The story “The Child by Tiger” is about the mysteries that revolve around Dick Prosser. Dick, a new worker of the Sheppertons, in the earlier part of the story, is kind, gentle, tender and hardworking. The narrator and his friends are very pleased with him. However, Dick has changed into a cold-blooded murderer suddenly, and kills nine people. The story is told from the first person, objective, minor character (limited) point of view, that is Spangler’s when he was a young boy. Spangler, from this point of view, does not give any comment, interpretation or description of the feelings and thoughts of the major character, Dick Prosser.
In the story “The Child by Tiger”, the author uses the first person,
objective, minor character point of view to let the readers consider who
Dick is, to shape the theme, and to develop the plot. As the story is
narrated from the eyes of young Spangler, we can see that he admires
Dick very much then, “… it seemed to us boys that there was very little
that Dick could not do (para.6)” and “We were all so proud of him (para.
12).” For him, Dick is good at everything, and has taught he and his
friends a lot of things, such as playing football and boxing. Spangler
also sees Dick as tender and careful, as he says, “There was something
amazingly tender and watchful about him (para. 7).”
Though Spangler admires Dick, he also sees Dick as a mysterious man.
Spangler is amazed as he describes “And yet? He went too softly, at too
swift pace (para. 13).” It is also puzzling to him to hear the way Dick
sometimes talk to them; “There would almost moan when he talk to us,…
(para. 15).” The biggest mystery that Spangler faces is why Dick kills
all the nine men that night.
Besides that, the point of view also helps to shape the theme. Dick,
the major character, is at first a good and kind man, but later changes
to become a cold-blooded murderer. From there, we can infer that one of
the themes is the mysteries of the human soul which sometimes cannot be
Another reason perhaps why the writer uses the first person point of
view is that it helps to develop the plot. The story is about how young
Spangler sees Dick changes from a kind and gentle man at first, to a
cold-blooded murderer. As he narrates the story, we can see that there
are two major conflicts; the physical and emotional conflict. The
physical conflict is when the white men hunt down Dick after Dick starts
killing people. The emotional conflict is the conflict Dick has in
himself, as the reader can interpret from the story. One possible
explanation is that Dick has felt that he has failed to change the
attitudes of the town people. The cruelty of slavery and oppression. It leads him to depression which has
caused him to run amok; he lets his anger to overcome his kindness. Dick
has tried to control himself earlier, as we can see from the accident
he has with Mr. Everett – he does not fight back. However, having been
oppressed for so long, he losses his cool, as witnessed by young
As a whole, we can say that the first person point of view is
effective in allowing the readers to judge Dick Prosser by themselves,
and what has made him the way he is in the end.