My Kid’s Dog and Irony

1095 words 5 pages
Jonathan Blais
Mr. Ersinghaus
Story Critiques
9 May 2011
My Kid’s Dog and Irony Ron Hansen’s work, My Kid’s Dog, is a story about revenge, irony, and circularity. The family pet, Sparky, dies. We are informed of this in the first lines of the piece, “My kid’s dog died. Sparky. I hated that dog (244).” Here Hansen gives us a clue to their relationship, “We got off on the wrong foot. Whining in his pen those first nights. My squirt gun in his face and him blinking from the water. And then the holes in the yard. The so-called accidents in the house (244).” Right off the bat we get a clear sense of the mood between the two. Hansen also foreshadows the fact that the dog will somehow get revenge on the narrator, “And then, at
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He feels disconnected from the dog in comparison to his family members, “But with my kids or with my wife little Foo Foo was a changeling, conning them with the tail, the prance, peppiness, the soft chocolate eyes, the sloppy expressions of love, the easy tricks that if I performed I would get no credit for (245).” Among this reveal of resentment toward the family pet, Hansen displayed another technique used throughout the piece: satire. We see it in the above quote by the word conning, “But with my kids or with my wife little Foo Foo was a changeling, conning them with the tail (245),” etc. Here he attributes the dog with certain behaviors and capacities that we know are not true: the idea that he is out to get the narrator and purposefully acts a certain way (around the wife and kids) just to piss him off. We know Hansen does not intend to make us believe that the dog is conning anybody. We see satire again later on in the piece when Hansen refers to the motorist thief as an angel:
I put down the suitcase to shake the ache from my fingers and subtract affliction from my back, and it was then that my final indignity came. An angel of mercy spied my plight, braked his ancient Cadillac, and got out, his facial piercings and tattoos and shoot-the-marbles eyes belying the kindness and decency of his heart as he asked, ‘Can I help you with that suitcase (248-249)? Almost every word of this quote is satirical and facetious.