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Dark Brown Dog
Transcript of Dark Brown Dog
By: Stephen Crane
At the beginning of the story a boy is leaning against a fence kicking stones, when all of a sudden a dark brown dog approaches him. The exposition starts off with the boy playing with the dog at the corner. As the boy leaves for home, the dog follows him closely. The boy gets angry with the dog and beats it several times. Once the boy reaches home, the dog is still following him closely. The rising action occurs here when the parents of the boy meet the dog. When the parents had first seen the dog, they were furious at the child. After a long talk between the parents, the family decided to keep the dog. Every day the boy and the dog would go on adventures together. This happens to be the peak, or climax of the story. However, one day they had come home to the boys dad being drunk. The falling action occurs here when the dad sees the boy and the dog back home. The final part, or resolution of the story happens here, when the dad thinks it will be funny to throw stuff at the dog. The dog is hit with a glass container and is hurt. The dad then picks up the dog and decides to throw the dog out of the window. The dog falls 5 stories to its death and the story ends.
The setting in this short story takes place at the boys house, and at the corner of a street near the beginning of the story. The street corner is described as: "Sunshine beat upon the cobbles, and a lazy summer wind raised yellow dust which trailed in clouds down the avenue"(page 1 paragraph 2). The setting of this story is very important, if the boy was not at the street corner he would not have found the dog.
The two types of conflict I have found are both external conflict.
The first conflict I found was between the boy and the dog at the beginning of the story. "On the way to his home the child turned many times and beat the dog, proclaiming with childish gestures that he held him in contempt as an unimportant dog, with no value save for a moment"(page 2 paragraph 5). Here the boy had just left the street corner to find the dog following him.
The second conflict I found was between the dog and the dad near the end of the book."The head of the family saw him at this moment. He gave a huge howl of joy, and knocked the dog down with a heavy coffee-pot. The dog, yelling in supreme astonishment and fear, writhed to his feet and ran for cover. The man kicked out with a ponderous foot. It caused the dog to swerve as if caught in a tide. A second blow of the coffee-pot laid him upon the floor"(page 7 paragraph 1). At this part of the story the boy and the dog had just gotten home from an adventure to find the head of the family drunk.
One example of foreshadowing happened near the end of the story when the boy had found his father drunk."The child's practiced eye instantly noticed his father's state. He dived under the table, where experience had taught him was a rather safe place. The dog, lacking skill in such matters, was, of course, unaware of the true condition of affairs"(page 6 paragraph 6). Of course at the end of the story the dad ended up killing the dog. When the child noticed his fathers state, he knew something bad was about to happen so he hid under the table.
I believe the theme of this story has to do with slavery back in the late 1800's. The newer generation of the south does not have an innate hatred of blacks and a belief in slavery, it's something that is taught from the older generation. The new generation is represented by the young boy. The dog, a slave recently freed from emancipation, comes upon the small boy. The boy is influenced by his father to treat black people as animals. Although slavery ended, the father still believed in slavery and therefore would beat the dog. The boy takes the dog in, not knowing his fathers past and decides to keep the dog. The father looks at the dog as a slave while the boy considered him a companion.
Davis, Brendan. "Tales of a Nerdy College Student." : Literary Analysis of A Dark Brown Dog. N.p., 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.
Dramatic irony is found in "A Dark Brown Dog". When the boy and the dog come home and find the dad drunk; the boy knows about his dads condition but the dog does not. When the dog tries to go play with the dad, the dad hits the dog with a coffee-pot.
There is also use of situational irony. when he boy asks his parents if he can keep the dog. His expectation is that they will say no, but he is delighted to hear that they said yes. He was happy when his expectation was wrong.
The dog: A small dark brown dog with a chain around his neck, that he occasionally stumbled over. "A short dark-brown dog came trotting with an intent air down the sidewalk. A short rope was dragging from his neck. Occasionally he trod upon the end of it and stumbled"(page 1 paragraph 3). This is an example of direct characterization, the author tells the audience what the dog looks like.
The boy: the boy was not described at all during the whole story. We do know that he is a small boy that is allowed out of the house without his parents watching him. "A child was standing on a street-corner. He leaned with one shoulder against a high board-fence and swayed the other to and fro, the while kicking carelessly at the gravel"(page 1 paragraph 1). Although the boy is not described very well this is an example of indirect characterization.
Metaphor: "The scene of their companionship (dog and boy) was a kingdom governed by this terrible potentate, the child"(page 6 paragraph 3). The author is comparing their relationship to the way a evil king would treat his people.
Hyperbole: "But the father was in a mood of having fun"(page 7 paragraph 3). The father in not actually wanting to have fun, he is drunk therefore he cannot handle himself and does not know what he is doing.
The tone comes across from the author as sad or disappointed with how things are in society. There should be a change in how this dog is treated. The boy sees the dog as a companion but he's taught by his dad to be mean and abusive to the dog. "Sometimes, too, the child himself used to beat the dog, although it is not known that he ever had what could be truly called a just cause"(page 5 paragraph 2). The boy would not beat the dog as much as the dad did. "At these times the singer would often be chased all over the kitchen and hit with a great variety of articles"(page 5 paragraph 1). The singer is referenced to by the dogs noises he made at night time.