Beware of the Dog Analysis
Beware of the Dog is a 1944 World War II story by Roald Dahl - Beware of the Dog Analysis introduction. It is about Peter Williamson, a Spitfire pilot, who is flying home injured after a dogfight when he begins to feel light-headed, decides to bail out of his plane over the English Channel. He then wakes up in hospital; his injuries are treated, and he is told he is in Brighton. However, he soon begins to notice that the hospital is not quite as it should be. The water is hard, and he remembers from his schooldays that water in Brighton is soft. He also hears the sounds of Junkers 88s flying overhead, when in England the German bombers would be quickly shot down.
Finally, he looks out of the window and sees a sign which says ‘Garde Au Chien’ – French for ‘Beware of the Dog’, and he realizes that he is in France. Shortly after this, the nurse tells him that someone from the Royal Air Force is here to see him. However, knowing he is in France, and a prisoner of war, Peter refuses to tell the man anything more than his name, rank and number. This story will be analyzed according to Gerard Genette, a French literary theorist, associated in particular with the theory of structuralism taking into account the concepts of Genette?s narratology.
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The first concept is order, it has to do with the structure of the narration of the story or the plot and this refers to flash-backs and flash-forwards. Genette, argues that there are two kinds of plots: complex and simple. Beware of the dog has a complex plot because it has flashbacks which refers to the memory, and past event. It is like saying something that happened in the past. On the other hand, it also has flash-forwards which reveal events that will occur in the future (Wikipedia). As an example of flash-forward in Be aware of the dog could be: “ I’ll be there in half an hour.
When I land I shall taxi in and switch off my engine and I shall say, help me to get out, will you. I shall make my voice sound ordinary and natural and none of them will take any notice. Then I shall say, someone help me to get out. I can’t do it alone because I’ve lost one of my legs. They’ll all laugh and think that I’m joking, and I shall say, all right, come and have a look, you unbelieving bastards. Then Yorky will climb up onto the wing and look inside. He’ll probably be sick because of all the blood and the mess. I shall laugh and say, for God’s sake, help me out. An example of flash-back could be: “Then he saw the sun shining on the engine cowling of his machine. He saw the rivets in the metal, and he remembered where he was. He realized that he was no longer feeling good; that he was sick and giddy” , One day, when it was white, he put out a hand and he touched something. He took it between his fingers and crumpled it. For a time he lay there, idly letting the tips of his fingers play with the thing which they had touched. Then slowly he opened his eyes, looked down at his hand, and saw that he was holding something which was white.
It was the edge of a sheet. He knew it was a sheet because he could see the texture of the material and the stitchings on the hem. He screwed up his eyes, and opened them again quickly. This time he saw the room. He saw the bed in which he was lying; he saw the grey walls and the door and the green curtains over the window. There were some roses on the table by his bed. The second concept to analyze is frequency that is “The separation between an event and its narration which allows several possibilities. ” * An event can occur once and be narrated once (singular). An event can occur many times and be narrated once (iterative). * An event can occur once and be narrated n times (repetitive). * An event can occur many times and be narrated n times (multiple). In Beware of the dog, the author uses the following frequencies: Singular because some events are told once and once, it means telling every time what is happening. It also includes multiple frequency because the nurse enters many times to the room. Last, it is repetitive because one of the events is told many times; I think it is a short idea with repetitive words.
For example: …On one side he saw the sun; on the other he saw the whiteness of the clouds, and as he fell, as he somersaulted in the air, the white clouds chased the sun and the sun chased the clouds. They chased each other in a small circle; they ran faster and faster, and there was the sun and the clouds and the clouds and the sun, and the clouds came nearer until suddenly there was no longer any sun, but only a great whiteness. The whole world was white, and there was nothing in it. It was so white that sometimes it looked black, and after a time it was either white or black, but mostly it was white.
He watched it as it turned from white to black, and then back to white again, and the white stayed for a long time, but the black lasted only for a few seconds. He got into the habit of going to sleep during the white periods, and of waking up just in time to see the world when it was black. But the black was very quick. Sometimes it was only a flash, like someone switching off the light, and switching it on again at once, and so whenever it was white, he dozed off. The third concept deals with Duration, it describes the rhythm and pacing of the story time. The separation between an event and its narration means that there is discourse time and narrative time. These are the two main elements of duration. ” According to Genette Beware of the dog has a narrative time about 3 to 4 days. All this time passed during the time he were in the airplane, (hours) then, the 3 days he were in the hospital and the other time I suppose the time employed to rescue him. The last concept is mood, “ Genette said narrative mood is dependent on the ‘distance’ and ‘perspective’ of the narrator, and like music, narrative mood has predominant patterns.
It is related to voice” Beware of the dog?s point of view is third person. For instance: As he fell he opened his eyes, because he knew that he must not pass out before he had pulled the cord. On one side he saw the sun; on the other he saw the whiteness of the clouds, and as he fell, as he somersaulted in the air, the white clouds chased the sun and the sun chased the clouds. They chased each other in a small circle; they ran faster and faster, and there was the sun and the clouds and the clouds and the sun, and the clouds came nearer until suddenly there was no longer any sun, but only a great whiteness.