Dog’s Death Analysis
ENG125 – English Literature
Prof Kristen McClure
December 10, 2012
Dog’s Death by John Updike really touched me when I read it for the first time. His use of imagery in this poem is very touching. He makes the reader relate to the death of the dog by showing through his words the emotions of what the dog is going through as well as what his owners are feeling. This paper will show how I think the author was trying to use imagery to show the love between the dog and his owners.
The reader-response approach in literary criticism is where the author “finds a personal link or imaginative entry into a story, poem, or play” (Clugston, 2010). I believe that this approach would be the best type of literary criticism for this poem. “The author uses symbolism, empathy, and imagery designed to reveal the tone I observed. He must have designed from a real life experience to have created such a well-developed description of human heartache by the death of his pet” (Trinity Wilbourn, 2011). It touched my heart so much because over the years, we have had 2 dogs that have passed. It is a very emotional time and I think that in this poem where he states “And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears (John Updike, 1958)”, tells how much the dog was loved by his owners. It starts when you first bring the puppy home and go through the training process. The love grows unconditionally. Like the poem states, “Too young to know much, she was beginning to learn (John Updike, 1958), she didn’t know any better to stay away from the street, so there for by being kicked or brushed by a car, no one will ever know. The puppy only knows that when she’s good, she gets praised, so she tries to impress its owners. “The final lines in his poem create an initial feeling of sympathy, which is likely to become empathy if the reader reflects on the dog's predicament in not being able to communicate its final struggle” (Clugston, 2010). This...
References: Armbruster, K. (2002). “Good Dog”: The Stories We Tell about Our Canine Companions
And What They Mean for Humans and Other Animals”. Retrieved from:
Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education,
Inc. Retrieved from:
Wilbourn, T. (2011). “No Shame in a Good Dog”. Retrieved from:
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