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"Across the Bridge" by Graham Greene
Transcript of "Across the Bridge" by Graham Greene
By: Graham Greene
- The narrator is in a small Mexican border town. Everyday he watches Mr. Calloway, a con-artist, hiding from authorites. He interacts only with a dog who he seems to mistreat.
- Two detectives come to the town and speak directly to Calloway, unaware of each other's identity.
- Calloway crosses the bridge in search of his missing dog even though he is at risk of being arrested.
- The authorities capture Calloway's dog, in hope this would drive Calloway to the authorities. The dog jumps out of the authorities' car.
- Calloway reaches for the dog, but instead gets hit by the car and dies. Calloway reaches for his dog in his final living action.
What is the overall meaning/theme of the short story?
"Across the Bridge"
Close Reading Passage
Sara G. , Savannah N. , Jessica M. , Sydney S. and Jack M.
“I don't know how to treat this story-it was tragedy for Mr.Calloway, it was poetic retribution, I
suppose, in the eyes of the shareholders he’d ruined with his bogus transactions, and to Lucia and me, at this stage, it was pure comedy-except when he kicked the dog. I’m not a sentimentalist about dogs, I prefer people to be cruel to animals rather than human beings, but I couldn't help being revolted at the way he’d kick that animal-with a hint of cold-blooded venom, not anger but as if he were getting even for some trick it had played on him a long while ago.”
1. Money controls people. People are more reliant on money than their own happiness
How are human motives typically influenced in certain situations?
Close Reading Passage
"That dog was seeing things he couldn't see- that hateful dog. It made him mad- I think literally mad. You must remember the man had been going on for months. He had a million and he was living on two pounds a week, with nothing to spend it on. He sat there and brooded on the hideous injustice of it. I think he'd have crossed over one day in any case, but the dog was the last straw."
Close Reading Response
Literary Techniques Used:
Foreshadowing and Situational Irony
- this technique is used as a motive for Mr. Calloways actions. The use of Foreshadowing also provides suspense.
- the author uses the narrator as a negative perspective of Mr. Calloway. But, this scene makes us feel differently about Calloway, possibly because he shows sympathy for the dog he consistantly mistreats. The loss of his only friend was the driving force for Mr.Calloway to act and risk being captured. The use of irony may lead us to have sympathy for the old man.
What Literary Techniques are used?
Draw a Conclusion about how you think Mr.Calloway felt about his dog? Support you answer with textual evidence.
Analysis Question Answer
I feel Mr.Calloway, despite his cruelty truly felt affection for his companion. In the text they say "not in anger but as if he were getting even for some trick it had played him a long time ago." Calloway never had to stay with the dog, but he was constantly with him. He went across the bridge because he did not want to lose his only friend. At the end of the story he puts his arm around the dogs neck before he dies. This scene can be interpreted as a loving gesture. He risked his money and life for the one he loved.
What are some literary techniques used?
- Irony and foreshadowing are used
In this scene Mr. Calloway seems to be taking out some type of anger and rage on the dog that he does not like. It is ironic because later in the story Calloway trades his ability to be free from the authorities for the chance to find his dog that apparently means more to him than the reader thinks initially.
-The author states that the story was a “poetic retribution” for Calloway. The poetic retribution means an outcome in which a vice is punished. This scene foreshadows the punishment of death Calloway later gets in the story.
Compare and contrast Calloway's character from the beginning to the end of the story.
Calloway's character is similar because throughout the story he seems to stay by himself and keep his only companion as his dog. But, in the beginning Calloway showed his emotion to the dog by kicking or hurting it showing the anger that Calloway has, then when he tried to find the dog it showed the compassion he has.
Close Reading Passage
" 'Poor old geezer,' the detective said, 'I bet he really loved that dog,' and it's true that the attitude in which he lay looked more like a caress than a blow. I thought it was mean to be a blow, but the detective may have been right. It all seemed a little too touching to be true... He had come across the river for something, and it may, after all, have been the dog he was looking for."
Close Reading Analysis
- Although it seems that the dog has no importance to Calloway, he does cross the bridge in search of something. It is quite possible that he crossed the bridge, risking his freedom, in search of his dog. The irony illustrates that money and material items cannot fulfill a person's needs. Calloway's occurence shows how money does not result in ultimate happiness.
- Mr. Calloway exhibits sacrifice by crossing the bridge. He demonstrates that wealth and possessions are not as significant as other factors in life such as companionship. Calloway shows that personal happiness stems from love, not monetary value.
Explain the importance of having a narrator detail Calloway and his life.
It is important to have a narrator in the story because it details Calloway's vices. We, as readers, are able to understand the true personality of Calloway. If this story was told in first person, we would likely not be aware of Calloway's flaws like how he only cares for money and how he mistreats his own dog.
Close Reading Passage
Close Reading Passage
- Calloway was more concerned with getting more money than finding happiness in life.
- Some interpretations of the short story is that Calloway sacrifices himself for his dog.
2. Actions of others influence people to sacrifice themselves and defend their loved ones.
-Mr Calloways death showed a comical death in the story (Dark Humor). Calloway was not a good nor evil character, his death was someone insignifcant to the reader.
3. Often death is used in a non-serious way, to add an ironic comical turn to the story.
What Literary Techniques are Used?
Gordon Gecko representing the unethical use of money in the 'Wall Street'
Explain why the author would describe Mr. Calloway's abuse to the dog with "cold blooded venom".
The author would use a deceptive line to describe Mr. Calloway's actions to create suspense and irony. As the civilians of the little town in Mexico described Mr. Calloway, they portrayed him as an evil man, convincing the reader to believe it also. To add to the concept that Mr. Calloway is evil and cruel, the author adds that Mr. Calloway's actions are cold blooded, but at the end of the story he risks his freedom for his dog that he had abused, creating a situational irony.
Perhaps somebody was getting tired of the business, and careless; anyway, they sent across two detectives, with an old photograph. He'd grown his silvery moustache since that had been taken, and he'd aged a lot, and they couldn't catch sight of him. They hadn't been across the bridge two hours when everybody knew that there were two foreign detectives in town looking for Mr. Calloway -everybody knew, that is to say, except Mr. Calloway, who couldn't talk Spanish. There were plenty of people who could have told him in English, but they didn't. It wasn't cruelty, it was a sort of awe and respect
The movie "Star Trek" Spock sacrifices himself for his friends
Imagery- When the two detectives are being described they are mocked by their equipment and age, for it is far too old, adding to Mr. Calloway's tragic, but comedic life.
Irony- Irony is shown when the two detectives enter the town and encounter Mr. Calloway but neither the detectives or Mr. Calloway knows of their true identities.
What Literary Techniques are being used?
"Three days later his dog disappeared. I found him looking for it, calling it softly and shamefacedly between the palms of the garden. He looked embarassed. He said in a low angry voice, "I hate that dog. The beastly mongrel," and called "Rover, Rover" in a voice that didn't carry five yards."
- Throughout the story, Mr. Calloway has made it quite visible that he doesn't like the dog, therefore its ironic when he looks for the dog after it goes missing instead of forgetting about it.
When the author says "in a voice that didn't carry five yards" it shows that Calloway doesn't neccesarily want to look for and find the dog, more as if he thinks it's his duty to look for and find the dog.
How did Calloway's care for his dog evolve throughout the story?
In the beginning of the story, Calloway is seen kicking and abusing his dog. Throughout the story you start to notice he doesn't like the dog, until the very end of the story. In Calloway's last living moment before his death, he reaches for the dog. This shows that throughout the story Calloway began to develop some care towards the dog.