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A Literary Analysis Of My Kids Dog Essay

Ron Hansen’s short story, My Kid’s Dog, is meant to be a funny story about revenge, irony, and hatred. This typical story is about a man who hate his children’s dog. Throughout the story the father tells us about the dog from his experience and his relationship with it. The father also comes across as though he does not realize why his wife and kids are so fond of the dog and does not take kindly to the fact that the dog acts perfect around them. In the story the dad uses sarcasm and irony to explain to the audience the things the dog has done that makes him feel how he does towards him.

In the beginning of the story the narrator made it very clear by stating, “My kid’s dog died. Sparky. I hated that dog. The feeling was mutual. ” (Hansen). By doing this I had a better understanding of how the text was supposed to be taken. In my performance I used six chairs and formed them into a seating area to set that casual scene of a living room. I decided to do this so that the audience would know that I am telling a story that already happened instead of telling the story as it is happening.

Using Burke’s Dramatic Pentad I will analyze the text to understand the story and the speech and how it ties into the performance. The first tenant of the pentad that I am going to identify is scene. There are multiple scenes that can be taken away from this short story. The first would be the living room and other locations within the house, “The so-called accidents in the house. His nose snuffling into my Brooks Brothers trousers. Him slurping my fine Pilsner beer or sneaking bites of my “Dagwood sandwich when I fell asleep on the sofa” (Hansen).

At the beginning of the story the father was ranting on about all the annoying things the dog has done while he was the house. The next major location that can be taken from the text is the front-yard, “I was futzing with the hinges on the front-yard gate” (Hansen). This is where most of the story takes place from this point on in the story. The father find the dog laying down in the shade more mellow than he usually is when he is around and shortly after found out that the 10 year old dog passed away, “And not so much as a flutter in his oddly abstracted face.

Surely this was the big sleep, I thought. ” (Hansen). From here the narrator transitions the scenes from being at his house to other part in the neighborhood, “… my right arm gradually inching longer than my left, it was all I could do not to heave the suitcase containing Wonderdog into and haulaway behind the Chinese restaurant. ” (Hansen). The father was in the process of carried a suitcase with the deceased dog stuffed inside and was taking his to the veterinarian.

This is also the part of the story when the dad got a sudden affection for the family dog and decided to appreciate all the good things that the dog has done for the family and the happiness that he brought them. “With him seemed clam, masterful, and uneccentric… Without him, I thought, I would be otherwise. ” (Hansen) The next tenant of the pentad that I will identify is act. The most important acts that I notice in the story are the ones that showed the fathers lack of love for the dog and also his sudden appreciation for him as well.

One of the acts was that I took meaning from was the act of the dad nonchalantly stuffing the dog into a suitcase as if he has little to no respect for the dog at all. “I went into the house and found an old leather suitcase in the attic, then stuffed the mutt into the larger flapped compartment before hefting him on his final journey to those veterinary rooms he always shivered in. ” (Hansen). When reading this part of the story I got the interpretation that the author did this to really show us how much the father despised the family pet.

However, later on in the story the father showed a sense of gratitude towards the dog, “I had developed a grudging affection for our pet; he who’d been so quick to defend my kith and kin… ” (Hansen). Towards the end of the story the father came to a realization that the family dog meant more to him than he actually thought. Another point that stood out to me in the story was when the father was telling his daughter that they could get another dog, “as I held her close she begged me to get her another dog just like Sparky. And that was Sparky’s final revenge, for I said, “Okay, honey.

Another dog, just like n. ” (Hansen). This act stood out to me because although the father despised the dog he agreed to get another one just like him at his daughter’s request. This shows the more sensitive side of the father because at the end of the day he wants to make his daughter happy. Whereas, in the beginning of the story he was relieved that the dog was finally gone and he wasn’t taking how his family was going to feel about the situation into consideration. The third tenant is agent. The agent in this story the main character, the father.

In this short story the fathers purpose is to find a way to prevent the family from seeing the dog dead. “Were I to bury Rover with due haste and dispatch I could forestall the waterworks, even convince them that he’d signed up with the circus, run afoul of Cruella de Vil – anything but died. ” (Hansen), the father knows how much the family pet means to his wife and children so he goes out of his way to remove the dead dog out of the backyard so his family doesn’t see it. The dog can also be an agent in the since the story is based around his whole character.

Although the dog was not alive in the story and did not play an active his character played a major role in aiding the decisions of the father and was the reason behind his motives. The dog also played a comedic character through the father’s voice. The father would say things like mention things the dog did like, “And then the holes in the yard. The so-called accidents in the house. His nose snuffling into my Brooks Brothers trousers. Him slurping my fine Pilsner beer or sneaking bites of my Dagwood sandwich when I fell asleep on the sofa. (Hansen), by saying these things about the dog the audience can sense the humor in the relationship.

The fourth tenant to identify is agency, this is how the agent achieved his or her goal. In this short story the father was the agent with the goal. The father’s goal was to get rid of the dead dog before his family came home and noticed that he passed away. Throughout the story the father isn’t taking the death of the dog seriously as is joking saying things such as, “convince them that he’d signed up with the circus… ” (Hansen).

He is using this as a technique to cover up the fact the family dogs was actually dead. From this point on he continues to change the dogs location from the garden, to the passenger seat in the car, to the driveway, and then to a suitcase. The father used these tools to perform his act of taking care of the deceased dog. His attitude towards the dog may have also played a part in how he handled the death of the dog. By desensitizing himself to the death of the dog he was able to take care of what he need to before the family got back home. The final tenant of the pentad is purpose.

The father’s purpose in the story is to deal with removing the deceased family dog from the yard and handling the dirty work that the man of other house would usually do. The intentions of the father are to express his hatred for the dog through personal expression. A statement that stood out was when the father was talking about the dog’s death for the first time, “And then, at age ten, and none too soon, he kicked the bucket. You’d think that would be it. End of story. But no, he had to get even. ” (Hansen), this statement always us to have a greater understanding of how much the father didn’t care about the dog passing away.

Another purpose the father seemed to have was to inflate his ego and talking about the things he does. After the father buried the dog in the backyard he talked about himself as if he did something so extravagant and manly. He went on to say, I was feeling good about myself, heroic, as if, miraculously, compassion and charity had invaded not only my bones but my sinewy muscle tissues. I fixed myself a tall glass of gin and tonic and watched the first quarter of the USC football game. ” (Hansen). I interpreted this as the father trying to feel like the man of the house again because the dog was no longer around.

I also took this statement as the father felt like he would get some of his families attention back because it was no longer on the dog anymore. In conclusion, I really enjoyed this short story by Ron Hansen. I like the sense of sarcasm and humor that came along with the story. I feel like those elements made a basic story that could have been told in a few minutes into something that was more interesting to read. I feel like this was one of the reasons why I kept my performance so simple so that the audience would capture the simplicity and also be able to focus on the humor that came with the text.

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