The Dog Eater is a short story written by Leonardo P. Deriada that gives the reader possible events in a marriage life. The Dog Eater foretells a story of a couple in a hassle, who are imprisoned in their forced marriage. In the story, the author gives an apparent result of a marriage out of liability. The Dog Eater also disposed a behavior, which normally is not accepted by the norms. Leonardo P. Derieda, the writer of Dog Eater, is an award-winning local writer who was born in Iloilo yet was raised and finished his education in Davao City. Derieda finished his English degree in Ateneo de Davao as a cum laude and further earned his Masteral in English in Xavier University, later on, he received Ph.D. in English and Literature in late 1981. He served as professor and chairperson in Siliman University. Derieda, as a multi-lingual writer, has already written a lot of literary pieces in different codes including Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, English, and Filipino. Derieda’s Dog Eater, which have touch millions of readers, won third prize in Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Short Story.
paper will analyze the Dog Eater using a Moralistic Approach to evaluate the different ethical issues being shown and different lessons it could provide. A Moralistic Approach in a literary criticism will discriminate literature between the false and true, the deformed and normal; preachers of harmony and proportion and order, prophets of the religion taste (More, 1937). Furthermore, More (1937) emphasized that is it the critic’s duty, to determine the moral tendency of literary works and judge them on that basis. In layman’s term, a moralistic approach is concerned with the content and values. In using a moralistic approach to scrutinize the short story Dog Eater, the critics will dispose two moral issues present in the story; the early marriage at the early age and the slaughtering of dog for dog meat, and also the critics will reveal the moral lesson the author wants to impart.
The marriage at the early age is an issue very well known to young people nowadays. According to social law, marriage is rightful only if in the right age or if both people willing to marry have a stable life. In the story, Victor only married Mariana because he got her pregnant and because of the liability of having the baby, they enter marriage life without preparing or anticipating what life they could have. In a moralistic approach, using the view of the social law, critics could say that the marriage of Victor and Mariana resulted to scrape. The author emphasized that from the beginning, though there are possible that Victor loved Mariana, Victor felt the lust towards Mariana which results to her pregnancy. Early marriage at the early age because of pregnancy, though some accepted it, would still be considered as an issue especially today that practical needs of a family are unreachable. In the story, the author then wants the reader to apprehend what consequence of having early marriage at the early age could give.
Another ethical issue presented in the story is the slaughtering of dogs for dog meat. Biblically speaking, killing is a sin and every life are equally valuable whether it is in the highest form or lowest form of animals. In the story, people at Artiaga St. slaughter dog for their pulutan. Though some people or some countries practice this kind of activities, in the Philippines, killing of animals is strictly prohibited. In a moralistic approach, the critics could consider those people, who killed a dog for dog meat, murderers. Dogs and humans, according to Biology, belong to the same kingdom; Kingdom Animalia. This proves that whether it’s a human or a dog, taking their life is a sin. As stated in the Ten Commandments “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20 v.13). Its only God’s job to take the life of his creation.
Deriada, the author of the Dog Eater, wrote the story not just to tell a story but rather to impart a lesson. The Dog Eater Story dispose a lot of social and biblical issues that are presently rampant in the society. Derieda, as a concerned citizen, foretells the story that could give readers a lesson to think first before doing or coming to a decision. In a moralistic approach, the critics could conclude that all of Victor’s and Mariana’s adversity came from their mischief. It is evident in the story that the couple created a lot of wrong decision; firstly, when Victor and Mariana stop attending school and marry each other without proper orientation to marriage life which leads them to an atrocious relationship as spouse, secondly, when Mariana decides to abort their second child which ending up a skirmish between the two of them, and lastly when Mariana unconsciously killed their own dog Ramir.
The Dog Eater is a short story of Leonardo P. Derieda, a Carlos Palanca Memorial Awardee, is truly a story that gives not only entertainment, information but also lessons. In this paper, the critics who used Moralistic Approach, which seek only the content and values of a literary piece, have deciphered two ethical issues present in the society and a lesson that a lot of people could consider. The critic showed that early marriage at the early age could lead to a destruction of a household, the unprepared marriage is not normally accepted in the norm. Also, the critics implied that the killing of animals is just like killing a human, taking one’s life is biblically not accepted. And lastly, the critics want the reader to understand the lesson of the story, the story serves as a warning to the readers to be more cautious about their acts.
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