The Petite Little Chicken

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(1) His life began when Pedro was still inside the shell of his egg. His egg was laid by by his mom around the second week of January of 1999.

(2) One of the mysteries there is in this community of chickens in one of the farms of Batangas is the speedy process of hatching an egg. The normal process would took it around 6 days for a mother to care, to nurture, and to sit on their eggs to give them warmth. But the process of egg hatching in this chicken community takes only less than a day to hatch an egg! More than this, it is really a big mystery why these little chicks would not be pre-mature little chickens, instead they would be of their best kind.

(3) Before the sun even sets that day, Pedro was still in his egg and he was ever more ready to meet and greet the real world. With this much readiness and confidence built upon him, he forcefully kicked the egg shell he was in with his two tiny little chicken feet until it first laid on the warm ground. With much effort, he tried to push the egg shell with his tiny little feathers to break open the egg he was in.The egg had cracked and thus he was free! He was free, all alive, and nevertheless, restless. But what is important for him was freedom. He was now free! This point had begun his journey as a young little chicken chick.

(4) Pedro’s mother was never there when he hatched from his egg. In fact, he was all alone and there was no one there to witness his first sight of the big world out there. He was alone. All alone.

(5) But where was the mother hen?

(6) This state of freedom has caused our little chick hero to be more and more curious. He ventured a little, explored the farm, met other farm animals such as the cows who would greet him with a loud moo, the pigs who would greet him with a clumsy oink, and even the ducks swimming in the lake who would greet him an irritating quack!

(7) His curiosity got the best of him and thought that his little size would be able to swim the deep lakes in the farm, just like a duck would. He thought that he could do anything that any farm animal can, particularly like a duck.

(8) “Oh I have no problem being like a duck,” Pedro said to himself with a darn quack sound he tried to make, but all that came out from his little beak was a chirp. “The duck clan has been my kin’s long lost ancestors.”

(9) So Pedro tried to be a duck by swimming the deep dangerous waters of the farm lake. He paddled his little chicken feet thinking they were webbed like a duck’s that could allow him to swim easily. He followed the mother duck with all her ducklings following her. She was teaching her baby ducks how to swim, especially in the deeper waters. Pedro tried to follow them thinking he had the capability to be a good swimmer.

(10) As he approached the deeper parts of the water, he started sinking and could no longer follow the ducks. “Wait? What?” he thought as he starts to drown. “I thought I could do whatever a duck can? But they look so similar to me?”

(11) He tried screaming for help as loud as he can so that someone could help him. But no one can hear him in agony. It only took the little chick less than ten seconds before his life was taken away by the dangerous waters.

*Paragraph numbers were intentionally added so that citation of textual details would be easier when it comes to the analysis of the text. 

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Analysis of “The Petite Little Chicken”

“The Petite Little Chicken” is not an essay (that’s definitely clear). It is rather a short story on realistic fiction. Note also that it is not a fairy tale because if it was so, I should have begun my story with “Once upon a time, there was a chick named Pedro…”. It is important that the mode of the story is clarified as of now because the story’s plots, setting, conflict, and other elements of fiction is reflected upon the mode.

Like all of us when we were born, Pedro undergoes the process of being born. All of us had the process when we underwent the process of being born. Man and woman engages in sex, woman becomes pregnant and will nurture the child inside her womb for about nine months. Same with Pedro, although it was vague how the mother hen really laid the egg, when there was no sexual intercourse that had happened. But so, that is not the main point here. It is up to the reader now to know how the usual hen and rooster makes their babies in real life, but I tell you that it does not really matter here.

Take the “shell of the egg” from Paragraph 1. There was an analogy that Pedro, as a chick inside the egg, is compared to a baby (or fetus while inside the mother’s womb). The egg (or the shell, in anyway you look at it) symbolizes the mother womb. So that in Paragraph 3, when Pedro became free from the egg, the baby actually becomes free from his mother’s womb (in real life).

Setting. Does it really matter in this text? This was written on 2014, but the year used was 1999. It was a year before the second millenium. The mysteries of the chicken community from Paragraph 2 is something of the unreal and to make it appear more that it really was unreal, I set the story on a time of the year far from the year it was written. There is this notion that the past is different from the present/future. And by setting the time of the year to a a year that was far from the present time, there might be a notion to think that maybe this thing really could have happened before. (“Trying to make the unreal real”).

January is a time of the year when the cool weather from Christmas season gradually merges with the warm and hot seasons of the nearing what we call “summer”. Placing January as the month would make it fine therefore. It is setting the “average”. Does it matter if it was the first or second week? Yes, it does. I let the setting to be the second week of January so that the first week of January could be used as a break from the New Year hangover that almost all of us experience. Let that first week be a rest before trying to continue with work.

Batangas? Being a proud Filipino, I would like to write works whose setting is most probably in the Philippines. And I let Batangas be this local setting. Why Batangas and not some other place like Bulacan or Quezon? Batangas is my home province. But it doesn’t really matter. You could substitute Batangas with any other place, most probably your province in the Philippines if you wish. Remember that it has to be (1) in the Philippines, and (2) your home province. If you have nothing to replace there, better not replace it anymore. Does it really matter? It was only mentioned in the story once. You should think about that, critical reader!

Paragraph 2 of the story describes the mysterious chicken community there in in the farm. But is it really the mystery of the quick process of hatching the egg? Or is it a bigger mystery of the existence of this chicken community? Throughout the text, it did not mention the existence of that chicken community or any other chicken. It was just Pedro was mentioned. Not even his mother was present. That’s why in Paragraph 5, “But where was the mother hen?” The transition of Paragraph 4 to 6 was separated by this paragraph, although if you would notice, the story would still make sense if this was removed. Paragraph 5 is an important filler that would somewhat shape the reader’s critical reading skills. I still wonder if you have questioned about the existence of this chicken community or was it that you focused more on Pedro, as a chick?

This is a probable illusion after all. Maybe it was not really a chicken community after all (or was this chicken community too ignorant on Pedro?) The mystery of the fast egg-hatching process was not the big mystery after all, but the existence of the chicken community. The former became an illusion to the readers that it was the complication of the story, but was actually not. So what’s the connect? In mankind, think about the government. This is the chicken community in the story. Yes, it exists, but is the government really there to help the simplest of the simple man (the small Pedro in this case). The such simple farm story was actually a reflection of what government the Philippines really has.

In addition to the government there is, the story also describes as Pedro as being “all alone” (from Paragraph 4). It was such an illusion that you think that someone is always there for you, but in the actuality, there really wasn’t. Pedro had no friends. The ducks were never his friends. No one even dared to save and rescue him in the time of his greatest need. Pedro really had no friends. The ducks as “friends” were one of his greatest illusions. So if you know someone who is really alone, offer your hand in friendship. There might be a reason for his “all alone” moments.

Going back to the drowning moment of Pedro, no one dared to save him (Paragraph 11). The chicken community was not just the government, but the entire farm after all! You think that there is someone out there to help you but there was none after all.

In Paragraph 5, we have learned to question something that is rather hard to answer. “But where is the mother hen?” It is one of those questions where you have to think critically and even ponder for some time before you could even get an answer. Was this question answered throughout the text? Nope, it wasn’t. But the more critical point here is not about the location of where the mother hen really was, rather it is about asking questions that have either no answers or questions that are hard to answer. In the timeline of our life, this is the time we learn about Logic and Reasoning (also in Pedro’s timeline as a chicken). We learn to pose questions that are too difficult to answer, or even questions that have no answer, say “Why does man exist?” or “How do we go on living?”

In Paragraph 3, there is a strike through on the word “chicken”, and instead replaced with the word “chick”. This is my playfulness/nimbleness as an author. It is always important that amidst work or something serious, we must learn to continue to smile and laugh at things. It is our probable time to take a break. But this strikethrough also has something in there. It also foresees the death of Pedro suddenly coming. Pedro was born as a chick, and dies a chick as well. Where’s the life of a chicken there? He did not even reach adulthood.

With Pedro’s life as shortlived, maybe that could also be compared to man. We are all born and we will eventually die, no matter how long we lived our lives. With this shortlived life of Pedro, maybe this might also be the answer to the “mystery” that was presented in Paragraph 2 that the hatching process of eggs were shorter. The chick was shortlived. Therefore, egg-hatching process must also be short. We only live for once, let us not waste this life. Let us live it to the fullest. Let us not be hasty about our decisions because a wrong decision could eventually lead to so many chains of consequences.

The final six paragraphs (Paragraphs 6-11) focused much about the plot that Pedro thinks that he could be a duck. He thought that he could be a duck because he thought that there is a close relation between a chicken and a duck. And there you go, he drowned.

What does this imply? This somehow reflects about what I said earlier, that we must not make hasty decisions because it could lead to a chain of consequences. These hasty decisions is an effect of making hasty judgments – hasty generalizations perhaps (it is a fallacy, according to “Love is a Fallacy” by Max Shulman). With these hasty decisions caused by hasty judgments, we tend to make more and more mistakes, and eventually, we fall apart.

The story, short and simple as it was, presented many critical points and life lessons there was. How about the title? Let’s look at it closer. There may seem some redundancy in there. It’s already a petite, and yet, it’s also little. The simplest of the simple, Pedro was ignored by the society he lived in. So, the petite little could mean that the smallest of the small there in. Redundancy here is intended to thoroughly emphasize the type of character Pedro is. Why was it not “The Petite Little Chick”? Why was it a chicken and not a chick? Using “chick” in this context would cause the reader’s point of view on Pedro to be lowest of low, as if he was the lowest class there is in the society. And it was like saying that Pedro had nothing, that he had no skill, no talent. But we must always think that each and everyone of us was given a talent/skill that we could use to enhance/shape ourselves into and that we must utilize it well. Given that we have something special in us, I think that Pedro deserves something special within himself as well. And that by calling him a “chicken” instead of a “chick” from the title gives him some “special” aspect. And it is up to you, reader, what special aspect Pedro has.

Indeed, there are a lot of subtle details hidden within the text. Now, I’ll really let the reader do the thinking this time. How many times have you read “petite” from the text (excluding the title and the analysis portion)? Explain why is this so.

-Royalle

Date of Post: 03.07.14

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