top-rated free essay

Dog's Death

By charsand2 Apr 11, 2013 1057 Words
Analysis of John Updike “Dog’s Death”
Charlotte Schroeder
Ashford University
ENG 125
Instructor Abby Forster

Death is such an intense feeling to describe. Losing a loved one cannot always be put into words. However, in John Updike’s poem “Dog’s Death” (1953) he speaks of the loss of his best friend, family member, and companion that hurts your heart in the words he chose to explain this horrible feeling. I have lost a pet and it felt like I lost a family member after his death. I felt such turmoil and distress from it. Throughout this paper I will elaborate more on these intense feelings from my loss and will analyze the literary work from John Updike’s narrative poem “Dog’s Death”. I will explain why I selected this poem and what analytical approach was taken from me. I will evaluate the meaning of the poem “Dog’s Death” to show the readers how powerful the content, form, and style of the writer is. The family in this narrative poem loved their pet and grieved for their loss. I chose John Updike’s poem “Dog’s Death” since it grabbed my attention from a similar loss I encountered. It invoked an emotional feeling from the family’s loss and dog’s death. No one can ever understand this feeling or have these emotions unless they have been through a dog’s death or have even lost a family member. I lost my mother about two years ago from a long battle of diabetes and will always remember how it felt when I heard the news. My mother was my best friend and she will always be with me. I have also lost a dog that our family had for 10 years named Ode. She was also like a best friend and was so loyal to me in any situation that accrued. However, my family and I went on a vacation to California and while we were gone our family’s neighbor poisoned her with raw fish since she was getting into her trash can. This was like the use of personifications in Updike’s poem “She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.” (cited in Clugston, 2010, 1) Our veterinarian found this out by doing an autopsy on Ode similar to the poem also, “The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver”. (cited in Clugston, 2010, 2) Even though I was young I still to this day can feel the horrible emotion when I was told the news of my dog’s death. “Through literature we can explore human experiences deeply and search for meaning.” (cited in Clugston, 2010) While I read Updike’s poem “Dog’s Death” I applied a formalism approach for analyzing this narrative poem. It reflects the empathy, symbolism, and imagery to set the tone for this heartbreaking story. The author really made his life emotions come out into his story since he showed the reader how heart broke his family’s loss was due to their dog’s death. “Those who create literature may make some use of literal definitions and factual descriptions of things, but the appeal and magic in their works are fashioned by the word pictures, feelings, and exquisite detail they develop to let us know how particular things look in their minds.” (cited in Clugston, 2010) I feel that the poem used sympathy for the dogs suffering and created empathy for the family’s loss of a pet. The poem states “We found her twisted and limp but still alive. In the car to the vet’s, on my lap, she tired.” (cited in Florgund, 2011, 11) Therefore, the story gets to the point of going through this tragic event with their dog his dying on his lap. I felt the same when I was faced with my dog dying and had to be put down due to poisoning. The tone that is set with the reader makes you feel that our dogs will try and be there for you even if they are suffering and dying. It is a fear that also arises by making you as the owner feel like you have to take control and save this poor dog’s life. The poem states “And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.” (cited in Clugston, 2010, 14) This makes the reader feel emotions and sympathy for the other owner by letting you know she is in tears. I cried and cried after the loss of my dog Ode and could not cry enough to get her back. Since dogs do everything to protect their owners, owners feel the need to protect their dogs from dangerous situations. I know I was not there to protect my dog, but really regret it. I know I will make sure to look after my new dogs much more closely. At the end of the poem Updike explains with deep emotions and imagery that the dog tired to keep herself from not going to the bathroom on the floor, “Of diarrhea and had dragged across the floor.” (cited in Clugston, 2010, 19) This message and tone implied that from the training she had not to go to the bathroom on the floor, but to use the newspaper. With all her might she dragged herself to the newspaper and wanted to get her owners approval even though it was her last dying breath. This touched my heart since a dog will always try to get your trust and approval from a phrase “good dog”. John Updike really showed how a good dog could be and set the tone with the family’s heart breaking tragedy of their dog’s death. I can relate to this poem through his amazing words that were used of sympathy and great emotions from my dog’s death. The meaning of the poem really stands out with the imagery and fantastic style that he used. No owner should have to go through a pain like this since losing a dog is like a family member. Furthermore, this family showed how strong a bond can be with their pet and can bring great emotions forever.

Clugston, R.W. (2010). Journey into literature. Retrieved from:
John Updike. (2012). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from: March 10, 2011 by Florgund Retrieved from:

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • A Dog's Death Analysis

    ...Dog’s Death Analysis Cillia Rivera ENG: 125 Introduction to Literature Professor: Corey King September 30, 2012 Dog’s Death Analysis The reason why I chose to write about of A Dog’s Death, is because it reminds me of a dog that I had growing up. Whenever the dog got sick my brothers, sisters and I would always think the worst ...

    Read More
  • Death

    ... “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Death of Ivan Ilych” both portray a character who is dealing with a serious terminal illness and advance knowledge of their deaths. One story is based on the realistic life of an American professor with the story’s characteristics tone from the 1990’s while the other is set during nineteenth century...

    Read More
  • Death

    ...Stephanie Vasquez English April 27, 2013 Literary Argument Famous American writer Ernest Hemingway is known for his almost stoic attitude toward death. He believed that every man's life ends in the same way; the difference is in how they lived. In his book "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," the main character, Harry, is dying from gangrene at...

    Read More
  • Death by Choice

    ...Death by Choice Some people fear that death means the end of life, and others believe death is just a mere phase to eternal existence. According to the poem; “Death, Be Not Proud” by John Donne, he clarifies death has no power over an individual. Death is just a temporary sleep leading to everlasting life, or could this death be the end? ...

    Read More
  • The Road- Death

    ...The Road Essay The thought of death is different for every person. Some look at it as peaceful, while others are scared of leaving their lives behind. Death is a strong theme in the book, The Road. The man and the son are faced with death on a daily basis, in their own lives, and in watching others lives on the road. The theme of death in The R...

    Read More
  • Death be not proud

    ...In John Donne’s Holy Sonnet X, Death be not proud, death is apostrophized, or directly addressed as though it were a person rather than an abstraction. The speaker remonstrates with death not to display pride, as humans do when others hail them as “Mighty and dreadful.” In lines 1 and 2, the speaker insists death is neither all-powerful...

    Read More
  • Death and fear

    ... Why do we Fear Death? Why do we Fear Death? Many of us fear death to some degree at some point of our lives. To some it’s as early as teenage years, and to others, it’s later in their mid 30’s. We as individuals see fear and death at different levels. Before I get in detail, lets first define death and fear, t...

    Read More
  • The Phenomenology of Death

    ...THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF DEATH The first time happened eleven years ago, I was 7 years old that time. Everyone was crying and hugging each other. Some were talking to me, with tears in their eyes, uttering words I cannot understand. My mother was crying, too. Then I cried, though it was not clear to me what was happening. I just saw my father l...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.