Duke's Dog

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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Lolo Skyooz
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Re: Duke's Dog

Post by Lolo Skyooz »

bobbiebryner wrote: 17 May 2018, 08:45 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?
You know, that is always a question one has to ask in discussions about gender bias these days. Are we really seeing it, or are we just searching for it everywhere we look? The thing about Duke's dog's name is that I think maybe it wasn't supposed to be a consciously assessed bias in Duke's mind, but rather just a reflection of the world he lives in and his functional understanding of how he fits into it. I think that's part of what made his character so powerful. This seems like a slippery designation to make, but I think it is important that we try to understand the differences between cultural and individual biases rather than just persecuting both in equal measure by damning the individual. People must have a sense of identity to live healthy, fulfilling lives, and we derive that in great measure from the culture we come from.
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Post by holsam_87 »

Kendra M Parker wrote: 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.
I actually hadn't thought of it that way. The women were also portrayed as more matronly than being desirable to him. This may be another instance that relates to him not wanting to form close relationships.
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Post by Kendra M Parker »

holsam_87 wrote: 19 May 2018, 16:56
Kendra M Parker wrote: 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.
I actually hadn't thought of it that way. The women were also portrayed as more matronly than being desirable to him. This may be another instance that relates to him not wanting to form close relationships.
That's very true. I know that Duke mentions that he had been married several times, but we never hear much more than that about the ex-wives. The addiction issues are clearly a large part of these failed marriages, but there is also that difficulty in forming close, lasting attachments.
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Post by kdstrack »

The surprising thing is that he even had a dog! I think having a pet fulfilled two of his needs. The dog gave him unconditional love and also gave him a feeling of being in control.
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Post by Kendra M Parker »

kdstrack wrote: 20 May 2018, 17:57 The surprising thing is that he even had a dog! I think having a pet fulfilled two of his needs. The dog gave him unconditional love and also gave him a feeling of being in control.
You know, I was surprised by that, too. Sometimes recovering addicts are recommended to get a dog or something to invest in so that they can focus on needs outside themselves. You’re probably right that owning the fulfilled those needs of being in control and having someone who gave him unconditional love.
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Post by ValBookReviews »

I'm didn't think much of Duke's dog. But, I do think it a minor detail because Girl Dog was not a major character throughout the story. However, I did find it interesting that he named his female dog, "girl dog", as maybe that's all there is to it.
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Post by lavellan »

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.
I agree with your thoughts. Most of the people that Duke cared about in his life left or were taken away from him.
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Post by Echo Haapala »

I found the name choice to be a bit odd but didn't think too much into until this post. Maybe it was a play on a circus name? The sideshow consisted of Lucy the Monkey Girl, the Remarkable Half Man and Gonad the Giant, which were all names given because of their uniqueness or gender. Girl Dog seems fit right in.
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Post by KRay93 »

I suppose his choice for his pet’s name could have some kind of connection all of his failed relationships with women, but I believe it has to do more with his particular personality and his unique style of humor.
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Post by holsam_87 »

Kendra M Parker wrote: 20 May 2018, 12:01
holsam_87 wrote: 19 May 2018, 16:56
Kendra M Parker wrote: 17 May 2018, 12:06

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.
I actually hadn't thought of it that way. The women were also portrayed as more matronly than being desirable to him. This may be another instance that relates to him not wanting to form close relationships.
That's very true. I know that Duke mentions that he had been married several times, but we never hear much more than that about the ex-wives. The addiction issues are clearly a large part of these failed marriages, but there is also that difficulty in forming close, lasting attachments.
Duke sounds like such a fascinating man, I think that it would have interesting to hear his personal accounts of life. Especially since he spent his prime years looking for the next adrenaline rush.
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—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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Post by Kendra M Parker »

holsam_87 wrote: 28 May 2018, 16:54
Kendra M Parker wrote: 20 May 2018, 12:01
holsam_87 wrote: 19 May 2018, 16:56

I actually hadn't thought of it that way. The women were also portrayed as more matronly than being desirable to him. This may be another instance that relates to him not wanting to form close relationships.
That's very true. I know that Duke mentions that he had been married several times, but we never hear much more than that about the ex-wives. The addiction issues are clearly a large part of these failed marriages, but there is also that difficulty in forming close, lasting attachments.
Duke sounds like such a fascinating man, I think that it would have interesting to hear his personal accounts of life. Especially since he spent his prime years looking for the next adrenaline rush.
I agree with you. I think he would be so much fun to talk to and hear his stories.
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Post by holsam_87 »

Kendra M Parker wrote: 28 May 2018, 18:24
holsam_87 wrote: 28 May 2018, 16:54
Kendra M Parker wrote: 20 May 2018, 12:01

That's very true. I know that Duke mentions that he had been married several times, but we never hear much more than that about the ex-wives. The addiction issues are clearly a large part of these failed marriages, but there is also that difficulty in forming close, lasting attachments.
Duke sounds like such a fascinating man, I think that it would have interesting to hear his personal accounts of life. Especially since he spent his prime years looking for the next adrenaline rush.
I agree with you. I think he would be so much fun to talk to and hear his stories.
His life just seems beyond anything from today. The only other person that I know that left her home when she was young was my grandma. She married my grandpa in her late teens or early 20s and left England to come to the states. Anyone that has the courage to leave for better circumstances is remarkable in my eyes.
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—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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Post by lesler »

I thought it was odd, but also true to Duke's character. He is so used to humans coming into his life for a short time, and he used this personification to avoid being close to his dog. It didn't work, and ended up becoming a term of endearment.
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Post by Oceanside »

I think it just stacks onto the facts that show how Duke is different, therefore his dog doesn't need an average name; It's something out of the box.
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Post by Mely918 »

A pet's name is usually a way to show the owner's attachment to it. Generally, we put more thought into our pet's name the more attached we are. I think in this instance, the name Duke gave his dog shows his attempts at trying not to get attached to it.
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