Literary perspective

The short story “Robert and the Dog” by Ken Saro-Wiwa can be considered a modernist work of fiction. The first clue is the social setting that highlights cultural differences betwee…


Works by the same author or with the same theme

Ken Saro-Wiwa is the author of the short story “The Bonfire”, which was published in 1995. “The Bonfire” tells the story of the people of Dukana, who are superstitious and fear death. Their irrational fear and hatred make them target an outsider called Nedam and kill him violently as a way of purifying the town. 

In many ways, the stories “Robert and the Dog” and “The Bonfire” are similar. Both stories deal with the concepts of hatred and jealousy, and present tragedies that could have been avoided. In “Robert and the Dog”, Bingo becomes Robert’s victim because he is jealous that the dog lives a better life than him. Similarly, in “The Bonfire”, Nedam becomes the victim of the Dukana because they are jealous, irrational, and superstitious. 

The short story “Fireweed” by Skye Brannon also explores the theme of inequality. The story follows Baluta, a Liberian immigrant in the United States who is employed by a wealthy American woman. Baluta remembers various hardships from his childhood in Liberia, while his employer’s only worries are trivial matters. When comparing “Fireweed” with “Robert and the Dog” it can be useful to consider how the employers appear unaware of the poverty in the world and fail to consider their share of responsibility for the social inequality between the poor and the rich. 

Rosemund J. Handler’s short story “An Act of Vengeance” explores the relationship between Pauline, a black South African maid, and her white employer. The story presents the theme of social inequality by looking at the way the white employer claims that she and Pauline are equals but acts in a way that suggests she has prejudices against black people and exploits Pauline. When comparing “An Act of Vengeance” with “Robert and the Dog”, look at how feeling inferior causes both Pauline and Robert to get revenge o…

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