Title: Beware of the Dog Crossing Borders



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Holt Literature& Language Arts 2003 Grade 9


Unit 9

Title: Beware of the Dog – Crossing Borders

Suggested Time: 2 days (45 minutes per day)

Common Core ELA Standards: RL.9-10.1, RL.9-10.3, RL.9-10.10; W.9-10.2, W.9-10.4, SL.9-10.1; L.9-10.1, L.9-10.2
Teacher Instructions

Preparing for Teaching

  1. Read the Big Ideas and Key Understandings and theSynopsis. Please do not read this to the students. This is a description for teachers about the big ideas and key understanding that students should take away after completing this task.

Big Ideas and Key Understandings:

Whether in war, in the physical world, or in our own minds, borders can harbor danger and should be approached with caution.

When one is in unfamiliar or tenuous situations instinct can prove helpful, but should be confirmed with facts and evidence.

Synopsis

Squadron Leader Peter Williamson, an English fighter pilot in World War II, has been gravely injured and had to bail out over the English Channel. He awakens to find himself in the hospital and is told that he has been rescued and is in Brighton, England. Details of his surroundings cause him to become suspicious of the story he has been told, and his suspicions are confirmed when he sees a sign written in French through the window. As a result, when a military officer comes to debrief with him, he provides only his name, rank, and serial number.



  1. Read the entire selection, keeping in mind the Big Ideas and Key Understandings.

  2. Re-read the text while noting the stopping points for the Text Dependent Questions and teaching Tier II/academic vocabulary.

During Teaching

  1. Students read the entire selection independently.

  2. Teacher reads the text aloud while students follow along or students take turns reading aloud to each other. Depending on the text length and student need, the teacher may choose to read the full text or a passage aloud. For a particularly complex text, the teacher may choose to reverse the order of steps 1 and 2.

  3. Students and teacher re-read the text while stopping to respond to and discuss the questions, continually returning to the text. A variety of methods can be used to structure the reading and discussion (i.e., whole class discussion, think-pair-share, independent written response, group work, etc.)


Text Dependent Questions

Text-dependent Questions

Evidence-based Answers

Where is the main character in the beginning of the story and what has happened to him? Provide specific textual evidence to support your explanation. (Pg. 592)

The pilot is in a plane, [“He was flying the Spitfire” (592)]. He has been shot and has lost his right leg: “…there was not much of it left.”

On page 592, paragraphs 3 and 6, the pilot imagines his actions after landing. What do these imagined actions reveal about his state of mind? What do they reveal about his character? Find evidence in the text that supports your response.

The pilot seems to be in shock, somewhat disconnected from the reality of his situation. In paragraph 3, he tells himself that “Everything is fine.” In fact, everything is not fine. He has been shot, and has lost a leg, but still feels like he’s okay. The lack of pain is one indicator that he is in shock. He begins imagining what he will do once he lands, and his fantasies reveal how removed he is from the gravity of his situation. He imagines that once he lands, his biggest problem will be getting someone to help him get out of the plane. Others may react badly, “He’ll probably be sick because of all the blood and the mess,” but the pilot himself will remain calm, even jovial. Paragraph 4 shows just how disconnected he is: “…he felt as though he were seeing something that did not belong to him. It had nothing to do with him….” In paragraph six, he imagines he won’t need an ambulance, and that he’ll be able to go about his business, even going “up to London to see Bluey.” His imaginings deny the seriousness of his injury. His mind begins to wander from the fantasy of how he will deal with his missing leg, to imagining himself chopping wood, to thinking about what to do to keep the head from flying off his ax. His thoughts are illogical and dreamy. He seems to be on the edge of consciousness and dreaming.
His imaginings also show us a little about what kind of person he is. Rather than imagining a dramatic scene where he is screaming for help in dire need of assistance (which might be expected of someone who has lost their leg), the pilot sees himself as calm and in control “I shall make my voice sound ordinary and natural and none of them will take any notice.” He is more concerned about the reactions of others than about his own situation. “They’ll all laugh and think that I’m joking…. I’ll say, Bluey…I lost a leg today. But I don’t mind so long as you don’t.” Although the scene he paints for himself isn’t very realistic, it does show that he tends to be a logical thinker. He doesn’t panic when he looks down and sees the mess of blood in the cockpit. His leg doesn’t hurt and he is still flying the plane, therefore he is still fine and in control. He’s lost a leg, but he can go anywhere he wants in cars and “I always hated walking” anyway. He accepts a situation that he cannot change and imagines himself dealing with it in a very calm, ordinary way.

The pilot goes from feeling like he’s fine to realizing, “I’m going to pass out. …Any moment now, I’m going to pass out.” What brings him to this realization? What danger does passing out pose, and what does he do to mitigate (lessen) the danger? (Pgs. 592-595)


In paragraphs 3-6, the pilot is feeling fine, even though his fantasies indicate that he isn’t fully connected to his situation. However, the sun shining on the metal of his plane reminds him that he is actually still flying, and in paragraph 7, he starts feeling sick and giddy. He realizes “he is no longer feeling good.” In fact, he is losing strength and can barely hold his head up. When he tries to read is altimeter and can’t his realizes that he is immediate danger of passing out and needs to take action.
The danger passing out poses is severe. First, if he passes out while flying, he will most certainly crash. Second, if he manages to bail out of the plane but passes out before he can pull his parachute cord, he will fall to his death. “He knew that he must not pass out before he had pulled the cord.” Finally, passing out while falling means that anything could happen to him when he lands. He doesn’t know where he is, but thinks he might be over the English Channel. “I’m sure to fall in the drink.” He is at risk of drowning if he lands in the water… To mitigate the danger he is in, the pilot must act quickly and with a clear head. He checks his altitude, both to test himself and to see whether he has time to jump (593). “He knew then that he must bail out.” When he gets the hood of the plane open, the cold air clears his head and “His actions became orderly and precise.” He takes some oxygen to help keep him clear. He unstraps himself, takes off his helmet, and rolls the plane upside down so he will fall out. Even when falling, he tries to remain alert so that he can pull his parachute cord in time. It is while he is falling that he loses his battle to stay awake and finally passes out.

As the pilot falls, he slips between consciousness and unconsciousness. How is color used to show how the pilot moves between these two states? (Pg. 595)


White represents the pilot’s waking state, while black represents unconsciousness. While he is still conscious, he can see the white of the clouds and sun chasing each other around the sky as he tumbles through the air. When he falls into the sea of clouds, everything becomes pure white until, “after a time it was either white or black…” The clouds themselves remain white, so when the world turns black, it must be because the pilot has closed his eyes. “…the white stayed for a long time, but the black lasted only for a few seconds.” The pilot goes in and out of consciousness as he falls.
As the colors shift from white to black and back to white during his fall, “the white stayed for a long time” and the pilot “got into the habit of going to sleep during the white periods, of waking up just in time to see the world when it was black.” He could not have been falling so long that he could have developed the habit of doing something, so he must at this point have landed. The world to him is nothing but the two colors white and black, light and dark. He is coming in and out of consciousness. “The black was very quick”; he falls unconscious, becoming unaware of the passage of time or any color at all. “The white was slow and in the slowness of it, he always dozed off.” As he floats near consciousness during the day, he becomes more aware of the passage of time, and then sinks again into sleep.
When the pilot finally comes out of the realm between consciousness and unconsciousness in the next paragraph, he is again greeted by the color white: the white of the sheet on his bed. In this case, white is something concrete and real, something he can hold on to. It lets both him and the reader know: he is awake.

How does the contrast of the black fly on the gray ceiling help the pilot to remember everything that has happened to him? (Pg. 595)

The “smooth grayness of the ceiling” is much like the surrounding whiteness that greeted the pilot when he fell into the sea of cloud: a single, unbroken “sea” of color. The fly suddenly appears, a “small black speck on a sea of gray.” This image parallels the visual image the pilot must have presented as he fell through the clouds, a small speck on a sea of white. It is this parallel imagery that strikes the pilot and causes him to remember what had happened to him.

As the pilot becomes more and more aware, he begins to feel something is wrong. “Slowly the grain of doubt grew, and with it came fear, a light, dancing fear that warned but did not frighten; the kind of fear that one gets not because one is afraid, but because one feels that there is something wrong.” (Pg. 595)


  1. What details from his environment lead the pilot to believe that something is wrong? Use evidence from the text to support your response.




  1. What does the pilot notice about the other characters that contributes to his suspicion that something is wrong?




  1. What in his own reactions and thinking adds to the pilot’s feeling that something is wrong?

  1. The pilot has been noticing small details of his environment as he lies in bed. The more his consciousness sharpens, the more he realizes that certain things he notices do not make sense. First, he hears the sound of a plane that he identifies as a German bomber, a Junkers 88. He finds it alarming that a German bomber would fly over England alone during the day and wonders, “But where were the sirens and where were the guns?” “…there was no mistaking it” that this distinct noise of this enemy aircraft is the noise that he had heard “…every day during the Battle.” (596) When he hears another type of plane, one that he cannot identify, “it worried him greatly” (599), especially since he knows it is neither British nor American, the only two types of planes that should be flying over Brighton at that time. His doubts are strengthened when he looks around the room. “It was no longer warm or friendly….It was cold and empty and very quiet.” Even the room is off, with no other injured soldiers or people to be seen.




  1. When he asks the nurse about the planes he is hearing, she tells him he is imagining things, and insists, “They never come over in daylight any longer. You know that…” This makes him doubt himself, and he changes the subject. Another detail that causes him feel like something is wrong is the nurse’s casual remark that “This wretched soap won’t lather at all. It’s the water. It’s hard as nails.” He remembers that when he was a boy in Brighton the water was actually soft. He starts to point this out to the nurse but stops himself. “Something had occurred to him.” Her story doesn’t add up with what he knows to be the truth, and once again, he changes the subject, and says that he was “dreaming,” retreating into the safety of unconsciousness as his excuse for stopping short.




  1. In the night, he finds himself unable to sleep. He thinks of the planes: “They were Ju-88s, he said to himself. I know they were. And yet it is not possible…. Perhaps I am ill. Perhaps I am behaving like a fool and do not know what I am doing or saying. Perhaps I am delirious.” The seeming contradiction between what he thinks should be true (these are German planes) and the situation he seems to find himself in (safe in the hospital), make him doubt his own perceptions. He wonders if he is delirious, walking the border of consciousness and unconsciousness. The next morning, as he begins to see the light of day, he thinks about the planes and the water and the doctor and nurse, “and now a small grain of doubt took root in his mind...” He is considering the things that he knows don’t add up, the planes and the water, and he includes the doctor and the nurse with these inconsistencies. Even if he can’t pinpoint what bothers him about them, he knows something is wrong. His doubts grow.

“I know that it is true and yet I know that it is impossible.” How is the pilot’s conflict expressed by this paradox? Use evidence from the text to support your response. (Pg. 600)

The pilot has to reconcile the facts as he knows them with the facts as they have been presented to him. He is told he is in Brighton, England, and that the planes he hears are British or American bombers. However, he knows the sounds that different planes make, and he is certain these are German Junkers 88s. One set of facts, either those he knows in his heart to be true, or the ones he has been given, must be incorrect. The pilot must decide what is real and what is not, what is truth and what is fiction. This is his conflict.

As the pilot becomes more awake and aware, his perceptions of his surroundings and the people taking care of him change.

How does his perception of the nurse change over time? Cite specific examples to support your response. Why is this change important?



When the pilot first wakes up and the nurse enters the room, he notices very little about her. “She was not good-looking, but she was large and clean. She was between thirty and forty and she had fair hair. More than that he did not notice” (596). When he next encounters the nurse, he calls her to ask about the airplanes he had heard. She dismisses his concerns, telling him “you mustn’t worry about a thing like that,” and “They never come over in daylight any longer. You know that. They were probably Lancasters or Flying Fortresses” In response, he changes the subject and asks for a cigarette. He’s still not fully mentally alert and though he feels sure the planes are German Ju-88s, her denial leaves him confused. On their third encounter, she comes to give him a bath. She starts off by saying, “I hope you don’t think that we are being bombe”d, referring to his earlier concern about the planes. In fact, he does not know what to think, so he answers her with silence. When he mentions that he went to school in Brighton (the town where the nurse said they were), he notices that “She looked up quickly.” Something in what he said causes her to startle, to be alert. Something in her words and manner is causing him to become suspicious. When she mentions the hardness of the water, which he knows should be soft, he stops himself from correcting her. When she asks what he was about to say, he replies with “Nothing… I was dreaming” (599). He doesn’t trust her enough to share his thoughts. He changes the subject instead, saying, “It’s nice to be washed…I feel better.”
After he looks out the window and realizes in France, he is fully awake and alert. Small details come into focus. When he sees the nurse again, “he did not wish to tell this woman anything” He looks at her more closely. “Her hair was very fair. She was tall and big-boned and her face seemed pleasant. But there was something a little uneasy about her eyes. They were never still” She is no longer “the large pleasant nurse.” She only seems pleasant. Her eyes invite suspicion. “There was something about her movements also. They were too sharp and nervous to go well with the casual manner in which she spoke” Just as there are inconsistencies between what she said about the planes and the water, and what he knew to be true, there inconsistencies between her words and actions. Her words are casual, conversational. Her actions and eyes are sharp and nervous. Now that he is fully conscious and clear, the pilot realizes she cannot be trusted. She is not what she appears to be.

When the pilot manages to get himself out of bed and looks out of the window he sees a sign that reads “garde au chien” (beware of the dog). What does the sign mean to the pilot?

Literally, “GARDE AU CHIEN” means “BEWARE OF THE DOG.” The sign alerts passersby that there is a dog nearby. It is a warning to anyone who might want to cross from the lane into the house’s garden. For the pilot, it also alerts him to the fact that he is not where he thinks he is. He has been told he is in Brighton England, but in truth, “I am in France” When he had to bail out of his plane, he thought he was over the English Channel. When the nurse tells him he is in Brighton, he thinks he is home safe. In fact, he is on the wrong side of the border, in German occupied France. He is in enemy territory. The sign also tells the pilot that he must now be wary of his surroundings. The people who have been caring for him are actually the enemy. He has a single sentence repeating in his head: “And if they get you, don’t forget, just your name, rank, and number. Nothing else. For God’s sake, say nothing else.” Engaging in even pleasant conversation with his captors could be dangerous to both himself and to the entire war effort. He must behave with extreme caution, offering no information beyond his name, rank and serial number.



Tier II/Academic Vocabulary




These words require less time to learn

(They are concrete or describe an object/event/

process/characteristic that is familiar to students)


These words require more time to learn

(They are abstract, have multiple meanings, are a part

of a word family, or are likely to appear again in future texts)


Meaning can be learned from context

pg. 592 - giddy

pg. 593 - unconscious

pg. 593 - altimeter

pg. 595 - texture

pg. 596 - viciously

pg. 599 - delirious

pg. 600 - throbbing

pg. 602 - hoisted

pg .603 - beckoned


pg. 593 - bail out

pg. 593 - precise

pg. 596 - major

pg.600 - obsession




Meaning needs to be provided

pg. 595 - idly

pg. 596 - squadron

pg. 596 - vibrating

pg. 599 - absurd

pg. 600 - jarred

pg. 603 - combat


pg. 595 - vast

pg. 595 - port

pg. 595 - Channel

pg. 595 - habit

pg. 600 - complicated

pg. 600 - root

pg. 601 - realize

pg. 602 - intense

pg. 602 - casual




Culminating Writing Task

  • Prompt

    • Dogs are often described as “Man’s best friend,” but they can also be dangerous. Often, we see warnings posted to “Beware of the Dog,” when we are about to cross a boundary or border. How does the title, “Beware of the Dog,” relate to the circumstance Williamson finds himself in? Of what must he beware? What are the borders, both physical and mental, that he is crossing? Write an analytic essay of at least 800 words to respond to the prompt. Be sure to use evidence from the text to support your response.

  • Teacher Instructions

  1. Students identify their writing task from the prompt provided.

  2. Students complete an evidence chart as a pre-writing activity. Teachers should remind students to use any relevant notes they compiled while reading and answering the text-dependent questions.

Evidence

Quote or paraphrase

Page number

Elaboration / explanation of how this evidence supports ideas or argument

He checks his altitude, both to test himself and to see whether he has time to jump.

“He knew then that he must bail out.”


When he gets the hood of the plane open, the cold air clears his head, and “his actions became orderly and precise.”

593


He forces himself to stay in the realm of consciousness. When he is able to think clearly, the actions he takes save his life.

“I’m going to pass out. …Any moment now, I’m going to pass out.”
“He knew that he must not pass out before he had pulled the cord.”
“I’m sure to fall in the drink.”

595


While he is in the air, the danger that crossing into unconsciousness poses is severe. First, if he passes out while flying, he will most certainly crash. Second, if he manages to bail out of the plane but passes out before he can pull his parachute cord, he will fall to his death. Finally, passing out while falling means that anything could happen to him when he lands. He doesn’t know where he is, but thinks he might be over the English Channel. He is at risk of drowning if he lands in the water…

The nurse tells him to go back to sleep, “But he did not sleep. He wanted to keep his eyes open because he was frightened that if he shut them again everything would go away.”


596


He needs to be alert to his surroundings and to his own reactions. When he is not fully conscious, he is at his most vulnerable. This is the time when enemies posing as friends have him most at their mercy. He needs to determine where he is physically, but he also needs to pull himself back mentally, to regain full command of his senses so that he can see the truth of his situation. He must be wary.


“She was not good-looking, but she was large and clean. She was between thirty and forty and she had fair hair. More than that he did not notice.”
“You’re a lucky fellow…. They brought you in two days ago, and now you’re all fixed up. You look fine.”


596

The nurse is a dangerous person for him. She is the only one there when he first wakes up and is at his most vulnerable. He doesn’t take in much information about her, but she seems nice. If he feels too comfortable with her, he may be at risk of giving her too much information about himself.



“They were Ju-88s. I’m sure they were Ju-88s. I know the sound of the engines…. What were they doing over here?”



598

Though he is certain, the nurse tries to convince him that he is imagining things, to make him doubt himself.



“There were three words, and slowly he spelled the letters out aloud to himself as he managed to read them. G-A-R-D-E A-U C-H-I-E-N, Garde au chien. That is what it said…. Slowly he began to realize the full meaning of the thing…. ‘So this is France,’ he said. ‘I am in France.’”



601

The sign he sees outside his window is merely a confirmation that he has crossed into a place of danger where friends are really foes. On the wrong side of the physical border, he has brought himself back to the safe side of the mental border. He is aware of the dogs surrounding him, and he knows what to do.

“Her hair was very fair. She was tall and big-boned and her face seemed pleasant. But there was something a little uneasy about her eyes. They were never still.”

602

She is dangerous too because she is not entirely honest. There is something “uneasy” about her eyes. She has told him he is safe in Brighton, when in fact, he is in France. She has no reason to lie unless she is trying to lull him into a false sense of security, pretending to be his friend and caretaker.




  1. Once students have completed the evidence chart, they should look back at the writing prompt in order to remind themselves what kind of response they are writing (i.e. expository, analytical, argumentative) and think about the evidence they found. (Depending on the grade level, teachers may want to review students’ evidence charts in some way to ensure accuracy.) From here, students should develop a specific thesis statement. This could be done independently, with a partner, small group, or the entire class. Consider directing students to the following sites to learn more about thesis statements: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/ OR http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/ thesis_statement.shtml.

  2. Students compose a rough draft. With regard to grade level and student ability, teachers should decide how much scaffolding they will provide during this process (i.e. modeling, showing example pieces, sharing work as students go).

  3. Students complete final draft.




  • Sample Answer:

Dogs are often thought of as “man’s best friend,” our protectors and allies, keeping intruders outside of our borders and away from our doors. However, dogs can be dangerous. If we are the intruders, the ones crossing the borders, dogs may become our attackers. When crossing borders, we must be wary. In “Beware of the Dog,” the pilot, Peter Williamson, finds himself confronted with both mental and physical borders that put him in danger and bring him in contact with dangerous people posing as friends.

The first type of border Williamson encounters is the one between consciousness and unconsciousness. When he is shot down, he goes from feeling like he’s fine to realizing, “I’m going to pass out. …Any moment now, I’m going to pass out,” (595). While he is in the air, the danger that crossing into unconsciousness poses is severe. First, if he passes out while flying, he will most certainly crash. Second, if he manages to bail out of the plane but passes out before he can pull his parachute cord, he will fall to his death. “He knew that he must not pass out before he had pulled the cord,” (595). Finally, passing out while falling means that anything could happen to him when he lands. He doesn’t know where he is, but thinks he might be over the English Channel. “I’m sure to fall in the drink,” (595). He is at risk of drowning if he lands in the water… To mitigate the danger he is in, the pilot must act quickly and with a clear head. He forces himself to stay in the realm of consciousness. He checks his altitude, both to test himself and to see whether he has time to jump (593). “He knew then that he must bail out.” When he gets the hood of the plane open, the cold air clears his head, and “his actions became orderly and precise,” (593). He takes some oxygen to help keep him clear. He unstraps himself, takes off his helmet, and rolls the plane upside down so he will fall out. Even when falling, he tries to remain alert so that he can pull his parachute cord in time. Even though he finds himself in grave physical peril, when he is fully alert, he is able to take actions that save his life. It is while he is falling that he loses his battle to stay awake and finally passes out. (595)

The second type of border is the physical one. Before he bails out, the pilot realizes he does not know where he is. Is he crashing in England, on his side of the border where friends will greet him, or is he crashing in France, behind enemy lines, where the “dogs” will bite? When he wakes, he finds himself in a hospital, still balancing on the border of consciousness and unconsciousness. “This is a hospital, he thought…. He lay back on his pillow, looking at the ceiling and wondering what had happened,” (595). Even when he remembers the events that brought him here, he still does not know which side of the physical border he is on. “Where am I?” (596). The border between consciousness and unconsciousness is especially perilous at this time. The nurse tells him to go back to sleep, “But he did not sleep. He wanted to keep his eyes open because he was frightened that if he shut them again everything would go away,” (596). He needs to be alert to his surroundings and to his own reactions. When he is not fully conscious, he is at his most vulnerable. This is the time when enemies posing as friends have him most at their mercy. He needs to determine where he is physically, but he also needs to pull himself back mentally, to regain full command of his senses so that he can see the truth of his situation. He must be wary.

As he struggles to become fully conscious, he must contend with the people in the hospital. They are caring. They offer comfort and protection. When he first begins to emerge from unconsciousness, he doesn’t notice much about them, but they seem to be friendly. The nurse “was not good-looking, but she was large and clean. She was between thirty and forty and she had fair hair. More than that he did not notice,” but she tells him, “You’re a lucky fellow…. They brought you in two days ago, and now you’re all fixed up. You look fine,” (596). The doctor, “was bald and small, but he had a cheerful face and kind eyes,” (596). As he becomes more awake, Williamson begins to have doubts about these people. The information they have provided seems to be untrue. It conflicts with what he observes and what he knows. When he asked where he was, the nurse told him he was in Brighton, England, but as he becomes more aware of his surroundings, he feels that this might not be true. First, he hears planes that should not be flying over England at that time. He questions the nurse, and when she says she doesn’t know, he asserts: “They were Ju-88s. I’m sure they were Ju-88s. I know the sound of the engines…. What were they doing over here?” (598). Though he is certain, the nurse tries to convince him that he is imagining things, to make him doubt himself. Later when they are talking, the nurse complains about the hard water, and he remembers that the water in Brighton is in fact soft. “In Brighton…the water isn’t,” (599). He starts to correct her, but stops himself. He is awake and aware, and his caution kicks in. The next time he more closely observes the nurse, he perceives that “Her hair was very fair. She was tall and big-boned and her face seemed pleasant. But there was something a little uneasy about her eyes. They were never still,” (602). In noticing more details about her face, he detects that there is something wrong. Her pleasant demeanor masks something a little sinister. She, along with the doctor and the information officer who attend him, is the dog of which he must beware. Seemingly friendly, these dogs will bite anyone on the wrong side of the border.

The sign he sees outside his window, “Garde au chien,” (601) is merely a confirmation that he has crossed into a place of danger where friends are really foes. “’So this is France,’ he said. ‘I am in France,’” (601). Just as when his plane was shot down, Williamson is in grave physical peril and it is clear thinking and reacting that will save his life. On the wrong side of the physical border, he finally brings himself all the way back to the safe side of the mental border. He is aware of the dogs surrounding him, and he knows what to do. “My name is Peter Williamson. My rank is squadron leader and my number is nine seven two four five seven,” (603). He will say nothing else.


Additional Tasks


  • Throughout the story, Dahl refers to the colors black, white, and gray. At one point he inserts the color green. What is the significance of his use of color throughout the text?

Answer: Black is the unconscious. Black is night. Black represents those moments when the pilot is not awake or aware. White is consciousness. It is daylight – the sun and the clouds. When white is at its brightest, it is all he can see. It obscures details. White represents those moments when the pilot is awake, but not necessarily clear. White is prevalent in the hospital: the sheets, the basin, the nurse. The truth, as presented by the nurse, has been “whitewashed.” Gray is the borderland between the unconscious and the conscious states. Details start to appear, but they are not in focus. Gray represents the pilots’ state of mind as he is gradually becoming more aware of his surroundings. The curtains above the window provide the only real color in the story. They are green. They point the way out and toward truth. Only when he looks through the window beneath the green curtain does the pilot see the truth of his situation.

  • Students research the historical setting the story, with specific attention to British, American and German fighter planes, and the relationships between France, England and Germany at that time.

Note to Teacher

  • It may be useful to provide students with some context relating to World War II, in particular the locations of England, Germany and France, and the fact that France had been occupied by Germany during the war.

  • Additional vocabulary that may need to be addressed:

    • ringing up – pg 596

    • tenor and bass – pg 596

    • intelligence officer – pg 602

    • cockpit – pg. 592

    • spitfire - pg. 592

    • interfere – pg. 599

Name: _____________________________________________ Date: _____________


“Beware of the Dog”


  1. Where is the main character in the beginning of the story and what has happened to him? Provide specific textual evidence to support your explanation. (Pg. 592)



  1. On page 592, paragraphs 3 and 6, the pilot imagines his actions after landing. What do these imagined actions reveal about his state of mind? What do they reveal about his character? Find evidence in the text that supports your response.



  1. The pilot goes from feeling like he’s fine to realizing, “I’m going to pass out. …Any moment now, I’m going to pass out.” What brings him to this realization? What danger does passing out pose, and what does he do to mitigate (lessen) the danger? (Pgs. 592-595)



  1. As the pilot falls, he slips between consciousness and unconsciousness. How is color used to show how the pilot moves between these two states? (Pg. 595)



  1. How does the contrast of the black fly on the gray ceiling help the pilot to remember everything that has happened to him? (Pg. 595)



  1. As the pilot becomes more and more aware, he begins to feel something is wrong. “Slowly the grain of doubt grew, and with it came fear, a light, dancing fear that warned but did not frighten; the kind of fear that one gets not because one is afraid, but because one feels that there is something wrong.” (Pg. 595)

  1. What details from his environment lead the pilot to believe that something is wrong? Use evidence from the text to support your response.



  1. What does the pilot notice about the other characters that contributes to his suspicion that something is wrong?



  1. What in his own reactions and thinking adds to the pilot’s feeling that something is wrong?



  1. “I know that it is true and yet I know that it is impossible.” How is the pilot’s conflict expressed by this paradox? Use evidence from the text to support your response. (Pg. 600)



  1. As the pilot becomes more awake and aware, his perceptions of his surroundings and the people taking care of him change. How does his perception of the nurse change over time? Cite specific examples to support your response. Why is this change important?



  1. When the pilot manages to get himself out of bed and looks out of the window he sees a sign that reads “garde au chien” (beware of the dog). What does the sign mean to the pilot?


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