Introduction & Overview of Menagerie, a Child's Fable

Charles Johnson
This Study Guide consists of approximately 48 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Menagerie, a Child's Fable.
This section contains 289 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Menagerie, a Child's Fable Study Guide

Menagerie, a Child's Fable Summary & Study Guide Description

Menagerie, a Child's Fable Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on Menagerie, a Child's Fable by Charles Johnson.

"Menagerie, a Child's Fable," by Charles Johnson, was first published in a magazine in 1984, and reprinted in the short story collection The Sorcerer's Apprentice in 1986. Although it is subtitled "A Child's Fable," "Menagerie, a Child's Fable" is aimed at the adult reader and addresses serious social and political issues.

"Menagerie, a Child's Fable" takes place in a pet store where the main character, a German shepherd named Berkeley, works as a watchdog. One day the owner of the shoppe does not show up as usual, and the animals conclude that he is dead. After several days, Berkeley, who is the only one not confined to a cage, frees the other animals so they can get to the food supplies. Once all of the animals are released from captivity and must learn to live together, they begin to compete for the food supplies, to threaten one another with violence, and even to prey on one another. Berkeley tries to keep the peace, and to protect the more vulnerable animals from the predators, but the situation becomes more and more chaotic. Berkeley finally falls asleep from exhaustion and has a dream that the owner has returned to the shoppe and praises the dog for doing a good job of keeping the peace. When Berkeley wakes up, Monkey is holding a gun and shoots him in the chest. As Berkeley lies on the floor bleeding to death, a fire spreads throughout the shop.

"Menagerie, a Child's Fable" is a fable using animal characters in the setting of a pet shoppe to comment on the state of humanity as a diverse global community. The story addresses themes of freedom and oppression, racism and pluralism, democracy and fascism, and war and peace.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 289 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Menagerie, a Child's Fable Study Guide
Menagerie, a Child's Fable from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook