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What does this title suggest about

what the story is about?

Ming’s Biggest Prey


Who do you think
Ming is? Who do
you think is Ming’s
‘prey’?
Look at the clues below. Can you work out a plot
from them?

• Main characters: Elaine, Teddy, Ming


• Setting: Acapulco in Mexico
• Plot elements: a boat cabin, a precious
necklace, Elaine’s house, a death
Let’s read the first two pages of the
story
• What do we learn about Ming in this first part
of the story?
• Write down 5 words and phrases that describe
Ming on white board.
Write a paragraph (Option 1)
• Use your notes to write a paragraph about
what we learn about Ming in the first two
pages of the story. Use quotes to support your
points.
Write a paragraph
(Option 2)

• The story is told mostly from Ming’s perspective in the


third person. We call this third person limited
perspective.
• How different would it be if the story was told in the
first person? Try rewriting the first paragraph of the
story in the first person as though Ming was telling the
story to a friend. Then compare your version with the
original. Which do you prefer and why?

Write it in your exercise books.


Possible themes
• What do you think the story will be about
now you have read the opening?
• Can you detect any possible themes (ideas)
that Highsmith may explore in the story?
Lesson Objective: To understand how Ming
works as a character we are interested in

Animals have personalities, too. Think of an


animal you know and describe its behaviour to
your classmate.
In some ways, Ming is a typical animal
Highlight some phrases which show his animal
nature:
• Ming’s actions - verbs such as purred, let his
tongue slide out, ….
• His sharp senses, e.g. smell – Teddie’s smell, …
• His appearance - Four paws, …
• The way people treat him - ….
In some ways, Ming is a typical animal
Highlight some phrases which show his animal nature:
Ming’s actions - verbs such as purred, let his tongue slide
out, he moved gracefully, leapt, lying in a relaxed curve
His sharp senses, e.g smell – Teddie’s smell, Elaine’s
perfume, sense of hearing is sharp – likes the sounds of
Elaine’s washing dishes, hears what Teddy is doing –
splash and plop, hears Teddy coming back, animal instinct
His appearance - Four paws – references to animal’s
body, his ears ‘twitched’, fur,
The way people treat him – he is ‘picked up’ / people
‘stroke’ him roughly
In other ways, Ming is more human-
like. We call this anthropomorphic
Here are some words and phrases which make Ming seem rather human-
like. Can you say why they seem human and not cat-like?

‘Ming took it calmly. Dignity was to be preserved’


‘Ming sense that Teddie took it as a hostile gesture of
some kind, which was why Ming did it deliberately’ –

(Ming didn’t like )‘people who separated him from


Elaine

Elaine ‘cradled’ Ming in her arms.


In other ways, Ming is more human-
like. We call this anthropomorphic
Here are some words and phrases which make Ming seem rather human-like. Can
you say why they seem human and not cat-like?

‘Ming took it calmly. Dignity was to be preserved’


-sounds rather fussy and unusual for a cat to worry about his ‘dignity’

‘Ming sensed that Teddie took it as a hostile gesture of some


kind, which was why Ming did it deliberately’ –
- animals normally behave by instinct, but this shows thinking and planning (like a
human)

(Ming didn’t like )‘people who separated him from Elaine’ –


Ming experiences human feelings – jealousy

Elaine ‘cradled’ Ming in her arms. – Ming is treated like a human child
by Elaine.
Read the rest of the story.
Think about how Highsmith builds tension between
Ming and Teddie
List the steps in their deteriorating relationship:
1 In the very first sentence of the story, Ming
is roughly stuck out on the hot deck on the boat
by Teddie.
2 Ming doesn’t like the way Teddie looks at
him.
3
Vs
Why does the fight
occur, in your
opinion?
Why does Teddy want to hurt Ming?
Why does Ming decide to fight Teddy,
rather than just escape?
Who do you root for – Teddy or Ming? Why?
Which adjectives would you use to describe Ming from
your understanding of his character so far?

• Aim for 10!


Teddy and Elaine’s relationship
What have we learned about the relationship
between Elaine and Teddy?
1 How does it described at the start of the
story?
2 What happens on the boat?
3 What happens back at the house?
4 How does Elaine respond to Teddy’s death?
Creative writing

What do you imagine Elaine


was thinking when she stroked
Ming’s head at the end of the
story? Write her diary for that
day. Is there any suggestion in
the story that she is aware
Ming caused Teddie’s death?
Effect on readers

 When Ming kills Teddie he is pleased


with himself, stands up tall and
‘inhaled the aroma of his victory
with a lifted nose’. How do we, the
readers, feel about Ming now? Is our
reaction to him the same as earlier
in the story or has it changed?
What kind of a story is this?

 If you had to briefly describe what


kind of a story this is, what would
you say?
 Do you think the plot is realistic?
Could a cat attack a man in this way
and cause his death? Why?/Why not?
 What do you think the author is
trying to show through her story?