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When Sebra became aware of the coming (of what would have been, had she belonged to the chosen species,) a blessed event , and told Proudfoot about it, he snarled,"Growp." He had now learn to talk to his mate in code, and "growp" meant " I hope the cubs to grow up to be xylophone players or major generals."


It is better to explaine that the name of this story is: "The Tigress and Her Mate" came from " Discovering fiction Level 1" Sebra is a Tigress and his mate Proudfoot is a Tiger.

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I'm not sure that the parenthesis opens in the correct place. We should be able to understand the sentence outside the parenthesis in isolation.

Sebra became aware of the coming a blessed event.

This is not correct, we need the of too.

Sebra became aware of the coming of a blessed event.

This is now correctly formed.

We now need to realise that a blessed event is a euphamism, it's a roundabout, and maybe tongue-in-cheek way of saying she's pregnant. It's the sort of language used either in fun or in more restrictive times to avoid using explicit terminology.

We now qualify this by saying

When Sebra became aware of the coming of what would have been a blessed event.

Under other conditions this would have been a blessed event, but it is not a blessed event.

Note: at this stage of the explanation the example is not complete, we need to add the had she part

Sebra became aware of the coming (of what would have been, had she belonged to the chosen species,) a blessed event

I assume that chosen species means human

For a human the arrival of a baby is a blessed event. For Sera it is not a blessed event.

I can guess at two possible interpretions

Sebra became aware of the coming (of what would have been for a human) a blessed event, for her it is a problem.

Sebra became aware of the coming (of what would have been for a human, something called euphamistically) a blessed event, but for Sebra it is a simple matter of giving birth to cubs, no need for euphamisms if you are a tiger.

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When Sebra became aware of the coming (of what would have been, had she belonged to the chosen species,) a blessed event

Broken down:

Sebra became aware of the coming a blessed event

Sebra noticed that a sacred/special event was coming (something was about to happen)

IF Sebra belonged to a particular species, Sebra would become aware of the coming of a blessed event

If Sebra was of a particular species, she would notice that a sacred event was coming

IF Sebra DOES NOT belong to this particular species, Sebra would either not notice the event, or the event is not blessed.

If however, Sebra does not belong to the species, then she would either not notice the event at all or it would not be blessed to her.

The statement in the parenthesis refers to "a blessed event". Implying that she would be aware of the blessed event, IF she belonged to the species. But, since the phrasing is "of what WOULD have been a blessed event", this implies that she is not a member of this species. Since she told someone, this implies she still saw the event coming, but it wasn't sacred to her species.

  • Can we say in the other words: Sebra knew she is pregnant and If she had belonged to the chosen species it would have been sacred or blessed event to her. Lots of thanks for your answer. – Viser Hashemi Apr 5 '18 at 19:18
  • That's one interpretation, and perhaps in the context if the book it's right. However, in everyday usage humans often refer to expected births as "blessed" in an ironic way, they don't intend "sacred", rather they are almost mocking the idea that a natural process is treated so euphemistically. Yes we're happy about the coming baby, but we don't want to over-dramatise it. We can then see Sebra as viewing those human labels as rather silly. Another possibility is that for Sebra this is actually a problematic event. – djna Apr 24 '18 at 21:41

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