Short Story #227 A Dark Brown Dog by Stephen Crane

Title:  A Dark Brown Dog

Author:  Stephen Crane


Picture of Stephen Crane.  Source:
A boy encounters a dog on the street that takes a liking to the boy.  The boy is interesting in the dog but regularly beats him on their way home.  The dog cowers and begs forgiveness and continues to follow him home.  This hapepns repeatedly on the way home.  There is more struggle in the house when the child gets him in the house.  When the family comes home and discovers the dog, they argue about whether he will stay or not.  The father decides that since everyone wants the dog to go, he will allow the dog to stay.  From then on, the boy must be protector of the dog as others in the house feel obliged to kick and beat it as needed.  The boy regularly seeks the dog for comfort and for abuse depending on his mood.  Despite this, the stability, the feeding, and some love allow for the dog to find a comfort with the boy.  One day, the father was drunk and riotous.  The boy realized this and dives for cover but the oblivious dog does not.  He begins to abuse the dog with a coffee pot and kicking.  The child rushes forward to protect the dog but the father ignores him.  He lifts the dog and throws it out the window.  The boy races out to the dead dog and sits with him for hours on end. 


This was a dark and sad tale from Crane that I found curious.  In some ways, he taps into the ideas of abusive relationships and how we inherit them and perpetuate them.  That the boy is both loving and contemptuous of the dog seems to be the same level of relation that runs through his family.  

Short Story #227 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  7/15/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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