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Analysis of 'The Return of the Moon Man'

It is a very curious text that combines Science fiction and ballads, children literature and folk sagas with a curious , unexpected ending containing highly ironical elements.

The prevailing style in the short story is between a chronicle and a fairy tale with unpredictable irresistibly funny details such as the very first words pronounced by the Moon Man as soon as he takes off his helmet 'Bit my tongue when we landed sudden , [...] And that is why I say they can have their old Moon. Back to Golders Green by the first train it is for me.'.The reader would expect such a language from the butcher next door, not certainly from a Man embodying Explorations in his very person! This anti-climax feature is present all over the text to underline the oddity and the cruelty of the apparently 'normal' familiar situation, no matter where and when. But it also does justice to all the stratagems used in Science Fiction to capture the reader, introducing the life in a small Welsh farm as a counterpart to the supposedly immense horizons which open in an expedition to the Moon. Even a backward, stubborn 80-year-old Welsh farmer with no previous preparation can go to the Moon!

The language accordingly combines everyday slang 'Gone. [...] Clean as a whistle', 'Well, there is sly for you' with more literary constructions that have the taste of by-gone ages 'Wonderful it was', 'Huge it was' 'Damp, the nunnery looked'. Sometimes it is factual and direct 'I tell you all this that you may know that we of Pen-y-Craig are not ...' or 'We are in touch with modern thought'. In other parts it shows the characteristics of jokes 'The weather was bad, or someone's auntie died, or there was an eclipse.' as if the three elements were to be put on the same level of everyday life. Words belonging to agriculture or work mix with technical or scientific terms, e.g. 'spanner', 'chopper', 'tractor' and 'space-ship', 'rocket' or combined together in a highly ironical mixture 'atomic cooker'. The space-ship crashes with a noise 'as though someone had picked up all our milk churns'. A plain 'scientific' explanation, 'It's just that the sun is shining on the other side of it' contrasts with evocative language, 'Like a shooting star he will fall, and like a shooting star he will cease to be' or the defensive wall created by popular wisdom, 'And, if the sun is shining, run up Snowdon barefoot I will, like the mad woman of Aberdaron'.

The use of direct dialogue and narrative parts seems to be suitable to the figure of the narrator, Bronwen, a little girl then, who deeply participates in the events but also detaches from them using the instrument of irony and directing the reader through the paths she has decided for him. (see Focus)

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