The beginning of the short story “Robert and the Dog” by Ken Saro-Wiwa introduces Robert – the main character – who is working as a steward for a new employer, a doctor:

Robert’s new employer was a young medical doctor just returned from abroad. He was cheerful, exuberant and polite. It was obvious to Robert that he had not been in the country for a long time. Because he did not once lose his temper, he did not shout at Robert, he called him by his first name, and always asked him about his wife, children and other members of his family.

After Robert realizes that the doctor’s wife is equally respectful and polite, he feels at ease with his situation. The story unfolds chronologically as Robert navigates the new change in his work life. However, tension escalates when Robert realizes that his employers’ dog – Bingo – is treated better than a human being:

The dog appeared as important to the lady as her husband and, indeed, Robert thought, in the order of things, the dog was more important than himself. Try as hard as he might, he could not dismiss from his mind the fact that the dog was doing better than himself. And he detested this state of affairs.

This moment foreshadows Robert’s inner conf...

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