Close reading and textual interpretation – The End of a Friendship

 Close reading and textual interpretation – The End of a Friendship

The dog and the cat once were the greatest of friends: they napped together, ate together, and played in great harmony.
One day the cat caught its reflection in the surface of a lake and, very pleased with its image, thought it was the most beautiful and most elegant of animals.
The dog, who certainly was not beautiful (it was a poor basset hound) took offence in this. And so it was that the two animals could no longer stand each other; the dog started playing with other dogs, and the cat with a ball of wool. Their friendship ended forever, and they became enemies.

(Ercole Bonjean)

Translation by Chiara Amoretti

Close reading:
  1. Have cat and dog always been enemies?
No, the cat and the dog were once friends.
  1. What happened then?
One day the cat caught its reflection in a lake and thought it was the most beautiful animal.
  1. What was the cat’s attitude like after he started feeling like the most beautiful animal?
The cat started being vain and acting superior.
  1. How did the poor basset hound react?
The basset hound was offended and hurt.
  1. How does the story end?
The story ends with the dog playing with other dogs and the cat with a ball of wool: their friendship ended forever.


Textual interpretation

  1. Do you think the cat’s behaviour is fair?
No, the cat’s behaviour does not seem fair, as it did not have a reason to feel superior.
  1. How would you have reacted had you been in the dog’s place?
Had I been in the dog’s place, I would have continued to be the cat’s friend and tried to make it understand that it had no reason to feel superior.
  1. What do you need to do for a friendship to last?

You need to be very understanding, loyal, not litigious, but mostly to be respectful and kind to each other.

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