Beware of the Dog Analysis

Topics: Narrative, Narrative mode, Narrator Pages: 3 (1268 words) Published: May 8, 2011


Beware of the Dog is a 1944 World War II story by Roald Dahl. 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 Gérard Genette, a French literary theorist, associated in particular with the theory of structuralism taking into account the concepts of Genette´s narratology.

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...
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