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No one yet saw the connection between my father dissecting dogs and my sister talking to them. (502)

“Talking Dog” by Francine Prose portrays the challenge of envy, or someone having something that you want. Through the first person perspective of the speaker, she looks back into her life about the time when she thought she was in love with her sister’s boyfriend, Jimmy. While they were dating Jimmy was sent to the Vietnam war, and after a mistake in the system he was pronounced dead, which devastated the speaker and her sister. During the speaker’s sister is grieving over her loss, she is told to have talked to a white dog that appeared in the yard. The story mentioned how dogs symbolized a message from the dead in many cultures, and perhaps it was her sister’s thought of losing Jimmy that caused her to cling to something for hope in relief from her sadness, or for him to return. In relation to the situation the white dog could have also symbolized guidance, or loyalty between the sister and her boyfriend. The sister had once said the dog had told her to go to Florida, which, during the climax of the story, she leaves her husband to run away with Jimmy to Florida. The color of the dog being white often symbolizes, in dreams, looking retrospectively into ones self for leadership through a current situation; one could say, if the sister had followed her instinct, stayed loyal to her boyfriend, perhaps some of her misery could have been avoided during that time of the war. During this time the speaker is envious of her sister, thinking she had forgotten about Jimmy when she got married to someone else, and envious that she wasn’t married yet.

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