chapter  4
22 Pages

The Oral and the Writtenin the ‘Taffy’ Stories

In the previous chapter I noted with respect to Kipling’s Just So Stories, that while the play with language in these tales is noted by critics, it recedes into the background in the face of the focus on Kipling’s biography. What is lost to criticism therefore is any serious analysis of how the stories may be read as discussing ideas about language. In this chapter, then, I will be concentrating on how the ‘Taffy’ stories may, by contrast, be read as claiming that ‘the fine old easy understandable Alphabet – A, B, C, D, E, and the rest of ’em’2 – enables us to ‘always say exactly what we mean without any mistakes’3 while at the same time undermining that claim.