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Transcript of Sentry
Prezi by Leyla
Summary by Shadi
Literary devises by Eyuel
Irony: Irony was used when the readers were led on to believe that the point of view of the story was told from the aliens but was later revealed to be narrated from the point of view of a human watching the humans.
Imagery: Imagery was used to describe the setting and mood of the story, it was also used to describe the physical appearance of the "alien".
Repetition: Repetition was used once in the short story when the protagonist described how the protagonist was feeling in the beginning of the story and towards the end
Setting by Shadi
Protagonist by Leyla
In the story Sentry, the protagonist seems to the narrator or in other words the voice of the story. But in my opinion since the story is more about the war that we are battering against each other and about the fact that it's very inhuman how we are killing each other to solve our problems or to at least try to find a solution, there is no true protagonist in this story. You may think that this is not because in every story there has to be a conflict and every conflict has a pro and a con side, but when we are looking at a story like this one we have to step back and really think about what's actually happening, is it a fight humans against aliens, or is it something else?
Authors tone by Leyla
Does he strive to get our sympathy?
Why is the author explaining the things in the story the way he is? What is his author's perspective on the story?
I think that the author is trying to make the audience feel pity for the soldier. In his first sentence " He was wet and muddy and hungry and cold and he was fifty thousand light years from home " the author obviously trying to make the audience feel pity for him. He wants us to side with him. But why? Because the author want to make us understand what the main character is going through. He wants us to pity the main character so we can connect with him. It's crucial that we are able to connect with the main character because that's the only way the author can be sure that his message gets to his audience
Conflict by Leyla
Although the main conflict might seem that it involves about the main character fighting alien to save humanity from total destruction and cause. The main conflict of the story sentry involve the idea of our society. The point of view has a big affect on the story's conflict. Everything depends on the way you look at the story. In my opinion the central conflict of the story is character vs society.
Character vs characters
Character vs character is, or in other words, the "outer conflict". This is the conflict that is obvious to the story and we as the audience see right away. This type of conflict is portrayed with a war setting that includes humans and "aliens".
Character vs society
Character vs society is the inner more deep conflict in the story. This conflict is a but harder to find because you really need to think more in depth on where this conflict is situated. As we talked about the in the literary devises, the story sentry is basically one big metaphor. Everything has a deeper meaning that is actually is portrayed to be or to be seen as. The central conflict of sentry is character vs society because the plot of the story is actually about the constant battle that we have between humans. It's about how we kill each other to solve our problems and it's about the way we treat each other, like monsters. We kill each other, we kidnap each other, we destroy each other. We are monsters.
Irony by Shadi
Plot diagram by Eyuel
Title by Shadi
The title of Sentry is not meant to foreshadow or create irony but instead meant to add anticipation and importance via mention of an important location in the story. As in the context from how the word “sentry” is used in the story, it is clear they are referring to a guardhouse sentry, which, by definition is:
“A guardhouse (also known as a watch house, guard building, guard booth, guard shack, security booth, security building, or sentry building) is a building used to house personnel and security equipment. Guardhouses have historically been dormitories for sentries or guards, and places where sentries not posted to sentry posts wait "on call", but are more recently manned by a contracted security company. Some guardhouses also function as jails.”
This “sentry” however, due to the fact there are implications that the “aliens” in the story are being exterminated upon invasion, it is very likely the guardhouses are also being guarded by “sentry people” which are defined as:
noun: sentry; plural noun: sentries
a soldier stationed to keep guard or to control access to a place.
synonyms:guard, sentinel, lookout, watch, watchman, patrol
"the sentry on the tower signaled to the gatekeeper"
Despite the fact that the military style of sentries we as humans are aware of, the ideas displayed in the story are definitively the same. The meaning of putting Sentry as the title and giving it the significance it seems to have gives this story that of a patriotic feeling for the side of the protagonist and the army and government for which he fights for.
However, despite the patriotism given by the emphasis of “protection of their sentries”, the title (due to the context) is a symbol of struggle to the army and their fight against the humans. In the story, the humans are planning, and effectively dominating their enemies by conquering every planet in their way, but also the enemy sentries. With the aforementioned definitions of the word sentry, it is clear that minus these buildings any army in war will likely perish quickly since these stations carry essentials. Now since these sentries are on the protagonist side and we are hearing of the protagonist sides struggle to protect these sentries ( thus the casualties and destruction of goods) we can conclude that the title is trying to be a symbol. That symbol, of course, is that of the sheer idea of struggle. In this sense, it does add much meaning to this otherwise miserably short story.
On the case of foreshadowing, since it is a singular word, it has no ability to foreshadow as we cannot even know the meaning/usage of singular word without context.
Exposition:telling us about the environment and how the character fells wet,muddy,hungry and cold and how the character is on a weird planet with a blue sun
Initial incident:The explanation of the war by the narrator.
Rising action: The protagonist describes his encounter with the "aliens" as well as his job to do as soldier. The soldier sees the alien crawling towards him.
Climax: When the soldier kills the alien that was crawling towards him.
Falling action: The protagonist shudders at how he will never get used to the sight of them and how cruel and hideous they are.it really shows how the protagonist despises the aliens very much.
Resolution: The protagonist describes the appearance of the alien and describes it as human. You start to understand that the alien wasn't an alien but a another human being and it shows how we are always thinking about our own well being that we don't see how others can be affected by our mistakes
Sentry is a story of a member of an alien (compared to human) army in battle on a strange planet far, far, far away from his own. Whilst trekking the planet in hunt for hostile “aliens” he describes to us the >10 000 year intergalactic war with his species and the aliens. He stated that for 10 000 years, after the “aliens” colonized 12 000 planets for conquest over them, his species tried to make peaceful contact near the current setting, the center of the galaxy. However, the “aliens” displayed hostility and attacked the aliens and began to invade their sentries, of which the protagonist is currently defending. After his monologue and upon his readying his gun and contemplating life, he saw one of these “aliens” crawling and struggling towards him, to which his response was to fire a bead of ammunition at (likely towards the stomach, neck or chest). As the “alien” was wailing as he died, the soldier expressed his disgust for the sheer noises made by the enemy and, in turn, giving the dead enemy a physical description of which turned out to be human.
Sentry is a story with a vague setting that maneuvers around providing too much detail as so it will not ruin the impact it has on the audience. Sentry takes place in a galaxy of which is probably the Milky Way Galaxy. Furthermore, the specific conflict in Sentry is that of one planet ( specifically a muddy one of a network of colonized planets around a spectral class O sun providing excruciating gravity (a blue sun). Among these planets (either planted to or orbiting around) there are also stations known as Sentry’s of which, despite lack of detail of significance, location and size, play an integral role in the setting of the story. What really makes the setting of Sentry quite unique and mind boggling is the fact that the plot twist in the final sentence of the story will completely change the perception of the setting to the audience. As the homo-sapien species, we, naturally, assume that anything labeled alien in a story must be antagonistic, thus, we often assume that of an “alien” or “distant” setting. However, when the creature labeled “alien” is given a human physical description, and when it is revealed that they are also the only other intelligent race in the galaxy, it is clear humans aren’t far from homw. With these new facts in mind, the probability of this being the Milky Way galaxy, or these creatures coming from a planet we colonized is far more likely.
If there was a most ironic short story of the year award, Sentry would likely win the award. We aren’t even exaggerating here. Sentry is a story that is ironic on a literal and metaphorically interplanetary galactic level.
Not only this, but, this short story in its glorious half page life, has all three forms of irony within it as well (situational, dramatic). The cases of irony are listed as follows:
The Situational Irony:
The situational irony is how he talks about the human “aliens” in contrast to his treatment of the struggling infantry. The instance is evident in the two following excerpts.
“The aliens, the only other intelligent race in the Galaxy...cruel, hideous and repulsive monsters.”
“Contact had been made with them near the center of the Galaxy, after the slow, difficult colonization of a dozen thousand planets; and it had been war at sight; they’d shot without even trying to negotiate, or to make peace”
“And then he saw one of them crawling toward him. He drew a bead and fired. The alien made that strange horrible sound they all make, then lay still.”
In the first two sentences, of which were stated far earlier in the story prior to the kill, the foot soldier complains of how these creatures are excruciatingly cruel and they’d shoot his species upon notice without negotiation or discussion with them. Despite this complaint of savagery towards the humans, the foot soldier still proceeds to shoot a (likely unarmed) struggling human foot soldier without negotiation or discussion. This is where the situational irony is created. Despite the fact we can never affirm that the foot soldier would’t be hostile towards the human, this cold kill is definitely contrasting his beliefs, thus, it is an incident of situational irony.
The Dramatic Irony:
The dramatic irony of Sentry is essentially the existence of the story and practically the entire plot itself is a dramatic irony. This happens since the writer, Frederick Brown, tricks us this entire story that we are listening to the narrator’s testimony of the struggles of an alien (extra-terrestrial) species that attacked us. But then, at the end of the story, he reveals that the entire time, the HUMAN species were the “alien” group in the quote where the alien describes our physical appearance. This dramatic irony only works as “dramatic” irony due to the fact that only us readers (whom of which are of the human species) would look at humans as non-alien as opposed to everyone else. Since we are expecting a human side the entire story and by the end, the author reveals that he is (along with side protagonist) unaware of who humans are other than “alien lifeforms” with “no scales” and “only two arms and two legs” makes an irony only humans outside the 4Th wall can understand. Furthermore, this final revelation of a statement creates another sub level of irony as we humans would never describe our own appearance as “putrid”, “repulsive”, or “weird”, however, the protagonist side thinks this not knowing it all to be ironic since, of course, we know more than the protagonist side does.
So in conclusion, the breaking of conventions of standard story perspective, viewpoint and main species made the short story of sentry an ironic statement in itself.
But, it’s safe to say, the characters in it probably will never realist it.
The theme of the story is that the author portrayed war to be absurd. We are our own monsters and we create our own monsters.
Narrator by Leyla
The narration in the story sentry is told from the 3rd person and it's ominous
The point of view is told as if we were looking thru a screen, and example of the is at the beginning of the story when the narrator says " he was wet and muddy and hungry and cold and he was fifty thousand light years from home". The reader is able to see everything that is happening. As the story continues we notice that the narration and the point of view becomes bias. Well it's actually always been like that, it becomes clear that the narrator sides with the soldier.