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Alligator
by Bailey White
Humorous Essay
Notes
• Humorous essays are meant to amuse readers
• Present illogical, inappropriate, improper or
unusual situations
• Contrast reality with characters’ mistaken
views
• Exaggerate truth or feelings, ideas, and actions
of the characters
Alligator Notes
• Aunt Belle believes that she is taming the
alligator. The children watch from the bank to
see if she will get eaten.
• Aunt Belle drives to the pond and teaches the
alligator to bellow, by gunning the engine and
then throwing the alligator a dead chicken.
• Aunt Belle sits with the alligator.
• The alligator does not appear, but Aunt Belle
refuses to believe that it is dead.
More Notes
Aunt Belle believes she can tame an alligator,
which is illogical and unusual.
The author describes Aunt Belle’s wide rump,
and the fascination with the possibility that
the alligator might eat her, which are both
improper or inappropriate.
The mention of the dead chicken is a little
improper, but it certainly gets your attention.
Even though the alligator must be dead, Aunt
Belle won’t accept that.
Answers to Alligator page 146.Your
answers may not be exactly the same.
• 1. Taming and training a gator
is illogical. It is unusual that anyone could teach an
alligator to bellow on command. Mentioning Aunt
Belle’s wide rump or the possibility that she might
be eaten is a little improper.
2. Aunt Belle believes that she is taming the alligator.
She refuses to believe the alligator has dies, even
when the evidence suggests that it must have.
More Answers to 146
3. The size of the alligator is exaggerated- head the size
of a single bed.
4. Aunt Belle is the only character. She is described
humorously. She has a wide rump and crawls on her
hands and knees in search of an alligator. She throws
the alligator a dead chicken.
• 1.
Page 147
Cattails grow in marshes or swamps,
not deserts. On a visit to the wetlands,
we found cattails growing everywhere.
2. This sentence makes sense because a crowd
roars when a referee makes an unfair call.
3. The girl’s smile would be delighted
or happy, not threatening. The ominous
clouds meant a thunderstorm was here.
4. This sentence makes sense because a
deluge would mean a flood.
B. 1. D 2. B 3. A 4. B
The Night the Bed Fell
• By James Thurber
Notes
• Family Tree
Grandfather- (Civil War)
I
Mother (Bed will kill Father) = Father (Sound Sleeper)
I
____________________________________________
I
I
I
Herman
Narrator
Roy
Rex the dog
Briggs Beall
Mother
Reality vs. Characters’ Views
Problem/ Solution
• Melissa Beall will die on High Street.
• Aunt Sarah Shoaf- Burglars will chloroform; leaves
belongings out with note.
• Aunt Gracie Shoaf- Burglars for 40 years; throws
shoes down hall.
• Cousin Briggs Beall- Will stop breathing in his sleep;
wakes himself every hour with an alarm clock.
Time Line
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Grandfather is gone- for days at a time.
Father decides to sleep in attic.
Mother says the headboard will fall on him.
Narrator on cot- tells Briggs he will wake him if he
stops breathing.
Briggs has camphor on the bedside table.
Narrator’s cot turns over.
Mother wakes up- “Let’s go to your poor father.”
Younger brother- “You’re all right, Mama.”
Time Line
• Briggs wakes up; pours camphor all over himself.
• Briggs breaks the window.
• Narrator wakes up. “Get me out of here!”
• Herman and Rex wake up. “Woof!”
• Father finally wakes up. “I’m coming!”
• Mother refers to the whole fiasco as “The night the
bed fell on your father.”
Groups
• Group 1
Julliette
David
Christian
Baylen
Blaize
Naomi
Eva
Susie
Katherine
Group 2
Niamh
George
Brennan
Joseph
Justin
Will
Justice
Mia
Group 3
Erin
Fernando
Timothy
Declan
Peter
Sasha
Jennifer
Lydia
Cast
Aunt Melissa Beall
Aunt Sarah Shoaf
Aunt Gracie Shoaf
Grandfather
Father
Mother
Narrator, Rex
Roy, Herman
Briggs Beall
Page 146 The Night the Bed Fell
• 1. The entire family is unusual, not necessarily the
nuclear family, but definitely the extended family.
Fears of the aunts and Briggs are illogical, and the
series of events the night the bed fell are unusual.
• 2. Grandfather believes the Civil War is still being
waged, Melissa Beall believes she will die on High
Street, Briggs Beall believes he will stop breathing in
his sleep, Sarah Shoaf believes a burglar will
chloroform her, and Gracie Shoaf believes a burglar
has been trying to steal for forty years.
146 The Night the Bed Fell
• 3. The descriptions of the aunt’s phobias
seem exaggerated, and many of the events
that take place the night the bed fell are
probably exaggerated- the narrator not
realizing the cot has collapsed, Briggs’s belief
that he is suffocating, his breaking the
window, and the mother’s belief that the
father is dying.
146 The Night the Bed Fell
• 4. Briggs is the funniest character because he
is sure he will die in his sleep, so he sets an
alarm to wake himself, breathes in too much
camphor, pours the bottle on himself and then
breaks a window so that he can breathe. He
does himself the most harm while he is
awake.

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