June 22, 2013
Ron Hansen’s Use of Characterization in “My Kid’s Dog”
Character is a very important element of fiction because without characters, a story falls apart because readers only care about the plot and other aspects of fiction because of how it affects a character or characters. Characterization is the process with which the writer reveals the personality of a character or characters. Characterization can also help reveal the relationship between characters and how they feel about each other. If a writer knows how to use characterization properly, he or she can really bring the story and characters to life for the reader. “My Kid’s Dog” by Ron Hansen is an excellent example of how characterization can make a story more real for the reader. Through characterization, Hansen reveals the plot of the story, he reveals the animosity between the narrator and Sparky the dog, and he also uses it throughout the story to make the events that take place more vivid for the reader.
At the very beginning of the story, Hansen reveals part of the plot in the first sentence, “My kid’s dog died.” (466) The rest of the plot isn’t revealed until a little further in the story. “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.” (466) By revealing the plot through the characters, Hansen makes it easy for the reader to see what the story is going to be about and he also reveals to the reader who the main characters of the story are going to be.
Hansen also uses characterization in this story as a means of revealing how the narrator feels about Sparky the dog and how the narrator and the dog have a stressed relationship at best. At the very beginning of the story, this relationship is described in great detail. In the first sentence, the narrator states that his kid’s dog died and then he says “I hated that dog”. (466) He then lets the reader...
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