Critique of Essay “Franken-Frogs and the Mushroom Bear”

Thomas LaBrie’s essay is a perfect illustration of how we learn from our mistakes particularly those committed when we are still youthful and obsessed with our own thoughts. LaBrie has managed to show how hastiness often characterized by a serious lack of a sense of moderation and second thought with regard to what a young person wants to do can subject them to serious and regrettable dangers.

He has chosen his words well to bring out the picture of what they were engaging in on that day and how their adventure ended up in the froggin sites.

His essay begins in a manner that arouses curiosity in the readers. He starts his story by making a phone call from his best friend Marvin who wanted to know if he could accompany him to a froggin’ mission later that night.

This opening paragraph together with the title of the story acts to arouse curiosity in the readers who would not only want to find out what froggin’ is and what it entails but also what “Franken-frogs and mushroom bear” was all about.

His style of opening up a story makes the reader want to continue reading the story in order to find out what transpired during that night. It also makes the reader to be keener in his or her following the storyline so as to understand what the writer is talking about so that it is only after you have carefully read the story you can understand the title of the story.

Thus even if you are a native Cajun and you are well versed with the Cajuns way of life, the title surely leaves you with the natural reader’s desire of finding out what a story with an interesting title is all about. Thomas LaBrie’s story has a puzzling title that is so powerful thereby deserving the reader’s full attention.

Froggin’ is a common practice among the Cajun people whose diet comprises of frogs Fry and Posner (399).Mae observes that apart from being a time of harvesting sugarcane, Fall Harvest is a time of year for festivals and cerebrations honoring crops, food, music and a festival known as Mr. Frog (Monsieur Grenouille) (210).

Mr. Frog revolves around a native legend of a chef known as Donat Pucheu who is said to have started selling juicy delicious bulldogs from Rayne to New Orleans. Rayne is to be found in Louisiana Cajun plains and was in fact named world’s Frog capital during the 1940’s after the townspeople held a frog derby Mae (210).

Therefore froggin’ is part and parcel of the people of Cajun to the extent that they have set aside a day to celebrate frogs which is a part of tender diet as illustrated above. Thomas LaBrie explains that froggin’ is Cajun term for catching bulldogs (1). He further elucidates that they (bullfrogs) can be caught with a gig or bare hand but real Cajuns detests being caught giggin so that most of froggin’ is done with bare hands Thomas LaBrie (1).

The fact that frogs are important components of the Cajun’s way of life is in perfect harmony with Thomas LaBrie’s claims that Marvin spent most of his time doing outdoor activities such as huntin’, fishin’, Froggin’ or shrimpin’.It is shows how dear froggin’ must have been to Marvin because it was an integral part of his way of life. It thus gave his life a lot of meaning apart from keeping him busy.

Before narrating how their mission went on that night, Thomas LaBrie vividly describes other events that took place before embarking on the froggin’ mission that night thereby making the story to be more engaging and interesting especially for someone who is not conversant with froggin’.All this keeps the reader waiting to find out more about the franken-frogs and mushroom bear thus making him or her continue reading the story.

Before getting into the details of their froggin mission that night with his friend Marvin, Thomas LaBrie explains clearly what froggin’ is and what it entails among the people called Cajuns. This gives the reader especially one who is not conversant with Cajuns’ way of life a head start in understanding what froggin entails.

It is not uncommon for people get obsessed with certain things or habits which become part and parcel of their lives. Some ends up becoming their hobbies and even an important source of their livelihood with time.

However, youthful obsession with a certain thing can and in fact leads to crazy engagements which can in life have adverse consequences on their lifes as well as those close to them like their parents, relatives and friends. In this story Marvin has a strong mania for froggin’ so much so that so that he spends most of his time doing it.

During the night of the date mentioned here he managed to entice his friend Thomas LaBrie into one of his night froggin missions who since he was bored and had nothing to do eagerly joined his best friend hopefully in search of something that would make his day. As they prepared to leave for the adventure apart from the headlights they carried along to enable them see the frogs they did not put in place tangible protective measures that they would use in case of any eventuality once in the froggin’ sites.

Marvin’s scenario of the mushroom bear as described is terrifying especially upon imagining what would have been the case in the event it turned out that it was not an imaginary bear. They would terribly hurt themselves as well as other people who are close to them like their parents and friends. Thomas LaBrie’s explanation of the experience is once again engaging and interesting to a keen reader. He uses words that make the reader believe that something terrible was about to struck the two buddies.

Describing how Marvin ran for his dear life, he says “He cleared the levee and crossed the canal over to my side in the brink of an eye…” (p.3). This perfectly creates the impression of someone who was running with the speed of a lightening and whose adrenaline was at its maximum in the face of deadly danger. The description of Marvin’s scenario is itself creatively crafted in a way that not unless you continue reading the essay you can not tell what Marvin had encountered.

Even though it was all imagination the way Thomas describes their encounters that night enables the reader to understand his claims that the zealousness of their youthfulness had made them ignorant of the dangers they were risking despite the fun they looked forward to having. Yet at the same time he manages to show that they had a great adventure especially upon on learning that there was nothing like the evil bear that Marvin imagined to have seen when he saw a possum.

Works Cited

Fry, Macon and Posner, Julie. Cajun Country Guide. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 1999. Print.

LaBrie, Thomas. Franken-Frogs and the Mushroom Bear. New York: ABE Books, 2003. Print.

Mae, Eula D. Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen: Cooking Through the Seasons on Avery Island: Easy read. London: Sage, 2010. Print.