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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

  • Alfred Hitchcock based his film version of ‘‘The Birds’’ in part on two separate incidents in California when large groups of gulls broke into homes and smashed into car windows, as noted by Camille Paglia in her critical assessment of the film. Research these incidents and any others you can find on documented bird attacks. How realistic are the attacks in the story as compared to the real-life incidents? How could the behavior of the birds be explained?
  • While Hitchcock maintained the tension of the story in his film version, he dramatically changed the plot. Do you think a successful film version could be made that would retain most of the story's plot elements? How would you go about filming a more accurate version of the story?
  • Americans on the home front never had to live through the bombing raids that the British endured during World War II. Research the psychological effect these raids had on the population.
  • In the story, the government can find no way to control or get rid of the birds. Investigate possible ways authorities could have stopped the attacks or at least protected the victims.