Aesop's Fox and Cat by Milo Winter (classic storybook illustration)
A fox was boasting to a cat about his clever devices for escaping his enemies: “I have a whole bag of tricks,” he said, “which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies.”
“I have only one,” said the cat, “but I can generally manage with that.”
Just at that moment, they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the boughs. “This is my plan,” said the cat. “What are you going to do?”
The fox thought first of one way, then another, and while he was debating the hounds came nearer and nearer. At last, the fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen.
Experienced readers refer to plot, setting, character, and point of view when discussing literature to appreciate deep, rich storytelling.
What do you know about the character traits of the fox and the cat from this story? Support your answer with evidence from the text.
Thoughtful readers will often draw conclusions beyond the facts stated in the story. Inferring based on reasoning and experience helps make a story or work of art more meaningful by looking for clues about the author's or artist's mindset.
What inferences can you make about the kind of people the fox and the cat would be if they were human? What evidence from the text supports your inferences?
Themes and Concepts
Experienced readers can often identify a theme (the meaning, feeling, or message) or concept (a philosophy or outlook about how the world works) that may be stated clearly or left hidden by the author for readers to discover.
How does Aesop illustrate or communicate his concept of "success?" Does he prefer the fox's way or the cat's way? What evidence do you have to support your answer?
Putting it All Together: The Craft of Writing
When we share our thoughts about reading, our ideas, organization, supporting details, voice, and use of conventions help other readers understand our message.
Take a moment to review your responses to the questions about literary elements, inferences, and themes. Now, use that information to craft a paragraph-long response that will allow a reader to understand your topic:
begin with a leading sentence that introduces the subject;
share one of the ideas about theme you've arrived at;
use the literary elements and inferences you've made to support your theme or concept; and
finally, restate your observation about the theme in a concluding sentence.
Website Updated: 27 September 2019