Dog Story Three

1 D:                            [>You know< (.)looks: shakes himself off, looks at me like (.) What in the hell

2                                     are you doin?=

3 S:                  =He he .e[gh ­ Not ve:ry bri:ght]your dog you know?=

4 D:                           [°Ya know° (          )]                   

5 D:                  =­No:: he doesn't see to well I thi:nk.=

6 S:                  =Ph[hmm.

7 D:                     [That’s part of it.

8 S:                  pt .hh ((Shuffling noise))Well he:’s cute.

9 D:                  Ye:ah he is cute.=

10 S:                   =I mean you gotta give him:(.)

11                  [you gotta give him some credit]                                                       

12 D:                   [A n y b o d i e s  e y e b : r]ows that weigh as much as $his,

13                  (even if he could get the) eyes open$let alone [(     )] thing.   

14 S:                                                   [ Uhhuh.]

15                  Yeah that’s probably it you know, it just can't see past his own face.

16 D:                  °Yeah? Like the damn° sheep dogs. You know he’s got blurred vision

17                  on a good day?

18 S:                  Hh hhm hhm hhm hhm, .hhh a::ghh=

19 D:                   =A::hhh well.=


            The third dog story excerpt is about the father’s dog Clinger running into a screen door on his camper. The father narrates this story. This excerpt is about Clinger’s reaction to running into the screen door. Also the father and son give excuses about why the dog ran into the screen including that he probably cannot see well. This excerpt comes from the end of the story and includes both the resolution, which explains what finally happened, and the coda, which signifies the story is complete (Goodwin, 1990, p. 231).

            The first line of the excerpt starts with the father humanizing the dog by saying he shook himself off and then thought to himself “What in the hell are you doing?”. This is humanizing because the dog is not capable of thinking human thoughts, but the father puts this upon him (W. Beach, personal communication, October 9, 2008). There is an invoking of the deity in this sentence with the word “hell” in line two. Hell is used when bad things are affecting the speaker in hard times (W. Beach, personal communication, October 9, 2008).  This evoking of the deity is referring to the dog being in a bad situation because he could not understand why the door was not opening and why he hurt himself by running into it.

            The son responds in line three by first laughing and then calling the dog stupid or “not very bright”.  The laughter indicates the son finds humor in the dog’s pain. The laughter also lightens the mood before the son criticizes his father’s dog by calling him “not very bright”. The father quickly defends the dog in line five by saying he cannot see well, hence the reason he ran into the screen. The son responds with a “hmm” in line six. He uses “hmm” to show he is thinking and reflecting on the situation (W. Beach, personal communication, September 11, 2008). Next, the father continues defending his dog by saying “that’s part of it” in line seven. The father possibly feels obligated to continue defending his dog after the son responds because the son did not give the answer the father was looking for. The son simply replies “hmm”, which indicates he was thinking about the situation, but not that he agrees with the father’s opinion on the dog’s eyesight.

            The son sees he offends the father when he called the dog stupid, so he tries to apologize for it by calling the dog cute in line eight. This comment interrupts the father’s story because it goes slightly off topic. The father quickly brushes the comment off by agreeing he is cute. When the son is about to continue talking about why the dog is cute the father interrupts him in line twelve. The father starts to explain why the dog cannot see very well, continuing his story from before in line five. The son never finishes his reasons why the dog is cute and instead responds with “Uh huh” in line fourteen and then gives his opinion on the dog’s sight. The Uh huh shows the son is listening and understanding what the father is saying and moves the story along. The son is obligated to give his opinion on the dog’s sight at this point because when he brushed off the topic before the father brought it back up.  The father is satisfied with the son’s response because he answers “yeah” in line sixteen agreeing to the son’s observation.

            The father continues the story by saying the dog has hair like the “damn sheep dogs” and he has “blurred vision on a good day”.  The father is obviously looking for more feedback on this topic, but by this time the son is done with it. The son laughs to end the conversation on sight and the dad finishes the story by concluding “Ahh well” in line twenty. Ahh well is way of concluding the story and opening the conversation up for new stories.