Stanley Stewart's "From the Empire of Genghis Khan" is a highly inspiring travel writing filled with hilarious plots vividly portrayed in chronological, fully-detailed, easily followed events. The extract is about a "Mongolian Wedding" which Stewart attended. The extract is very precise as Stewart uses time keywords in chronological order such as "Throughout the evening", "In the morning", "By mid afternoon" and "At four o'clock" at the beginning of each paragraph making it easy for readers to follow up and relate to the story effectively. He first shows the reader a hint about the Mongolian people he met with; they are "unpredictable", "boisterous" and "could be as bad as the next fellow they warn him about". He then mentions cultural traditions in Mongolian weddings such as the groom searching for his bride under a bed of one of the neighboring gers, the preparation of the bride's family for the bridal breakfast and the groom's family for the evening feast; that indicates that each family is both trying to show their excessive generosity, care and luxury to the other family. In addition to that, he shows that it was a custom for the sisters of the bride to serve both families with liquor and to make sure that everyone from the bride to the furthest guest are at their absolute comfort and satisfaction.
Every Mongolian guest was supposed to give out a song related to weddings even the shyest of them all would have no problem in reciting as the others will accompany him / her later on in the following verses. Another tradition was that each guest had to drink as least three bowls of air ag. Stewart successfully maintained the reader's interest to the matter by using an immense method for ridiculing strange traditions or reactions or by the aid of thriving language devices no to mention in compare to the Western culture. As for his comedic tone and great sense of humour, Stewart described every incident in full-detailed ironic manner. First he gave a light hearted comment how the old Russian truck carrying hordes of wedding guests was the equivalent of the wedding Rolls Ricer back in his hometown.
Then he ridiculed the idea behind letting the groom pretend he is searching for his bride when her hiding place is previously distinguished! He clearly expressed the extent of the uninviting and unappetizing state the breakfast meal was; "slabs of white cheese", "boiled sweets were arrayed in dizzy layers" and "a mountainous plate of sheep parts". He also described the delay of the guests with the couple in the Russian truck in the form of an algebraic problem by "concerning the number of miles to the bride's ger, divided by the speed of the truck combined with the probable duration of the breakfast, and finally multiplied by the estimated consumption of ark hi". This must be very hilarious. He also used irony as a tool in his story when he mentioned the "poster of the national wrestling champion, Batard en" on the wall which acted as a prophecy at what was about to come in the wedding!
Stewart also used phrases that indicated extra humour by adding army diction which is quite the contrary of a wedding story that should be romantic. Words such as "lookouts", "posted"", camps", "opposing enemies" and "tent" which causes the story to seem serious in an abnormal way. As for figures of speech, Stewart used each device effectively in its proper occasion. He likened the separation and indifference of the two families with the metaphor "looking like the hour on the Tokyo Subway".
Stewart was very elaborately amusing in the way he exaggerated things and described a few guests in the wedding. He said that the way the fat bride's mother went down from the truck as if landing on "Terra Firma", which is quite laughable. He compared the groom's brother with "Lenin", a Russian rebellion in both his appearance of the pointy unique hat and the pointed beard as well as his character such as being expressive in his speeches making him sounds as if he were an important person in a revolution when he says "We will drink! We will feast! We will sing!" As for the groom's brother in law, he looked like a proprietorial small-town manage banker with brimmed hat acting in a very boastful manner. He forced Stewart to have his personal horse and any goods he desired for his long travel.
In the bride's family, there were two of her brothers: one who was a delicate singer and the other a violent character with a "pencil moustache, brad-brimmed hat and handsome chiselled features". Stewart humorously thought that he was fit for "playing Wyatt Earp in a remake of "Gunfight"!" Stewart also amused us through his wrong selected song for the wedding which he made the translator fool the guests with its lyrics so as not to cause troubles as the song was about a doomed marriage; not the right occasion! Even though the song passed smoothly, chaos was still lurking by the wedding. One of the bride's sisters decided to rise and the rest of the family signalled their leave then the groom's family forced them to stay. Apparently the forcing with smiles turned into a bloody fight between "Grannies, uncles and aunts"! Stewart described it as "a sudden braw" however the readers would tend to feel that the fight was a bit of an exaggeration.
The two parties suddenly stopped and switched from deadly fight to extreme laughter with no compromises in between. The fight turned out to be a form of redemption as all things turned right and a swift of loving warmth prevailed. To add more absurdity, Stewart said that the fiasco could have been due to the excessive drinking of liquor which made them act frantically. I truly admire this travel piece written by Stewart.
I find that he beautifully portrayed the wedding through his highly descriptive style and cinematic events and above all his brilliantly breath-taking plots. However, to be totally honest, even though the extract is quite stunning in many ways, I do find that there is a lot of euphemism. The story may have not mocked the Mongolian culture but on the other hand certain words or phrases may be considered offensive or unpleasant. On the whole, Stewart succeeded to entertain a reader through his massive and talented way of writing linking between embroidery and facts.