Duke's Dog

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Kendra M Parker
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Duke's Dog

Post by Kendra M Parker » 13 May 2018, 12:07

I thought it was interesting that Duke's dog was named Girl Dog. Do you think that the name he gave his dog casts any reflection on Duke's personality? If so, what do you think this says about Duke? Or is this simply a minor detail that has no real significance?

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Post by kfwilson6 » 13 May 2018, 18:09

Interesting question. I did think this was kind of odd. Maybe it has something to do with an unwillingness to get too attached to anything. I'm curious to see other thoughts on this.

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Post by llpwap » 14 May 2018, 15:33

Duke had such an unique ability to make anyone laugh no matter what they were doing at the time. That being said, I don't think the name of the dog had any real significance other than to show the reader more of Duke's fun personality.

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 15 May 2018, 07:09

kfwilson6 wrote:
13 May 2018, 18:09
Interesting question. I did think this was kind of odd. Maybe it has something to do with an unwillingness to get too attached to anything. I'm curious to see other thoughts on this.
This was my thought, too. Attachment signs are something I’m always looking for with my kids, and an unwillingness to name something is often a sign of a difficulty attaching. I started wondering if this was because of the trauma in his life that he had difficulty attaching, and this was a symptom, even if the author did not fully intend it that way. The fact that he had been married and divorced a few times, while mostly due to his alcoholism, also seemed to be a symptom of this attachment difficulty.

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 15 May 2018, 07:13

llpwap wrote:
14 May 2018, 15:33
Duke had such an unique ability to make anyone laugh no matter what they were doing at the time. That being said, I don't think the name of the dog had any real significance other than to show the reader more of Duke's fun personality.
I suspect that this might have been the author's intention. I imagine that this might have been one of those things that was inspired by the real Sword Swallower.

Still, an unwillingness to name things and settle in a place can be a sign of early life trauma and difficulty attaching. It made me wonder if this was reflected, even inadvertently, in this particular detail.

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Post by bobbiebryner » 15 May 2018, 11:01

I also wondered about Duke's choice to call his dog Girl Dog. On one hand, I thought that this signified that he did not want to become attached to a living thing. Giving an animal a name is intimate. We give children names when they are born. Similarly, we give animals names when we choose to be their owner. The bond between an owner and pet has been compared to the bond between parent and child because our roles with either are very similar. This generic name may have been Duke's way of keeping a distance from the animal and not allowing himself to become attached. It could also be something that evolved from this as well. Perhaps Duke started calling her this because he did not want to get attached, but over time he developed a relationship but the name remained. It is also possible that it was not Duke that did not name the dog. Since Girl Dog appeared in the section of the story that was told from the perspective of the author, it is possible that the author did not remember the dog's name. At this part of the narration, the author was a lost alcoholic. Minor details such as a dog's name may not have had significance to him. When he later wrote of this encounter, he might have only recalled the animal as a "girl dog" and used that as her name.

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Post by K Geisinger » 15 May 2018, 11:34

Kendra M Parker wrote:
13 May 2018, 12:07
I thought it was interesting that Duke's dog was named Girl Dog. Do you think that the name he gave his dog casts any reflection on Duke's personality? If so, what do you think this says about Duke? Or is this simply a minor detail that has no real significance?
I think it's a naming style some people choose. It's more frequent to hear someone say "Here Boy" and call their pet Boy or Girl. The show Psych had an episode where they had a Little Boy Cat. Especially when she does something wrong, I call my cat, Cat.

I don't think it has any real significance, but perhaps someone else will have different insight.

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Post by Lolo Skyooz » 16 May 2018, 15:09

I think it just demonstrates that Duke thinks of dogs as masculine creatures, and thus incorporates the gender into his dog's name because that is what makes her stand out to him, or was when he first found her. He's a pretty macho dude. Macho dudes come with lots of cultural baggage that way.

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Post by holsam_87 » 17 May 2018, 00:13

I also thought it was odd, like more insight into how Duke is. Looking back, it doesn't seem to be overly important.
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Post by bobbiebryner » 17 May 2018, 08:45

Lolo Skyooz wrote:
16 May 2018, 15:09
I think it just demonstrates that Duke thinks of dogs as masculine creatures, and thus incorporates the gender into his dog's name because that is what makes her stand out to him, or was when he first found her. He's a pretty macho dude. Macho dudes come with lots of cultural baggage that way.
I never thought about the gender portion of the name. I am thinking of one of my animals that we called kitty because we were planning to foster her and adopt her out. Of course, she never left. We never used a specific gender in her name. Why didn't he just call her dog or puppy? Why specify "girl" dog. It does seem to be a display of masculinity. He was also from an older generation before the strong cultural press for gender equality and non-binary gender identification. Perhaps we as a society have become more sensitive to these gender biases or gender identifiers.

I would love to hear other's thoughts on this specifically. Did Duke's use of gender in the name come from his own beliefs about gender, or are we more sensitive to it because of cultural influences today?

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Post by kfwilson6 » 17 May 2018, 10:03

bobbiebryner wrote:
17 May 2018, 08:45
Lolo Skyooz wrote:
16 May 2018, 15:09
I think it just demonstrates that Duke thinks of dogs as masculine creatures, and thus incorporates the gender into his dog's name because that is what makes her stand out to him, or was when he first found her. He's a pretty macho dude. Macho dudes come with lots of cultural baggage that way.
I never thought about the gender portion of the name. I am thinking of one of my animals that we called kitty because we were planning to foster her and adopt her out. Of course, she never left. We never used a specific gender in her name. Why didn't he just call her dog or puppy? Why specify "girl" dog. It does seem to be a display of masculinity. He was also from an older generation before the strong cultural press for gender equality and non-binary gender identification. Perhaps we as a society have become more sensitive to these gender biases or gender identifiers.

I would love to hear other's thoughts on this specifically. Did Duke's use of gender in the name come from his own beliefs about gender, or are we more sensitive to it because of cultural influences today?
At first I thought he must have two dogs, Boy Dog and Girl Dog. I was surprised to discover it was just the one dog. I thought the reference to gender was going to be a way to distinguish two pets. I was wrong on that one! It may have been one of the ways he exerted dominance over the dog. He is the Alpha Male and calling her Girl Dog was a reminder to them both of his superior position.

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 17 May 2018, 12:06

Lolo Skyooz wrote:
16 May 2018, 15:09
I think it just demonstrates that Duke thinks of dogs as masculine creatures, and thus incorporates the gender into his dog's name because that is what makes her stand out to him, or was when he first found her. He's a pretty macho dude. Macho dudes come with lots of cultural baggage that way.
Ooh, this is a direction I had not considered. You might have something there... We really only have the couple of instances when he interacts with female characters. He always seems gentle with the women, but he is certainly a macho sort of guy.

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 17 May 2018, 12:09

bobbiebryner wrote:
15 May 2018, 11:01
I also wondered about Duke's choice to call his dog Girl Dog. On one hand, I thought that this signified that he did not want to become attached to a living thing. Giving an animal a name is intimate. We give children names when they are born. Similarly, we give animals names when we choose to be their owner. The bond between an owner and pet has been compared to the bond between parent and child because our roles with either are very similar. This generic name may have been Duke's way of keeping a distance from the animal and not allowing himself to become attached.
This was my thought as well. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wondered about this particular element.
Since Girl Dog appeared in the section of the story that was told from the perspective of the author, it is possible that the author did not remember the dog's name. At this part of the narration, the author was a lost alcoholic. Minor details such as a dog's name may not have had significance to him. When he later wrote of this encounter, he might have only recalled the animal as a "girl dog" and used that as her name.
This is very true. Maybe it says more about the author. Still, I think it is distinct enough that it might have even found its way through the brain fog of a functioning alcoholic. Of course, that’s just my opinion!

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 17 May 2018, 12:11

holsam_87 wrote:
17 May 2018, 00:13
I also thought it was odd, like more insight into how Duke is. Looking back, it doesn't seem to be overly important.
I agree, it’s not terribly significant to the story. I just thought it was an interesting tidbit that could shed some light on a character and I wondered if anyone else agreed with that thought. Thanks for your input!

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 17 May 2018, 12:15

kfwilson6 wrote:
17 May 2018, 10:03
At first I thought he must have two dogs, Boy Dog and Girl Dog. I was surprised to discover it was just the one dog. I thought the reference to gender was going to be a way to distinguish two pets. I was wrong on that one! It may have been one of the ways he exerted dominance over the dog. He is the Alpha Male and calling her Girl Dog was a reminder to them both of his superior position.
I kept expecting to see a Boy Dog, too! The alpha male part could certainly be there, but I suspect it would have been subconscious. Duke always seemed like more of a lone wolf type than a true alpha male that needed to dominate those around him. Even in the circus, he tended to follow a crowd rather than lead. I think the only time we saw him leading was when he started the band in the prison.

Did that band remind anyone else of Shawshank Redemption?

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