Author: Keith Baker

Plot Summary: A tiger makes its way through the jungle, as all the other animals are scared of “the beast.” The tiger sees its reflection in the water, and asks, “Am I the beast, could the beast be me?” The tiger then retraces its steps through the jungle, realizing that it shares similar characteristics with all of the other jungle animals who were scared of it. At the end, the tiger reflects, “Who is the beast? Now I see. We all are beasts--you and me.”

Posted In: Animal Rights, Ethics, Metaphysics

Discussion Questions:

Are all animals beasts?

What makes something a beast?

Are the people in this room beasts?

Can we have beasts inside of us? (In our mind, actions, thoughts, fears, etc.)

Why do we think things that scare us are bad?

Have you ever thought you were really different from someone else, and then realized that you aren’t? When?

What’s the difference between an animal and a beast?

What makes something “wild”?

Does eating meat make one a beast?

Can we eat meat and still love animals?

How do animal lifestyles, habitats, forms of communication, and needs reflect and contrast with our own? What does this tell us about them and ourselves?

Why is the human species so fascinated with nonhuman species?

 

Activity:

  1. Before showing students the book, first have students draw a picture of a beast on a blank piece of paper. Allow students to draw whatever a “beast” might mean to them.
  1. Read Who Is the Beast? by Keith Baker. Students generate questions, and vote on a question to jumpstart the discussion.
  1. After engaging in philosophical discussion, students go back to their desks to draw another picture, on the flipside of their piece of paper, of their conceptualization of a beast. Students then write a description of why they think their picture is a beast, and why their picture is different or the same from their first drawing.
  1. Students have the opportunity to share their drawings and written responses with the whole class.

This lesson plan was contributed by Maia Bernstein.