Puppy by George Saunders

1100 Words3 Pages
What comes to mind when one thinks of the word ‘puppy’? It is probable describe a puppy as a lovable, adorable, and cuddly companion. However, one might also identify the animal as a menace and a liability or even as a delicious source of food. Why does this single word hold so many meanings? One’s past experiences and biases influences these conflicting views and attitudes. For instance, an individual’s fond view of puppies may exist because they were raised with puppies and consequently grew affectionate toward the animals. On the contrary, if another individual has not bonded with puppies as pets, then they will share the latter point of view. In the short story “Puppy” by George Saunders, the multiple characters view single events and objects with contrasting perceptions. Therefore, instead of painting a precise picture of the characters and the plot, the story expresses several views regarding the morals of the characters, the motivations of their actions, and the meaning of the events that take place. In “Puppy”, George Saunders explores the theory that perception is not an elementary, universal definition of an object or idea, but a complex interpretation that is influenced by one’s unique and varying past experiences and opinions. The complexity of perception is evident in one the story’s narrator’s, Marie’s, vantage point. Marie, who is a product of an abusive family, is influenced by her past, as she perceives the relationship between Callie and her son, Bo. Saunders writes, describing Marie’s childhood experiences, “At least she’d [Marie] never locked on of them [her children] in a closet while entertaining a literal gravedigger in the parlor” (174). Marie’s mother did not embody the traditional traits of a maternal fig... ... middle of paper ... ...er desire to help Jimmy, which deviates from Marie’s motivations. Marie and Callie both value motherhood and the sale of the puppy. Yet, their beliefs towards these concepts vary greatly. These two women are symbolic to the differing perceptions of all human beings because no two individuals have identical experiences or values. George Saunders emphasizes, in the short story “Puppy”, that perception is not a unanimously decided meaning of a concept because every individual’s past inspires an exclusive outlook on life. These unique views are evident in the many distinctive preferences that individuals express. What makes one person excited may enrage someone else. How we see the world, other people, and ourselves is reliant on on perception. Works Cited Mays, Kelly J. ""Puppy"" The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2013. N. pag. Print.
Open Document