The Dog That Bit People
1. Define: anecdotes and juxtaposition
2. Who is the only person in Thurber’s family never bitten by Muggs?
3. Briefly summarize the anecdote about Muggs and the mice.
4. Describe how Muggs eats his meals. Why does he eat this way?
5. Tell what Muggs does in his last year.
6. Describe the portrait of Muggs that Thurber creates.
7. What is Thurber’s primary purpose in writing the story?
8. Why does Thurber start with anecdotes about other dogs at the beginning of the
9. How does Mother deal with Muggs?
10. Why does Mother attend the lecture on “Harmonious Vibrations”?
11. Why doesn’t the family get rid of Muggs?
12. Explain how Thurber uses eggageration to make his reader’s laugh.
13. Show how Thurber creates humor by treating a silly situation as if it were serious.
In his essay "The Dog That Bit People," James Thurber describes a cantankerous family dog named Muggs. Find out more about Muggs's breed, Airedale Terrier, and how the characteristics of this breed might contribute to Muggs's personality. Read the profiles of the Airedale at the following Web sites:
Puppy-dog Web provides a breed description as well as some statistical facts.
Airedale Terriers is a comprehensive resource for this breed and also provides related
links to other informative sites.
Then write a 1-page essay on characteristics of an Airedale Terrier. Also include some tips on how one should go about selecting another pet in the future. Use Selecting a Dog
to help you write these tips.
"The Dog That Bit People," James Thurber
1. Who is the only person in the author's family never bitten by Muggs? Thurber is the only person who has not been bitten.
Thurber's brother, Roy is the only person who has not been bitten. Mother is the only person who has not been bitten.
2. Which of the following describes Muggs's habits?
Muggs eats at a table because he will bite if his food is left on the floor. Muggs eats his meals out of Mother's hands.
Muggs eats his meals at a table because he refuses to eat anything from the floor.
3. Which of the following best characterizes the portrait of Muggs that the author paints?
Muggs is a crazy, sweet dog.
Muggs is a vicious attack dog.
Muggs is a temperamental, spoiled dog.
4. Why doesn't the family get rid of Muggs?
The family keeps Muggs because no one will take Muggs.
The family keeps Muggs because Mother loves Muggs.
The family keeps Muggs because Muggs would refuse to go.
5. How would the author characterize his relationship with Muggs? He enjoys Muggs's zany behavior.
He tolerates Muggs but avoids coming into conflict with him. He is indifferent to the presence of Muggs.