A Dark Brown Dog – Stephen Crane
“A Dark Brown Dog” is a very famous short story authored by Stephen Crane, an American poet and novelist author in the late 1800s. The story was penned in June 1893 and published in 1901.
The short story revolves around the relationship between a small dark brown dog and a poor, drunken man who roams the streets. The story explores themes of loyalty, cruelty, and the complexities of human-animal relationships. “A Dark Brown Dog” is a poignant short story that explores the relationship between a young boy and a stray dog. Written by Stephen Crane, this emotional narrative delves into themes of compassion, empathy, and the enduring bond between humans and animals. In this article, we will delve into the heartwarming story of and provide insightful answers to common questions related to the tale.
You can download a free PDF copy of “A Dark Brown Dog” right below. You can also download a PDF worksheet as well as the complete analysis below.
Table of contents – A Dark Brown Dog
- A Dark Brown Dog – Full text
- Plot, Summary and Analysis of A Dark Brown Dog
- Questions and Answers – A Dark Brown Dog
- A Dark Brown Dog – Worksheets PDF
- A Dark Brown Dog – PDF
- A Dark Brown Dog – Analysis PDF
If you want to read “The dark brown dog”, you might also like to read Lamb to the slaughter and The little match girl
The Little Dark Brown Dog
A Child was standing on a street-corner. He leaned with one shoulder against a high board-fence and swayed the other to and fro, the while kicking carelessly at the gravel.beat upon the cobbles, and a lazy summer wind raised yellow dust which trailed in clouds down the avenue. Clattering trucks moved with indistinctness through it. The child stood dreamily gazing.
After a time, a little dark-brown dog came trotting with an intent air down the sidewalk. A short rope was dragging from his neck. Occasionally he trod upon the end of it and stumbled.
He stopped opposite the child, and the two regarded each other. The dog hesitated for a moment, but presently he made some little advances with his tail. The child put out his hand and called him. In an apologetic manner the dog came close, and the two had an interchange of friendly pattings and waggles.
The dog became more enthusiastic with each moment of the interview, until with his gleeful caperings he threatened to overturn the child. Whereupon the child lifted his hand and struck the dog a blow upon the head.
This thing seemed to overpower and astonish the little dark-brown dog, and wounded him to the heart. He sank down in despair at the child’s feet. When the blow was repeated, together with an admonition in childish sentences, he turned over upon his back, and held his paws in a peculiar manner. At the same time with his ears and his eyes he offered a small prayer to the child.
Presently he struggled to his feet and started after the child.
He looked so comical on his back, and holding his paws peculiarly, that the child was greatly amused and gave him little taps repeatedly, to keep him so. But the little dark-brown dog took this chastisement in the most serious way, and no doubt considered that he had committed some grave crime, for he wriggled contritely and showed his repentance in every way that was in his power. He pleaded with the child and petitioned him, and offered more prayers.
At last the child grew weary of this amusement and turned toward home. The dog was praying at the time. He lay on his back and turned his eyes upon the retreating form.
Presently he struggled to his feet and started after the child. The latter wandered in a perfunctory way toward his home, stopping at times to investigate various matters. During one of these pauses he discovered the little dark-brown dog who was following him with the air of a footpad.
The child beat his pursuer with a small stick he had found. The dog lay down and prayed until the child had finished, and resumed his journey. Then he scrambled erect and took up the pursuit again.
On the way to his home the child turned many times and beat the dog, proclaiming with childish gestures that he held him in contempt as an unimportant dog, with no value save for a moment. For being this quality of animal the dog apologized and eloquently expressed regret, but he continued stealthily to follow the child. His manner grew so very guilty that he slunk like an assassin.
When the child reached his door-step, the dog was industriously ambling a few yards in the rear. He became so agitated with shame when he again confronted the child that he forgot the dragging rope. He tripped upon it and fell forward.
The child sat down on the step and the two had another interview. During it the dog greatly exerted himself to please the child. He performed a few gambols with such abandon that the child suddenly saw him to be a valuable thing. He made a swift, avaricious charge and seized the rope.
He dragged his captive into a hall and up many long stairways in a dark tenement. The dog made willing efforts, but he could not hobble very skillfully up the stairs because he was very small and soft, and at last the pace of the engrossed child grew so energetic that the dog became panic-stricken. In his mind he was being dragged toward a grim unknown. His eyes grew wild with the terror of it. He began to wiggle his head frantically and to brace his legs.
The child redoubled his exertions. They had a battle on the stairs. The child was victorious because he was completely absorbed in his purpose, and because the dog was very small. He dragged his acquirement to the door of his home, and finally with triumph across the threshold.
Presently he struggled to his feet and started after the child. No one was in. The child sat down on the floor and made overtures to the dog. These the dog instantly accepted. He beamed with affection upon his new friend. In a short time they were firm and abiding comrades.
When the child’s family appeared, they made a great row. The dog was examined and commented upon and called names. Scorn was leveled at him from all eyes, so that he became much embarrassed and drooped like a scorched plant. But the child went sturdily to the center of the floor, and, at the top of his voice, championed the dog. It happened that he was roaring protestations, with his arms clasped about the dog’s neck, when the father of the family came in from work.
The parent demanded to know what the blazes they were making the kid howl for. It was explained in many words that the infernal kid wanted to introduce a disreputable dog into the family.
A family council was held. On this depended the dog’s fate, but he in no way heeded, being busily engaged in chewing the end of the child’s dress.
The affair was quickly ended. The father of the family, it appears, was in a particularly savage temper that evening, and when he perceived that it would amaze and anger everybody if such a dog were allowed to remain, he decided that it should be so. The child, crying softly, took his friend off to a retired part of the room to hobnob with him, while the father quelled a fierce rebellion of his wife. So it came to pass that the dog was a member of the household.
He and the child were associated together at all times save when the child slept. The child became a guardian and a friend. If the large folk kicked the dog and threw things at him, the child made loud and violent objections. Once when the child had run, protesting loudly, with tears raining down his face and his arms outstretched, to protect his friend, he had been struck in the head with a very large saucepan from the hand of his father, enraged at some seeming lack of courtesy in the dog. Ever after, the family were careful how they threw things at the dog.
Moreover, the latter grew very skilful in avoiding missiles and feet. In a small room containing a stove, a table, a bureau and some chairs, he would display strategic ability of a high order, dodging, feinting and scuttling about among the furniture. He could force three or four people armed with brooms, sticks and handfuls of coal, to use all their ingenuity to get in a blow. And even when they did, it was seldom that they could do him a serious injury or leave any imprint.
But when the child was present, these scenes did not occur. It came to be recognized that if the dog was molested, the child would burst into sobs, and as the child, when started, was very riotous and practically unquenchable, the dog had therein a safeguard.
However, the child could not always be near. At night, when he was asleep, his dark-brown friend would raise from some black corner a wild, wailful cry, a song of infinite lowliness and despair, that would go shuddering and sobbing among the buildings of the block and cause people to swear. At these times the singer would often be chased all over the kitchen and hit with a great variety of articles.
Sometimes, too, the child himself used to beat the dog, although it is not known that he ever had what could be truly called a just cause. The dog always accepted these thrashings with an air of admitted guilt. He was too much of a dog to try to look to be a martyr or to plot revenge. He received the blows with deep humility, and furthermore he forgave his friend the moment the child had finished, and was ready to caress the child’s hand with his little red tongue.
When misfortune came upon the child, and his troubles overwhelmed him, he would often crawl under the table and lay his small distressed head on the dog’s back. The dog was ever sympathetic. It is not to be supposed that at such times he took occasion to refer to the unjust beatings his friend, when provoked, had administered to him.
He did not achieve any notable degree of intimacy with the other members of the family. He had no confidence in them, and the fear that he would express at their casual approach often exasperated them exceedingly. They used to gain a certain satisfaction in underfeeding him, but finally his friend the child grew to watch the matter with some care, and when he forgot it, the dog was often successful in secret for himself.
So the dog prospered. He developed a large bark, which came wondrously from such a small rug of a dog. He ceased to howl persistently at night. Sometimes, indeed, in his sleep, he would utter little yells, as from pain, but that occurred, no doubt, when in his dreams he encountered huge flaming dogs who threatened him direfully.
His devotion to the child grew until it was a sublime thing. He wagged at his approach; he sank down in despair at his departure. He could detect the sound of the child’s step among all the noises of the neighborhood. It was like a calling voice to him.
The scene of their companionship was a kingdom governed by this terrible potentate, the child; but neither criticism nor rebellion ever lived for an instant in the heart of the one subject. Down in the mystic, hidden fields of his little dog-soul bloomed flowers of love and fidelity and perfect faith.
The child was in the habit of going on many expeditions to observe strange things in the vicinity. On these occasions his friend usually jogged aimfully along behind. Perhaps, though, he went ahead. This necessitated his turning around every quarter-minute to make sure the child was coming. He was filled with a large idea of the importance of these journeys. He would carry himself with such an air! He was proud to be the retainer of so great a monarch.
One day, however, the father of the family got quite exceptionally drunk. He came home and held carnival with the cooking utensils, the furniture and his wife. He was in the midst of this recreation when the child, followed by the dark-brown dog, entered the room. They were returning from their voyages.
He was the picture of a little dark-brown dog en route to a friend.
The child’s practised eye instantly noted his father’s state. He dived under the table, where experience had taught him was a rather safe place. The dog, lacking skill in such matters, was, of course, unaware of the true condition of affairs. He looked with interested eyes at his friend’s sudden dive. He interpreted it to mean: Joyous gambol. He started to patter across the floor to join him. He was the picture of a little dark-brown dog en route to a friend.
The head of the family saw him at this moment. He gave a huge howl of joy, and knocked the dog down with a heavy coffee-pot. The dog, yelling in supreme astonishment and fear, writhed to his feet and ran for cover. The man kicked out with a ponderous foot. It caused the dog to swerve as if caught in a tide. A second blow of the coffee-pot laid him upon the floor.
Here the child, uttering loud cries, came valiantly forth like a knight. The father of the family paid no attention to these calls of the child, but advanced with glee upon the dog. Upon being knocked down twice in swift succession, the latter apparently gave up all hope of escape. He rolled over on his back and held his paws in a peculiar manner. At the same time with his eyes and his ears he offered up a small prayer.
But the father was in a mood for having fun, and it occurred to him that it would be a fine thing to throw the dog out of the window. So he reached down and grabbing the animal by a leg, lifted him, squirming, up. He swung him two or three times hilariously about his head, and then flung him with great accuracy through the window.
The soaring dog created a surprise in the block. A woman watering plants in an opposite window gave an involuntary shout and dropped a flower-pot. A man in another window leaned perilously out to watch the flight of the dog. A woman, who had been hanging out clothes in a yard, began to caper wildly. Her mouth was filled with clothes-pins, but her arms gave vent to a sort of exclamation. In appearance she was like a gagged prisoner. Children ran whooping.
The dark-brown body crashed in a heap on the roof of a shed five stories below. From thence it rolled to the pavement of an alleyway.
The child in the room far above burst into a long, dirgelike cry, and toddled hastily out of the room. It took him a long time to reach the alley, because his size compelled him to go downstairs backward, one step at a time, and holding with both hands to the step above….they found him seated by the body of his dark-brown friend.
When they came for him later, they found him seated by the body of his dark-brown friend.
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Moral of “A Dark Brown Dog”
- The moral of “A Dark Brown Dog” is that animals, like humans, have their own desires, emotions, and agency, and that they can form deep emotional bonds with humans.
- The story highlights the cruelty and violence that can be inflicted on animals, but also shows the potential for growth, transformation, and empathy in human-animal relationships.
- It suggests that our treatment of animals reflects our own values and morality, and that the bond between a human and an animal can inspire growth and understanding.
Analysis and Themes of “A Dark Brown Dog”
Here are the main themes of “A Dark Brown Dog” presented in bullet points with headings:
- The Complexity of Human-Animal Relationships
- The story highlights the complexity of the bond between humans and animals.
- It shows how animals have their own desires and agency, and can form deep emotional connections with humans.
- The dog in the story is portrayed as a sentient being with thoughts and feelings of its own.
- Loyalty and Cruelty
- The story portrays the dog as a symbol of loyalty, as it follows the man despite being mistreated.
- It also highlights the cruelty and violence that can be inflicted on animals, as the dog is beaten and kicked by the man’s family.
- The story shows how humans can be both cruel and kind towards animals, and suggests that our treatment of animals reflects our own values and morality.
- Transformation and Growth
- The story shows how the man’s relationship with the dog evolves over time.
- At first, he is indifferent and even hostile towards the dog, but he gradually becomes more affectionate and caring.
- The story suggests that the bond between a human and an animal can inspire growth, empathy, and understanding.
- Tragic Ending and Regret
- The story ends tragically with the man accidentally killing the dog.
- This highlights the vulnerability of animals in human society, and the potential for harm even in well-intentioned relationships.
- The man is filled with regret and sorrow over the dog’s death, emphasizing the emotional depth of the human-animal bond.
Summary of A Dark Brown Dog
In “A Dark Brown Dog,” a small dark brown dog encounters a poor, drunken man wandering the streets of a city. The dog follows the man to his home, where he is beaten and kicked by the man’s wife and children. Despite this, the dog remains loyal to the man, seeking his affection and following him wherever he goes.
Over time, the man’s relationship with the dog begins to evolve, and he becomes more affectionate and caring towards the dog. However, the story ends tragically with the man accidentally killing the dog, emphasizing the vulnerability of animals in human society.
Overall, the story explores the complexity of human-animal relationships, highlighting the potential for growth and understanding, but also the vulnerability of animals in human society. It encourages us to reflect on our own values and morality, and to treat animals with kindness and respect.
Questions and Answers – A Dark Brown Dog – Set 1
- Who is the author of the story “A Dark Brown Dog”?
- Stephen Crane is the author of the story “A Dark Brown Dog”.
- What is the story “A Dark Brown Dog” about?
- The story follows the journey of a small dark brown dog who forms a deep emotional bond with a poor, drunken man, despite being mistreated by the man’s wife and children.
- How does the man initially treat the dog?
- He is indifferent and even hostile towards the dog.
- What does the dog seek from the man?
- The dog seeks the man’s affection and follows him wherever he goes.
- How does the man’s relationship with the dog evolve over time?
- He becomes more affectionate and caring towards the dog.
Questions and Answers – A Dark Brown Dog – Set 2
- Who are the main characters in A Dark Brown Dog?
- The main characters of the story “A Dark Brown Dog” are the small dark brown dog and the poor, drunken man whom the dog follows and becomes attached to. The man’s wife and children also play a role in the story as they mistreat the dog despite its loyalty and affection towards the man.
- Is A Dark Brown Dog a tragedy or what genre of story is it?
- “A Dark Brown Dog” is a short story that can be classified as both a tragedy and a work of realism.
- What is the significance of the dog’s loyalty to the man?
- It emphasizes the idea that animals have their own desires, emotions, and agency, and can form deep emotional bonds with humans.
- How does the story portray the cruelty that can be inflicted on animals?
- The man’s wife and children mistreat the dog, beating and kicking it despite its loyalty and affection.
- What does the story suggest about the bond between a human and an animal?
- It suggests that the bond between a human and an animal can inspire growth, empathy, and understanding.
Questions and Answers – A Dark Brown Dog – Set 3
- How does the story end?
- Tragically, with the man accidentally killing the dog.
- What is the significance of the tragic ending of the story?
- It emphasizes the vulnerability of animals in human society and the potential for harm even in well-intentioned relationships.
- What questions does the story raise about the morality of our treatment of animals?
- The story raises important questions about the nature of human-animal relationships and the morality of our treatment of animals.
- What does the story suggest about the importance of treating animals with kindness and respect?
- It highlights the importance of treating animals with kindness and respect and emphasizes the emotional depth of the human-animal bond.
- What is the main theme of “A Dark Brown Dog”?
- The main theme of the story is the complexity of human-animal relationships.
Questions and Answers – A Dark Brown Dog – Set 4
- How does the story explore the emotional depth of the human-animal bond?
- It portrays the dog as a sentient being with thoughts and feelings of its own and emphasizes its loyalty and devotion to the man.
- What does the story suggest about the potential for growth and transformation in human-animal relationships?
- It suggests that the bond between a human and an animal can inspire growth, transformation, and empathy.
- What is the significance of the man’s initial indifference towards the dog?
- It emphasizes the potential for growth and change in human-animal relationships.
- How does the story emphasize the vulnerability of animals in human society?
- It portrays the cruelty and violence that can be inflicted on animals and the potential for harm even in well-intentioned relationships.
- What is the significance of the dog’s tragic ending in the story?
- It emphasizes the importance of treating animals with kindness and respect and the vulnerability of animals in human society.
- How does the story suggest that our treatment of animals reflects our own values and morality?
- It implies that our treatment of animals reflects our own values and morality and that the bond between a human and an animal can inspire growth and understanding.
- What is the message of “A Dark Brown Dog”?
- The story encourages us to reflect on our own values and morality, and to treat animals with kindness and respect.
A Dark Brown Dog– Worksheet PDF
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A Dark Brown Dog – Short story – PDF
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