Tristram Shandy expresses his dismay at the reading habits of many readers in the Chapter XX of Volume I of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentlemen, saying “I wish it may have its effects;-- and that all good people, both male and female, from her example, may be taught to think as well as read.” (Sterne, 53). At this point, the narrator seems to be imploring the readers to go beyond just reading his story (and really all novels) at a surface level and really think about what the author is saying with his/her words. However, at the very end of the novel, in the ninth volume, Tristram’s mother asks what the story is about and the response is “A COCK and BULL, said Yorick—And one of the best of its kind, I ever heard” (Sterne, 588). What do you make of these two scenes in connection with one another (considering the fact that the footnote defines a cock and bull as a “Story without direction, rambling, idle, often incredible; […] associated with prose […] satire)? From the passages we have read, do you think there really is some sort of moral or message that Sterne is trying to deliver with Tristram Shandy? Or is he merely making fun of readers and scholars who seem to find every instance in a novel as a lesson from which they can learn?