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It was like love, she thought. Something you thought you should have until it was right there in front of you and you realized you were committed to it whole. (20)

Throughout this story the reader can grasp the sense that Ronnie is not exactly happy in her relationship with Jeremy. It seems as if she doesn’t want to be in it at all. She doesn’t want to tell him that she is pregnant and she really did not think that her life would go the way that it has. She wanted to stay in art school but couldn’t because she did not have the money, and she married a guy that she knew from high school that she never really explicitly says that she loves until this passage comes along. It takes just one thing to happen for her to realize that the person she loves is right in front of her. She has had him all this time.

But something that threw me off was this passage:

But she felt strangely good, alive, her body working like it should. And guilt, for that. But not as much as she should have felt. (8)

This made me think that she wanted to do what her mother did. She wanted to run away. But she won’t because her mother left when she was a child, and she knows how it feels to have a parent abandon the family. She doesn’t want to be in that same situation.

Belle Boggs’ “Deer Season” takes the reader through the minds of all of the characters in the story, and portrays what the first day of deer season means to each of them. What is so beautiful about this story is that the reader feels a personal connection to each individual character due to the switch in point of view in each paragraph. As a new paragraph is written, the reader enters into a new character’s thoughts and feelings, which allows the reader to view the world and the character’s experiences through their eyes. “Deer Season” is a story in which action is not a key element of the story; the telling of what each character feels and experiences keeps the interest of the reader.

In the first paragraph, the reader is taken immediately into the mind of the creepy principal, who, “thinks [the girls] dress more casually on this day, no boys to impress.” (3) Then, in the second paragraph, the reader enters the mind of the secretary, who, “the satisfaction of slapping him she sometimes thinks she would give her job.” (3) Almost every single paragraph of the story introduces a new character and portrays how the absence of the arrogant hunting boys affects each of them.

This story seems to have a feminist message due to its prominent examination of how the presence of men affects how everyone in the school is represented. For example, Jenny, the girlfriend of an aggressively forward jock, expresses her relief when she is without her boyfriend for the day. “Down the hall, Jenny is glad to have the day away from her boyfriend. He is always kissing her in the halls, embarrassing her, or putting his hand in her back pocket as they go from class to class, which makes it hard to walk or even feel like a person.” (4)

I love how Boggs nuances the relationships between each of the characters and describes how there is almost a silent understanding between them. There seems to be an unspoken relief among the characters, like they feel unburdened with the absence of the deer-hunting boys for the day.

…to let them draw uninterrupted by jeering and teases from those boys with their model trucks and deer antlers. Jason with his wheel thingy and Jenny with her bunch of dried-up roses, they seem as though a weight has been lifted from them. (5)

Throughout the story, the characters reveal that they all feel “under-the-gun” in certain areas of their lives. Only during the absence of the hunters are they able to fully express or think about the troubles that are going on in their lives. The demanding presence of the hunting-boys keeps the girls (and select boys who do not go hunting) on edge and makes them feel as though they are unimportant. Allowing the reader into the minds of the characters shows the reader how each character feels buried with their own life obstacles and problems. For example, the secretary, who is constantly patrolled by the principal, and Mrs. Hayes, who is fighting with her husband “wishes she could lie in the hole now, unseen under a big pile of cool, golden leaves” (6) shows how the absence of the loud and rude boys offers each of them a little peace and quiet away from the anguished areas of their lives. The absence of the boys also allows them time to sit and reflect on these parts of their lives as well.

The graceful shift between each character represents their relationship to one another, where, together, they share a brief interlude from the stress and worry of the boys, who will inevitably return to school the next day.

The point of view lets the reader see the thoughts of the staff and the remaining students on the first day of deer season. Each person seems to be lost in their thoughts: The principal thinking of tomorrow’s conversations, Jenny thinking about her charcoal drawing of dried roses, Mrs. Hayes thinking about the sinkhole in her backyard, Jason thinking about how he didn’t want to go hunting in the first place,  and the secretary thinking about her children, who are in the elementary school. Each character thinks about different things and that shows a very human aspect: individual thought.


Haruki Murakami’s “The Elephant Vanishes” is written in first person point of view; the perspective we are given is of a man who works at a magazine company who is interested in the elephant. From his point of view, we are not able to find out exactly what happened to the elephant or his keeper, but the narrator explains to a woman he meets what he thought he noticed when the elephant escaped:

 “” something about the balance between them.

“The balance?”

“In size. of their bodies. The elephants and the keepers. The balance it seem to have changed somewhat. I have a feeling that to some extent the difference between them has shrunk.””(464.Murakami’s)

While the story does not confirm this of happening, this is the closest we get to find out what happened to the keeper and his elephant.Leaving the reader to wonder whether this is true or not. This shows that the perspective that a story is written in not only can leave plot holes but can create confusion within the story.

I felt like this a lot after my experience with the vanishing elephant. I would begin to think I wanted to do something, but then I would become incapable of distinguishing between the probable results of doing it and of not doing it.(465)

This story represents anxiety and closing yourself off to the world. The emphasis is on the narrator and his thoughts, views, and actions after the elephant disappears. The narrator does not act at any point. Instead, he sits on a cliff watching his life pass before his eyes while he does the “pragmatic thing-to-do.” Even a decrepit old elephant could break away from his bonds to pursue a different life, but still the narrator stays. As much as the narrator tries to focus the story on the vanishing elephant, it his fixation on the elephant that matters. The elephant only matters in relation to the narrator. But instead, the narrator never faces his own life and his own decisions. He has no self-awareness over the decisions he has chosen to pass-on. It is almost as if he has given up of his life and would rather live the life of the elephant. He lets his anxiety keep him from dating the woman, calling the police with his theories, and even pursuing a profession that he would find interesting. Instead, he does the same mindless tasks every day.

The most reasonable explanation for this would be that the keeper had unlocked the ring, removed it from the elephant’s leg, and locked the ring again… despite the fact that the keeper had no key. (457)

This story is told from the first person, retrospective point of view. The narrator holds a factual retelling of the case of the vanishing elephant with an intelligent, suspicious tone. This is a creative narration in the story due to the fact that the speaker talks directly to the audience when reciting lists of facts from the news articles which went over the elephant case. However, because most of the dialogue is seeming to be directly to the reader, it is actually the thoughts the narrator is having, creating the information to be unreliable.

The biggest confusion for the Japanese town, and for the speaker, was how the chained elephant escaped the cage with out unlocking the cuff on its ankle. People yearned for an explanation for the phenomenon for the elephant they idolized. The narrator’s life shifts during the retelling of the elephant case, as well as his environment with the building of new condos everywhere in the town. He emphasizes that the things around him have lost their proper balance in describing the keeper growing or the elephant shrinking. The elephant case is a parallel to his life, and his search for an explanation of the unbalanced environment he was coming to live in.


For example, the article used such expressions as ‘the elephant escaped’ but if you looked at the entire piece it became obvious that the elephant had in no way ‘escaped.’ It had vanished into thin air.”

With the peculiar disappearance of the town elephant, the main character becomes almost obsessed with the event. There is no explanation of why or how the elephant and its keeper vanished except one that seems mystical and otherworldly. Later in the story, the main character explains how he watched the elephant every day from a cliff near the enclosure. On the day before the elephant is discovered to be missing, the main character describes a change in size of the elephant. It was almost as if the elephant “for one reason or another, shrunk” (464).

In the Buddha religion, an elephant can symbolize good luck. Maybe the elephant in this story shows that luck is a very fleeting thing and that one must not rely on it too often. Luck is something that is common but very hard to explain. Many people see luck as God helping them and others see it as the universe positively working for them. Whatever one’s belief, luck can “vanish” very much like the elephant in this story. The size of the elephant getting smaller and smaller can be symbolism for luck running out for a person after they relied on it too much.

“The elephant and keeper have vanished completely. They will never be coming back.”

“The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami was not as complicated as it appeared to be. It is exceedingly intriguing; like a mystery novel in a short story except there is no resolution. Various possible themes have crossed my mind but the only idea sticking is that it is simply a story. Similar to a Dr Seuss children’s book it that contains little to no logic but can still resonate with people.With books I feel like people often lose the luster of a story by always looking for a deeper meaning. Sometimes it is just nice to enjoy the story being presented to you. Now if one really truly wanted to take this to a deeper level, it could be connected to a perspective on life. Perhaps it is meant to represent how life often has no clear explanation and will leave you angry and discontent. To elaborate on that theory maybe it is meant to represent how a person feels when they reflect on the end of their life. How horrible would it be to be at the end of one’s life only to realize the most you “lived” was the same monotonous daily routines, days passing when all you did was stare like the elephant did. But continuing to over-evaluate like this can thrust you into a full blown existential crisis. Going along with that the main characters obsession with the elephant translates to how we can spend our whole lives dedicated to one insignificant thing. Our society today seems to glorify this, and it is very unhealthy. There are multitudes of things we miss out on because we waste our lives focusing on one sole object. Humans need to do more with our lives than what we are doing. We need to break the “norm” and do something more important.

“The chain coiled around the door of the elephant house reminded me of a huge snake set to guard a ruined palace in a thick forest. A few short months without its elephant had given the place an air of doom and desolation that hung there like a huge, oppressive rain cloud.” (459)

Haruki Murakami uses figurative language, such as metaphors, hyperboles, symbolism, and personification, in “The Elephant Vanishes.” Figurative language plays an important role in most literature including Haruki Murakami’s story. The figurative language in this story helps the reader become a part of the story and picture the events as if they have seen it, rather than just reading the description. Murakami’s use of figurative language engages the reader and keeps the attention of the reader throughout the story. I noticed it became easier to picture the story the more the author used metaphors as a method of comparison. For example, if Haruki Murakami had just written “The chain was wrapped around the door handle,” instead of the passage above, readers may have been less interested in the story. Although figurative language can become a version of filler words and burden to read if not used properly, I believe Haruki Murakami used figurative language in a way that reaches the reader on a deeper level. This leads the reader to become more invested in the story and causes the satisfaction and/or disappointed feeling at the story’s end.

While reading the story “The Elephant Vanishes,” we as readers never get the answer to the questions of why the narrator is so interested in the elephant and how it started initially. He mentions on page 454 that he had his own “private interest in the elephant problem from the very outset. . .” but he never goes into why. He keeps every article pertain to the beast and went to see it on a weekly basis and he admitted to seeing it the night it went missing. Why did it affect his life so much? This question is never addressed in the story and it bugs me personally because it reads like he just woke up one day and discovered he developed an interest in this elephant. I do understand why it would be interesting at the start as it isn’t every day an elephant gets moved into a city with no zoo, but to become interested to the point of keeping multiple scrapbooks with every single newspaper article ever printed from the start and going to visit it every weekend is a mystery to me. We as readers can assume that he has at least a mild form of obsessive compulsive disorder from how he reads every newspaper article starting from the very beginning and how he can remember even the minutest of details regarding the events in the story, but what was the initial spark as to why become obsessed with the elephant?

I guess some questions are just not meant to be answered. . .

The narrator of this story tells the readers about an elephant that has mysteriously vanished from its home, along with its keeper. The readers never understand why the narrator is so in to knowing about the elephant or why he keeps a scrap book with all of the articles about the elephant. Towards the end of the story, the narrator meets a girl and decides to tell her about the elephant. He doesn’t give her truthful answers in the beginning and he wonders if she notices. Once she does, he comes out and tells the truth about everything that happened.

‘I wouldn’t call it a ‘problem,’ exactly. It’s not that big of a deal. I’m not hiding anything. I’m just not sure I can talk about it very well, so I’m trying not to say anything at all. But you’re right–it’s very strange.’ (462)

This passage to be is misleading because he says that it’s not a big deal, but if it wasn’t, why would he be telling lies to get himself out of talking about it? I feel like the narrator had a hard time telling this story to the girl because it seems very personal to him. He grew affection towards the elephant and its keeper while they were still there. He would see them in a way that no one else would, he was let into a part of their lives that people aren’t. He noticed something wrong the day before the elephant and its keeper vanished, but he didn’t say anything. He didn’t want to be the main suspect. He wanted to stay out of it, which only made him more of it.

In “The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami, the narrator is obsessed with an old elephant that his town comes in possession of. Strangely the Elephant mirrors the narrator and the parallels can be seen in a couple of ways. One of the ways is in the way he describes his job. He says it’s “not the kind of work that takes a great deal of intelligence, but I had to see to it that the articles they wrote didn’t smack of advertising.”(460) In short, this quote wraps up how the narrator finds his job mindless, monotonous, and weather the narrator acknowledges it or not, a barrier from normal social interactions. This social barrier is similar to the elephant’s everyday life. “…unconscious of the enormous chunk of metal wrapped around its leg. It kept its blank gaze fixed on some indeterminate point in space…”(456). In the narrators case the chunk of metal would be things like his marketing lines that make it awkward to talk normally, the indeterminate point he focuses on would be the elephant case, and in general the blank gaze is caused by his lack of interest in his work, which is learned when he speaks frankly with the Editor.

Murakami brilliantly captures the complexities of human happiness and suffrage in his story “The Elephant Vanishes.” The way in which the narrator reveals his obsession with the elephant and its caretaker is nuanced and eloquently told. As the narrator tries to make sense of the vanishing elephant and caretaker, and their relationship to each other, he discovers a part of himself that is also exceedingly complicated and mysterious.

That’s probably because people are looking for a kind of unity in this kit-chin we know as the world. Unity of design. Unity of color. Unity of function. (460)

The narrator reveals his obsession with the town’s elephant immediately in the story. He describes in depth how his world revolves around the elephant and states how “The elephant could become the town’s symbol.” (455) When the elephant disappears, the narrator feels as though the town has unfavorably changed, “Without the elephant, something about the place seemed wrong. It looked bigger than it needed to be, blank and empty…” (453)  The narrator seems to fill his time reading about the missing elephant in order to fill his own “blank and empty” void. (453)  He is a salesman who doesn’t find purpose or reward in his work. “And in this pragmatic world of ours, things you can’t sell don’t count for much.” (460) He is depressed due to the lack of diversity, passion, and adventure in his life, so he becomes intrigued to the point of obsession, and travels everyday to see the elephant. He is so fixated on the thought of the vanishing elephant, that he decides to bring up the subject while talking with a woman whom he has a romantic interest with. “I knew that I had brought up one of the least suitable topics I could have found for this occasion. No, I should never have mentioned the elephant.” (461)

The disappearance of the elephant along with its caretaker suggest that the two are linked spiritually, “you could sense their closeness in every gesture and look… Or possibly it had some special power resembling mental telepathy and could read the keeper’s mind.” (456) The narrator describes the caretaker and the elephant’s physical features very similarly: old, wrinkled, hair “stiff and short” (456), and the uncanny resemblance of their big ears. The narrator goes on to exclaim that the last time he visits the elephant house, he “had the feeling that to some extent the difference between them had shrunk.” (464) This metaphor parallels with the narrator’s idea of unity. The caretaker and the elephant are both very old, and it seems as though this distance closing between them represents their lives coming to an end, as they pass from this life to the next, together and as one.

The description in this story is beautiful! The way in which the narrator describes the atmosphere of the town as a place of “doom and desolation that hung there like a huge, oppressive raincloud” (459) seems to serve as a visual representation for the depression he feels about the part of himself that is lost when the elephant disappears.

Some kind of balance inside me has broken down since the elephant affair…It’s probably something in me. (465)

The abrupt disappearance of the elephant and its caretaker unsettles the narrator, and causes him to escalate further into his depression, and possibly sparks the beginnings of insanity. “I often get the feeling that things around me have lost their proper balance, though it could be that my perceptions are playing tricks on me.” (465) He slips into a deep sadness, “washing away bit by bit the memories of summer burned into the earth. Coursing down the gutters, all those memories flowed into the sewers and rivers, to be carried to the deep, dark ocean.” (459)

I’m left wondering, is it his own insanity that has causes him to imagine the entire situation involving the elephant and the caretaker? Is he aware of his mental instability, thus causing him to feel “incapable of distinguishing between the probable results of doing [something] and not doing [something]?” (465)

‘The Elephant Vanishes” is told in first-person. The narrator relays the events that involve the elephant: how the elephant vanishes, how he saw the elephant shrink, and how the disappearance affects the narrator.

“The elephant’s absence had first been noticed at two o’clock on the afternoon of May 18–the day before–when men from the school-lunch company delivered their their usual truckload of food (the elephant mostly ate leftovers from the lunches of children in the local elementary school).

This disappearance affects the narrator in a strange way. It causes the narrator to try to figure out how the elephant vanish. He becomes obsessed with the elephant. So obsessed that when meets a woman that he is interested in, he brings up the elephant’s disappearance.

“You were carrying on a perfectly normal conversion with me until a couple of minutes–at least until the subject of the elephant came up”


In “The Elephant Vanishes,” Haruki Murakami expresses depression and dissociation through the impossible disappearance of an old elephant and its keeper. The narrator, a thirty-one year old businessman, is immediately revealed to be a very precise, pragmatic, and careful man as he recounts the events leading to the disappearance of this elephant, while also acknowledging a special interest he has for the animal. The elephant itself seems to symbolize what the narrator feels, yet has something the narrator can’t maintain on his own: stability and companionship. When the elephant vanishes, so does the narrator’s stability and his connection to the world around him.

“The most important point is unity,” I explained. “Even the most beautifully designed item dies if it is out of balance with its surroundings.”  (Murakami, 460)

Taking an old, neglected, elephant and placing it in an environment wildly inappropriate for this animal, Murakami creates a perfect setting for depression in both the narrator and the elephant. In doing so, this also builds common ground and point of attachment for a man who experiences the same monotony, and more easily represents the problems depression can cause to the reader. Chronic depression can be crushing and incredibly hard to explain to those who have never experienced it, resulting in a multitude of dysfunctional behaviors and thoughts which the narrator resists by clinging to a very precise routine he follows every day. The narrator is able to find in the elephant the things he feels, but can’t express without failing in his day to day life, and through this conflict he develops an attachment to the animal.

I felt like this a lot after my experience with the vanishing elephant. I would begin to think  I wanted to do something, but then I would become incapable of distinguishing between the probable results of doing it and not doing it… Some kind of balance inside me has broken down since the elephant affair… (Murakami, 465)

In the passage above, Murakami reveals how much the elephant’s presence kept the narrator active and stable—the elephant seems to represent a way for him to cope. With the elephant gone, he is unable to interact with others correctly, committing social “faux pas” and struggling to recover from perceived mistakes. Afterwards, he begins referring to reality as “the pragmatic world” as if to keep himself separate. He develops an act to blend in, saying, “The more pragmatic I try to become, the more successfully I sell… and the more people I succeed in selling myself to,” (Murakami, 465) and again stresses the importance of unity, balance, and stability; things within himself that he has lost and will never regain.

I didn’t find “The Elephant Vanishes” to be a wild or outlandish story like I was expecting. Instead, it came across as a very realistic story by portraying the ways in which depression can effect one’s perception of the world and of themselves. The actual event of the elephant’s disappearance was incredibly irrelevant, in that the details didn’t matter—only that this event seems to express what is often incredibly hard to directly explain.


In Francine Prose’s “Talking Dog,” love plays a crucial role in the relationship between the narrator and the sister and how their love for each other has affected the ones around them. Due to them being siblings, there is sibling rivalry, as we see in the following quote:“At the moment I understand that men would always like her better, prefer her smoky opacity to a transparent face like mine. “ (Prose. 509). This rivalry does not affect their love for each other, but it does affect the sister’s reputation for being reliable.

Another way that their love is tried is with the narrator’s feelings for Jimmy Kowalcuck. In the beginning of the book, her love for him is romantic, and she wants him to think of her as a woman instead of a little kid. As time progresses, her love drifts from romantic thought to a more competitive thought as we see in the following quote: “For a fraction of a second I thought I might still want him. But I didn’t want him. I just didn’t her to have him forever.”( Prose.512). The narrator’s feelings change because of her sibling rivalry with her sister. Her sister has been given everything she wants while the narrator never gets a chance to have attention. So the narrator wants to take Jimmy to get his attention, not for love.


“I ate roast beef and watched him charm everyone but me.” (507)

Francine Prose’s “Talking Dog” is written in first person point of view with a omniscient narrator. The narrator is the younger sister of a girl who acts as if she can speak to animals. While the reader knows what the narrator is thinking, they do not know what all of the other characters are thinking. This filters and changes our perspective of the story and other characters. If the story  were to be told from the mother’s perspective, we would know the worry the mother the mother has for her older daughter. If the story had been told from the perspective of the older sister, we would understand why she acts as if she can hear and talk to animals. We would know how she feels about the death and reappearance of Jimmy Kowalchuk.

Out in daylight he needed special glasses, like twin tiny antique cameras, and he ducked his head as he put them on, as if burrowing under a cloth. I was ashamed for anyone to see and ashamed of being embarrassed.”

The main character is ashamed of her father’s illness because it shows weakness that she doesn’t want to come to terms with. No child wants to see their parent suffering or sick. She explains how he, as a scientist, would talk about the illness in a fascinated manor only to talk about it less and less as the disease progressed. This shows the ever present fear in humans of losing one’s sense. Without sight, a very important element is missing from one’s life and they may feel as though they are useless, weak, or have no purpose.

Francine Prose’s “Talking Dog” is told from the point of view of a grieving younger sister, who struggles through several traumatic events over the course of a short period of time. Through this, we are able to better understand how grief, love, and regret color the narrator’s perspective and prevent her from truly accepting loss for what it is. Using a retrospective point of view, Prose is easily able to express the narrator’s conflicting emotions as she revisits this time in her life, her sister’s behavior, and her own response to loss and death.

Blinded by her own grief, the narrator is unable to recognize the same in her sister, someone she seems to both resent and look to for guidance. After Jimmy’s apparent death, both sisters grieve, but through the narrator’s perspective her sister comes off as a “fake.” She is unable to acknowledge her sister’s behavior for what it is (coping with loss) and finds her handling it by talking to animals attention seeking behavior. Ultimately, this damages her opinion of her sister and makes it much harder for her to properly understand her own feelings after her sister dies.

I was shocked to be so jealous when death meant it could never be fixed. I didn’t want it to be that way, but that was how it was. (Prose, 512)

As the narrator looks back on her sister’s death, she reveals her jealousy and regrets that she felt it even after her sister was gone—because, to her, this seems to mean that’s how she will always feel. I found this to be an incredibly frustrating point; the narrator is, presumably, older at this point, and should have more sympathy and more understanding of the effect loss can have on a person. Yet her sister’s death only seemed to cement the narrator’s own confusion and frustration. She never acknowledged her own pain properly, making it out to be a competition with her sister. In the end, she still seems to resent her sister for unanswered questions and issues the narrator had that she never bothered to properly discuss with her sister, which fuels the anger she’d rather feel than the sadness her sister accepted in times of loss.

I believe the narrator wasted a lot of time judging her sister’s behavior and choices, as if she would have, or could have, done better and made better choices. After the events of “Talking Dog,” this seems to be her greatest conflict: reconciling her insecurities and frustration in order to mourn, and forgive, her sister.

“But I couldn’t say–for example, that I had waited for him, and my sister hadn’t.” 510

Love is the main force at work that drives the narrator throughout the tale of grief and moving on. The moment she meets her sister’s boyfriend, Jimmy, is a confusing experience for her as he scares her but also intrigues her in a way that makes her fall in love with him. She accompanies her sister and Jimmy out on dates because she has to yes, but she also enjoys the occasions they spend time together. When Jimmy “dies”, she seems to mourn for him longer than her sister does and refuses to move on when her sister brings home a new boy and marries him. When Jimmy returns, everyone is obviously shocked, and while her sister is easy to let Greg go to leave for Florida with Jimmy, she’s also quick to let Jimmy go again and get back to Greg. No one knows the motives behind her sister’s actions, except probably Greg when she got rid of the lizard and their mother when she left Jimmy. We can only see our narrator’s confusion at the events and her questions on why people do what they do even when they say they love someone.

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.

The narrator in Prose’s “Talking Dog” is an adult woman who reflects back to her life as an adolescent. The narrator is unreliable due to her conflicting emotions towards her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, Jimmy. Throughout the story, the narrator battles with her immense love and jealousy she feels towards her sister. She wishes she were more like her sister, not only because she is dating Jimmy, whom the narrator has a crush on, but because she admires the way her sister seems to get everything she wants. The narrator is a character who is somewhat distant in regards to all of the other characters in the story. Her detachment from her family, Jimmy, and Greg, enables her to clearly examine the relationships between each of the characters. She is also able to reveal to the reader how she has been affected by each character in the story. “When my sister went back to Greg, Mother had gone back to him, too. But that day, in the funeral car, she was talking to me.” (510) The narrator’s point of view allows the reader to see the confusion and anguish each character experiences as certain relationships are strained and lost.

The story focuses on the narrator’s relationship with each of the characters in the story, and how her relationship with them changes over time. “Mother and I had lived alone in the house– as we’d had, really, for some time. My father and sister had left so gradually that the door hardly swung shut behind them.” (508) The father’s death and the fraudulent death of Jimmy affects each character in the story differently, which changes each character’s relationship to each other . The narrator’s sister loses her sense of adventure and settles down with Greg, a less than interesting man who “talked about her like some distant mutual friend.” (507) After the death of the narrator’s sister, her mother distances herself from the narrator and becomes closer to Greg, possibly because she feels a connection to her daughter through Greg’s presence.

Prose places great importance on the power of letting go, especially with relationships. This theme becomes evident when the narrator’s sister takes her iguana, Reynaldo, (whom she has become extremely close with since the death of Jimmy) out for a drive, and returns without him. The narrator feels as though her sister’s riddance of the iguana is her way of letting go of her past relationship with Jimmy. “And then for the first time I understood that Jimmy was really dead.” (508) The reader can also interpret the sister’s act of getting rid of the iguana as her way of accepting Jimmy’s “death.” The sister’s discarding of the iguana is a metaphor for the way in which she rids herself of her connection to Jimmy. She doesn’t want the thought of Jimmy to linger in her mind while she is with Greg.

The narrator is extremely hurt when her sister leaves Jimmy after they have finally been reunited. She doesn’t understand how or why her sister is able to leave him so easily. After the death of the narrator’s sister, the narrator is also perplexed when Jimmy reveals that he is still in love with her sister, and may always feel a deep sense of love for her. She “wanted to say she’d lied to us all… as if love were about the truth, as if he would love her less–and not more–for pretending to talk to a dog.” (510)

At the end of the story, the narrator understands that nothing can change Jimmy’s feelings for her sister, even if he knows that she has lied to everyone. This reflects the narrator’s own feelings for her sister; no matter how difficult it was to understand her sister, she will always have a deep respect and love for her.


“I wanted to say she’d lied to us all, she’d faked it about the dog, as if it mattered whether the animal spoke, as if love were about the truth, as if he would love her less—and more—for pretending to talk to a dog.”

This story is about the narrator’s coming-of-age. Her older sister invites the narrator on the dates with her boyfriend. The narrator liked her sister’s boyfriend, Jimmy. When they are informed that he is dead, she not allowed to go the funeral. Her sister moves on with her life, but the narrator doesn’t move on. She seems waits for Jimmy, even though she thinks he is dead.

When the narrator loses Jimmy, she grows up emotionally. By the time he comes back , she also has grow physically.


In Francine Prose’s “Talking Dog” the central symbol of the story is a white dog. The dog represents a messenger or a guardian angel figure. This can be seen in several places, but the most noticeable is when the narrator’s sister claims that “the dog,… had come to [me] after Jimmy died and personally guaranteed it that Jimmy was still alive.” (511) Much like Mary Mandolin’s accouter at Jesus’s tomb or even now a day angel testimony’s.

However the dog also moves the plot forward showing the mental decay of the narrator’s sister and-or the sisters need to outlet her emotions. As we find out in the last sentence of “Talking Dog” that the narrator doubts their sisters ability to talk to the dog. “I wanted to say she’d lied to us all, she’d faked it about the dog, as if it mattered whether the animal spoke, as if love were about the truth, as if he would love her less—and not more—for pretending to talk to a dog.”(512)

This short story is told in the narrator’s perspective but she seems to focus on telling the timeline of her sister from Jimmy’s death until her own death at the end of the story. It is clear that this story is written about the narrator’s sister. Throughout the short story, the readers can sense that the narrator was never close with her sister and that she always lived in her shadow. But the narrator felt like that was taken away when they were both with Jimmy; it was a time where the narrator could actually feel like she meant something and was not just her sister. I believe the conflict in the story is whether or not the sister was telling the truth in the end.

I wanted to say that she lied to us all, she’d faked it about the dog, as if it mattered whether the animal spoke, as if love were about truth, as if he would love her less–and not more–for pretending to talk to a dog. (512)

The narrator wants to tell Jimmy that the sister was lying, but she couldn’t. I think this is because she doesn’t know if the sister was lying or not. She doesn’t know, and she doesn’t want to be wrong.

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