were beginning to shoot at jackals
The sportsmen never saw a tiger, nor did they shoot anything else, though they saw number of deer, peacock, and wild board. They were giving up all hope of finding a tiger, and were beginning to shoot at jackals, when Grandfather, strolling down the forest path at some distance from the rest of the party, discovered a little tiger about eighteen inches long, hiding among the intricate roots of a banyan tre. Grandfather picked him up, and brought him home after the camp had broken up. He had the distinction of being the only member of the party to have bagged any game, dead or alive.
Now, new doubt struck on my mind. In the first red line, the author says the hunters did not shoot anything but the violet line shows they did shoot jackal.
So, I got confused.
Could you help me?
Re: were beginning to shoot at jackals
1. The prevalent tone in this section is irony. (Does the narrator really think of tourists with guns as "sportsmen"? Does he think of bagging the only tiger - a little one - as a "distinction"?)
2. Notice that the authors uses "shoot" in two different ways:
a) "shoot anything else": shoot + direct object
b) "shooting at jackals": shoot + prepositional phrase
The first usage means "to hunt with a gun". The second means "to aim and shoot in the direction of".
Notice how the "sportsmen" (remember the irony) are not interested in deer, peacocks or boars. They want to shoot fierce beasts, like tigers. Jackals are predators, but they're not dangerous. "Shooting at jackals" is a sign of bored frustration. We don't know if anyone killed a jackal, but I doubt anyone took home the fur as a trophy.
Summary: They wanted to shoot tigers, but didn't find any. Out of boredom they shot at jackels, but they probably didn't care if they hit them.
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