9 May 2011
My Kid’s Dog and Irony
Ron Hansen’s work, My Kid’s Dog, is a story about revenge, irony, and circularity. The family pet, Sparky, dies. We are informed of this in the first lines of the piece, “My kid’s dog died. Sparky. I hated that dog (244).” Here Hansen gives us a clue to their relationship, “We got off on the wrong foot. Whining in his pen those first nights. My squirt gun in his face and him blinking from the water. And then the holes in the yard. The so-called accidents in the house (244).” Right off the bat we get a clear sense of the mood between the two.
Hansen also foreshadows the fact that the dog will somehow get revenge on the narrator, “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 (245).” We return to this theme when the story concludes.
The dog soon dies and the narrator, told from the first person perspective, recounts the events of that day. After he finds the dog dead in the yard, he readily wraps him up in a tarp and buries him behind the family garden. Once back in the house, he second guesses his haste in disposing of the body. He soon returns to the burial spot and exhumes the body. With spade in hand, he sends it down on the dog’s head, releasing any doubts as to whether or not the dog was dead. The dog’s ‘revenge’ soon acts on the narrator again, this time causing him to think about what he would tell his children, and whether or not his excuse would make any sense. Once the neighbor calls informing him that there was a chance the dog could have rabies, it gave the narrator the perfect excuse to, once again, march out to the backyard and dig up the family dog.
The action now begins to build as the narrator attempts to transport the dog to the vet to have a legitimate excuse for the family. Complications continue to get in the way in the form of the family vehicle being...
Cited: Shapard, Robert; Thomas, James. New Sudden Fiction: Short Stories From America and Beyond. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007. Print
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