The Cat’s out of the Tree: Idea Trait

Part 1

Let’s take a look at how the story “How To Get a Cat out of a Tree” uses the writing component of ideas. On Monday, we said that the idea, or main message, “should be made clear to the reader at the outset, and it should be developed and supported throughout the work.”

This story seems to be a “how to” article. As such, the title simply states the topic of the piece. The first paragraph of Part 1, after giving some background information, closes by restating the main idea.

The story develops the idea chronologically beginning with the third paragraph. We find out how a cat got stranded in a tree, and we see the narrator try a variety of actions to get her down. Sensory details, such as the kitten’s meow, the height of the tree, and the image of the narrator dragging a tall ladder through underbrush help the reader become involved with the story. The information about the bobcat helps the reader understand the narrator’s anxiety. Part 1 ends with the cat safely on the ground, but not because of anything our narrator did. We have to wait for Part 2 to find out the technique to which the title refers.

Part 2

Part 2 picks the story up after a few weeks and again sets up the cat-in-a-tree situation. This time, the cat’s perch is higher and the wait is longer, but the narrator’s restraint is considerably looser. Again, details bring the story to life and reinforce the topic. We see the narrator “plowing” through the woods, the cat calling “pitifully,” and the storm heightening the drama.

The last few sentences finally reveal the solution and finish the idea. This brings the story full circle–and the cat out of the tree.

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