Robert and the Dog

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Robert and the Dog” by Ken Saro-Wiwa. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “Robert and the Dog”
Author: Ken Saro-Wiwa
Genre: Short story

Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995) was a Nigerian writer and an environmental activist. He mainly protested against crude oil extraction in the Niger Delta and he openly criticized the Nigerian government. Saro-Wiwa was imprisoned and then executed by a special military tribunal. His trial and execution led to international outrage and criticism against the government. He is best known for writing the TV sitcom Basi and Company, which aired in the 1980s and remains one of the most watched TV programs in Africa, and the novel Sozaboy.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


The short story highlights the social inequality that exists in society. Though Robert and his employers live very different lives, as shown by the fact that Robert earns his livelihood by serving his employers, this difference in their social status becomes impossible to ignore once Robert realizes his employers’ dog lives a more comfortable life than Robert’s own children. In this light, the story’s message might be that people’s lives should probably matter more than anything. For example, Robert’s employers fail to consider the misery Robert and his family live in and fail to realize that their treatment of Bingo makes Robert ...

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Robert and the Dog

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