The Appointment in Samarra and The Nine Billion Names of God: Similarities and Differences

Pages: 4 (1475 words) Published: March 19, 2013
Gage Moss
English 1302
Proper morals
“The Appointment in Samarra” and “The Nine Billion Names of God”, at first glance, seem to be dissimilar and unrelated, but under further investigation you will find many similarities as well as many differences. Such as in “The Appointment in Samarra” there is a huge twist of irony making the story seem less serious and more comedic. These two short stories have very similar morals to their story as well, and these morals should be taken in to consideration in everyday life.

“The Appointment in Samarra” is a story death is telling us, and it is actually rather humorous. He, Death, is standing in a market place watching the crowd when he discovers a servant whom he has an appointment with tonight in Samarra. Death is surprised by this and gives the man a “start of surprise” which the servant takes as a threatening gesture. The servant now thinks he is going to die. Hoping to avoid death the servant goes to his master and requests a horse so he may then flee to Samarra. His master complies with his wishes. The master then pays death a visit in the market place and asks him why death made a threatening gesture to his servant. Death says, “That was no threatening gesture, just a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.” This is the huge twist in the story giving it that humorous tone because this is very ironic. The servant in the story was scheduled to die, and he thought he was going to cheat death by fleeing the city. Yet to his dismay death is meeting him in Samarra that night. The moral of the story is that death cannot be cheated, and you should not try to change the outcome of an event because you may just make things worse.

In “The Nine Billion Names of God” a group of Tibetan monks want to buy a computer from a company run by a man by the name of Dr. Wagner. This computer, the Mark V, will sequence their alphabet—that they...
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