Theme and Narrative Elements in the Short Story 

In two to four double-spaced pages (excluding title and reference page), demonstrate your understanding of literary themes, using a short story from the readings in week one or two:   

  • Describe what the theme of the short story is, using Chapter Seven of the text as a reference.
  • Identify at least two of the literary elements in the short story that contribute to the theme (e.g., plot, point of view, tone, setting, character, symbolism, etc.), providing an example of each element.
  • Explain how the selected literary elements affect the narrative theme

Your paper should be organized around a thesis statement that focuses on how the literary elements contribute to the larger narrative theme. All sources must be properly cited.  The paper must include a separate title and reference page, and be formatted to APA (6th edition) style. 

The paper must be two to four pages in length (excluding the title and reference page), and formatted according to APA style.

Grade: University | Subject: English

Dog’s Death

The Short story I had selected was “Dog’s Death” which was a narrative poem written by John Updike. The death was really a hard feeling to describe. When we lose our most loved ones we can’t express our deep sad feeling in words.  The theme of the poem “Dog’s Death” was about the family dog’s life and the death.

The author of the poem, John Updike explains the poem from the how the dog might have gotten the fatal injury and lead to death. Here, the dog was considered like a family member, so the family members were not able to tolerate the death of the dog. The main theme of this short story is about “Dog’s Death”.

The beginning of this short story describes about the fatal injury which had made the family pet, dog to face her death. The fatal injury must have got when it was brushed by a car. The poem mainly describes about the sympathy and emotions of the dog’s death. One of the incidents explained in this poem was that the dog had practised to void in the newspaper but it doesn’t make use of newspaper when it had suffered from diarrhea.

The plot of story was as same as the theme of the story. The plot of the story had discussed about the way in which the dog dies, or the situations of the dog’s death. The family without the knowledge they continued to go and play on as if nothing had happened with the dog, until they saw the sign that the dog was lying in a heap under the bed of the youngest child. In the climax situation, it had shown a sign of life like, the dog had bitten the youngest child’s hand that was holding the dog and caring for on the way to the office of vet, and instead the dog had died.

The starting side of this short story was describing us about how the dog was learning to use newspaper to go for bathroom but the actual message was the death of dog. The ending side of this short story had talked about the dog had not making use of the newspaper when the dog was facing its death. According to us, this short story might be used for many text and can be used for some other background. It had been more personal if the dog which had dead had a name in this short story and the thing which had bring the dog to the real fact was that she was a girl.

The selected literary elements such as plot and climax which were affecting the narrative theme will be explained below. The poem Dog’s Death was narrative. The family members had a pet dog and they loved it very much. In the climax, when the dog was dead, they could not accept the dog’s death. The dog was a female. She had learned to use the newspaper for its house break but it does not use it when it was nearby the death. Thus the plot affecting this story was the love that the family members had for the dead dog.

The family members were playing with their pet without the knowledge that the dog was sick. The dog was affected by the diarrhea. When the children were returning to school the dog went and hides itself. When they noticed the dog was found underneath the bed by curled and twisted. So, they took her to the vet’s office. When they were driving, the dog had bitten the father’s hand and slipped away.

Finally, it was known the dog’s liver had ruptured. The mother went with the tearful vision by seeing the death of dog. When they reached home from the hospital, they found that the dog had tried to go to bathroom using the newspaper but it had missed it. Thus the climax affects the story of the narrative theme.



Bud Johns (1999), Old Dogs Remembered, Synergistic Publications Of Data,  ISBN=0912184124

John Updike (2012), Collected Poems 1953-1993, Knopf Doubleday Publications Of Data, ISBN=0307961974

Jack De Bellis (1994), John Updike, Greenwood Publications Of Data.