Since I’ve failed miserably at being a poet or even enjoying poetry, you can imagine my surprise when I read “Dog’s Death” and not only enjoyed it but it touched my heart. A good poem knows how to grab not only the reader’s attention but will snag the reader’s emotions and take them on a roller coaster; whether it has a happy or a sad ending the poem should keep the reader’s interest until the end. The poem “Dog’s Death” is a poem about a dog that has become a part of a family only to later be injured and die a slow death from a liver laceration.
The author talks of how the dog learned to use the bathroom by going potty on newspapers and then moves on to being potty trained. The author talks of how the family plays with the dog though the dog is hemorrhaging the whole time. The author talks of how they finally saw that there was a problem and rushed the dog to the vet but the dog died on the way and, finally, the author talks of how the dog, in the last hours of her life, has diarrhea in the house but has found a discarded newspaper to go on so as not to soil the floor.
The tone that the author uses is a ton of wistfulness and sadness. One might expect the author to use a tone of urgency as they rush the dog to the vet but the poet is remembering the event and the tone has been glazed over with a sadness that downplays the urgency. The author also uses a poignant metaphor [Definition. (2005-2010)] when he says “As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skin/and her heart was learning to lie down forever”.
I can clearly picture the dog trying her hardest to play with the family because she loves them so much but knowing that something is wrong and probably being in a lot of pain at the same time. The faithfulness that the dog shows is heart rending and so very sad but uplifting at the same time. The formalist approach to critiquing literature is the most widely used form [Clugston, R. W. (2010)]. In the formalist approach the reader is asked to look into the piece of literature to see what parts make the piece interesting.
The formalist approach asks questions like “Was there a surprise? ” “How were the characters described? ” and “Why was the plot interesting? ” [Clugston, R. W. (2010)]. The formalist approach really gets the reader thinking about why they liked the piece, what part was their favorite part and which was their favorite character. The formalist approach can really get to the heart of a piece of literature. In “Dog’s Death” the author uses the main character (we assume the male head of the family) to describe the dog’s beginning as well as the dog’s last moments in life.
The character’s weren’t around for long so they didn’t have a lot of time to develop but we know that the dog was faithful and loving, the man was loving and kind and the rest of the family loved the dog very much. The setting was memorable because you very quickly realize that there is something wrong with the dog so the reader’s interest is quickly snagged and is snagged again at the end when the main character realizes that the dog had one last accident but used a discarded newspaper in order to keep the floor clean.
The flow of the poem adds to the appeal because the meter of the poem makes the words roll off of the tongue without tripping over superfluous syllables or complicated words. The idea of the poem is a simple story of a family and their dog and the circumstances surrounding the dog’s demise. If the author had put large words with complicated meanings it would detract from the idea of the poem. A “Dog’s Death” is an emotional poem that is very well written, flows naturally and uses terms, tone and characters that all readers can relate too.
The poem, told in the first person, is thought provoking, interesting, has highs and lows and leaves the reader really feeling the meaning of the poem; and that is what a poem is meant for. References Definition. (2005-2010). Retrieved from http://www. poetryarchive. org/poetryarchive/glossaryItem. do? letter=M&id=8079 Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, Ca: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.