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Death is coming for all of us, for some it
will be sooner rather than later. I would never wish anyone to go through the
loss of a loved one, the emotion is indescribable. Unless one has experienced
this first hand, then you will not understand the raw emotion one goes through.
For my poem analysis, I chose, “Dog’s Death” written by John Updike. This poem
hits home for me because the writer discusses the last moments with his beloved
dog. I can relate to this poem because I recently lost my dog. If one has ever had
to go through the pain of losing their dog, then they know that he or she was much
more than a family pet. For most like me and the family in this poem, we lost
our best friend, and a special member of our family. During this analysis, I
will be taking a look in depth of the elements, style, and technique used in
this poem.

From the beginning, the author presents us
with the tone, and how the rest of the poem will take shape. He does this with
this sentence, “She must
have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car” (line 1). This sentence emotionally
attaches us to the family’s circumstance, where we are left with more questions
rather than answers. The main answer the reader and I want to know is how the
dog had gotten hurt. Could it have been a car? The family’s’ dog was at an age
of not even getting to experience life. The dog just got potty-trained,
recently. The poem goes through an emotional rollercoaster, from grief to acceptance.

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The rhyming scheme that he uses in each stanza, were put
into place for a specific reason. He did this scheme in order to help emphasize
the scenery. The best lines used to help show that raw emotion was, “And her
heart was learning how to lie down forever” (line 8) and “To bite
my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur,” (line 13). The family believed
nothing was wrong, they were playing with their dog just the other day. Whereas
the problem was not on the outside, but the issue was occurring inside. Their
beloved dog was in so much pain, that when the children left, all it wanted to
do was curl up, and give up fighting. Their dog’s body had already embraced
this, this was done in the metaphor in line eight. While, their dog may be
giving up on life, the parents believe that their denial or love will overcome
the problems that was occurring. The problem with this is that the dog is
already accepted its fate, and knows it’s their time.

The writer uses certain acts of motion
like when their dog tried to bite their owner’s hand to show that the dog was
not trying to hurt its owner, but acknowledge they were there and that they
will always miss them. This message was even more implied in the last stanza,
the writer does this by placing the last scene, of their owner finding the
newspaper, with a diarrhea trail behind it. So even though the dog was dying,
it still wanted to feel recognition and loyalty to its owner. I do understand
for some instances that the author and me do share experiences of both our dog’s
dying, mine was of old age but the raw emotion is still fresh like ripping a
newly made scab. I do have friends who have had their loved ones hit by car,
and mysteriously drugged by burglars. This feeling of losing your best friend
will haunt you forever. One just needs to eventually accept that their beloved
best friend is in a better place, where they’re not in pain anymore.

The purpose of this poem, written by John Updike was to help
himself and his family to have a little venting session in order to get over
their loss of a special someone. Their dog played more of a role than some
would not have guessed, that is why his wife broke down in tears in line
fourteen stating “And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears” (14). The
author uses a lot of metaphors to describe certain objects with other
implications that normally they would not portray. He does it when describing the
dog’s heart giving up on living, and when his wife is crying. Using metaphors
can help some people relate to someone’s situation involving objects that some
people understand. Where he describes the dog’s heart lying down, this could
relate to when one tells their dog to lay down, it is so they relax and rest
their body. The one thing, that the writer was trying to accomplish was to show
that their dog died a noble death, meaning that their dog can believe that even
though the dog did not live a long life, that they can pass away peaceful of
knowing that they stayed loyal to their owner.

We know that the overall message was to show a noble death,
and to show the ways people deal and go through the phases of death. At first
the family is going through grief and then denial, especially, when they try to
comfort the dog to stay just a little bit longer. The last step is acceptance,
the poem shows that a little bit of acceptance, when in the last sentence they
writer states, “…Good Dog” (line 20). The final acceptance of their beloved dog
dying is this poem, he uses this as a way to vent his feelings to show what had
happened the last couple days on earth their dog had. I believe that the writer
is trying to connect with their reader with this poem, not only on an emotional
level, but a deeper connection. This poem was made to show that it is okay for
death to occur, it is just how one accepts death, will one be able to not fear
it anymore.

The sadness in the tine of voice that was used, is very represented
by the scenery and rhyme scheme. The father believes that their beloved dog’
death needs to be remembered as a good dog, like the poem stated. Like at a funeral,
one only talks about the good times, not the negative aspects of someone’s life.
We need to focus on the good times, so that way no one is offended or hurt by the
aspects that the person has inflicted. The writer’s message is that no matter
what, a dog is more than just a loved one, it is that our pets are part of our
family. 

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