assistance of his brother George. It is a best-of compilation of his previously published writings. It sold out quickly and propelled Leacock into being known as one of the most popular authors in the English-speaking world. In 1911, Leacock's collection of parodies, Nonsense Novels successfully followed. 1912 saw the release of Leacock's satirical masterpiece, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Based on his many summers spent in Orillia, Ontario and other childhood experiences, it was very popular in Canada, the United States and England. His sanitization of city life, Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich, was published in 1914. And in 1915 the book “Moonbeams From the Larger Lunacy”. And it was a success. This book includes 17 parts. There are short stories that deal with real life of the author. It also includes the story “Afternoon Adventures At My Club”. And I am going to give a detailed characterization of the main character of its 9th chapter, “The Hallucination of Mr. Butt”, Mr. Butt. Stephen Leacock is famous for his brilliant ability to portray characters that represent different types of contemporary people. The characters he describes still exist nowadays, so we should collect the pieces of wisdom which he covered with his gleaming humour. And in this chapter we met an old man who used to come to the author’s club, as many of men did. But he was not the ordinary man, so that is why the author told us about him. We learn about Mr. Butt from the author’s direct commentary at the beginning and though his own appearance, actual speech, behavior and actions during the chapter. I am going analyze his personality through his speech in detail and touch upon his appearance, behavior and actions in brief. To begin with, I’d like to comment on the name Mr. Butt. It is closely charged with connotation, as the word “butt” in defined as ” to hit or push against with the head or horns” in dictionaries. But I guess that the most interesting and appropriate connotation in our case is the definition of the phrasal verb “to butt in”: “to interfere or meddle in other people's affairs”. And I think that is what all this character is about. And there is also an interesting fact about this word. As soon as the story was published and read by a number of people the word “butt” get another meaning: “a person or thing that is an object of wit, ridicule, sarcasm, contempt, etc.” as the author treated his character with concealed irony and sarcasm. I’d translate the name “Mr. Butt” as «Мистер Затычка»into Russian. He was all around those who never needed his help, but he “insisted”. Such a name surely reflects his character which can be named “I-care-about-you-and-only-I-know-what-is-good-for-you”. Such a connotation of this person describes us all the way this man lived. We expect him to be a person who cared about everyone else’s business as much as he could. The chapter meets our mere expectations, and his name is in accord with his personality. Through the chapter we see Mr. Butt with the author’s eye, but he gives us his direct commentary only at the beginning. From what the author tells us about Mr. Butt, we realize that “at whatever cost of time and trouble to him” he helped people and even “insisted on helping them along”. The author also underlines the beaming face of Mr. Butt with his unstoppable eagerness “to some sort of benevolence”. All this draws a picture of a very thoughtful, exceptionally kind and sunny eager beaver, who should be a God’s gift to all the people he met. But it’s common knowledge that too much pudding will choke a dog. And if we read the author’s remarks more...
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