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Analysis and discussion speech event of “My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken,”

by: Alejandro R. Roces using Pragmatic Stylistics Approach


The story, “My Brother’s Peculiar Chicken,” by Alejandro R. Roces, focuses on Kiko’s
(narrator) chicken which looked very peculiar and caused arguments between the siblings and
between the parents. The argument started when the siblings were driving the chickens from
the cornfield. Suddenly, they heard two chickens fighting in the far end of the field.
( Paragraphs 2-6 ). Kiko emphasized that based from how his chickens fight with the other
rooster it can be concluded that it is really a rooster. Then, they began to argue on the chicken’s
physical appearance. ( Paragraph’s 9-13 ) Until one day, their mother heard their arguments
and went to see for herself. She also gave her own perception with regard to the chicken which
was also opposed by his husband. (Paragraphs 24- 34 ). So, to end the argument the family
decided to take the chicken to the teniente del barrio, chief of the village. However, to their
surprised the answer of the Chief of the village just adds up to their confusion. He can neither
affirm that it was a hen nor a rooster as he had not seen such creature; instead he said that it
must be a bird of some other kind. (Paragraphs 36- 43) To his dismay, KIko decided to consult
Mr. Eduardo Cruz, who studied poultry raising in the University of the Philippines. As Mr. Cruz
examined the chicken based on its feathers he discovered that it has both feathers of a hen and
a chicken. It was really a peculiar chicken. Therefore, he stated that he can kill the chicken and
examined it instead. But, Kiko did not agree on it. He took the chicken and went away.
( Paragraphs 50- 59 ) Finally, he thought of an idea on how to end their confusion on his
chicken. He brought his chicken to the cockpit and let if fight with a red rooster. In one lunge it
buried its spurs into its opponent’s chest and the fight was over. ( Paragraph 69 ) Finally, the
whole argument was over until the chicken began to quiver and laid an egg on Kiko’s hand.
( Paragraph 75 ).


In terms of power ( P ) , Kiko seems to be more powerful among the other

characters as he stood firmly on what he believes in, regardless of the fact that everyone seems
to have his own opinion. He is willing to do everything he can just to prove his point. He never
loses his arguments. On the other hand, the other characters seem to have their power as well
because they also hold on to what they also believed no matter what. In terms of distance ( D ),
since all the characters have deep relationship among themselves, it can be read as low. Yet,
despite the arguments made their respect from each other was never lost. Their opinions
remained focus on the peculiar chicken only. In terms of ranking ( R ) which is the degree to
which the act required of the hearer is considered an imposition and which is culturally and
determined according to situation, it is estimated to be very low. Kiko, as the main character
tried all options to prove his argument to his family. On the contrary, his family agreed to his
suggestions as they were also eager to prove to Kiko that their belief is correct. In my opinion,
each of the characters has different characteristics which made the story become more
interesting. Their arguments on whether the chicken is a hen or rooster are valid and can really
be a thought provoking concern to the readers.


The story shows some identifiable characteristics from locutionary, illocutionary

act, and perlocutionary of Austin’s Speech Act Theory.

No. Speech Acts Utterance No. Utterance/Dialogue Meaning

1 Perlocutionary Act 3 “Why, if I had a If the speaker
rooster like that, I had the option
could get rich in the to own the
cockpits.” rooster he could
have been rich.
2 Illocutionary 4 “Let’s go and catch The speaker
it.” asked his
brother to come
with him and
catch the
3 Locutionary 5 “No, you stay here, Kiko wants his
I’ll go and catch it.” brother to stay
so he could
catch the
chicken on his
4 Perlocutionary 8 “What is the matter The speaker’s
with you? Is the intention is to
heat making you change the
sick?” thoughts of the
other person by
making him
realized that his
perception is
being affected
by the weather.
5 Locutionary 28 “Have you been The speaker’s
drinking again?” words were
literal as she
was trying to
prove to his
husband that he
isn’t sure of
what he’s saying
because he had
been drinking
6 Perlocutionary 30 “Listen. I have The speaker
handled fighting intends to
roosters since I was convince or
a boy, and you affect another
cannot tell me that character’s
thing is a rooster.” thoughts
through his
7 Locutionary 45 “Oh, what’s the This is the literal
use?” meaning of the
actual words as
the argument
was pointless.
8 Illocutionary 47 “Let’s go to The effect of
downtown and see this utterance is
Mr. Cruz.” for the other
decision to
abide by what
the speaker
wants him to
9 Perlocutionary 66 “Don’t make your The wrong
hen against that red decision of the
rooster.” person whom
the speaker was
talking to with
this dialogue will
greatly affect his

The analysis attempted in this paper aimed at showing how Austin’s Speech Act
which tells that we can use the language to perform various sorts of acts such as apologize,
reject, welcome, order, request, greet and others affect the characters’ perception on what
they believed. Further, the use of language, whether literal or implied greatly affects the
actions and thoughts of a character. Thus, each of the character’s dialogue is strong enough to
prove to one another his/her own arguments.