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.