The True Meaning of Puppy in George Saunders' Puppy

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When I first heard the title of a short story ‘Puppy’? I thought it was about a puppy as a reliable friend. However, some might also define a puppy as a delicious dish. Why does this one word include so many meanings? In the short story “Puppy” by the author George Saunders, there are multiple characters who view single events and objects with contrasting observations. As a result, instead of showing a clear picture of the characters, the story expresses several opinions regarding the morals of the characters, the motivations of their actions, and the meaning of the events that take place. In “Puppy”, George Saunders explores the theory that perception is not a simple term of an object, but a complex interpretation that is influenced by one’s unique and varying past experiences and opinions. The complexity of perception is noticeable;e in one of the story’s narrator, Marie, viewpoint.

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Marie, who is an example of an abusive family, is influenced by her childhood experiences. The way her parents treated her so badly. She perceives the relationship between Callie and her son, Bo. Saunders mentions, describing Marie’s childhood, “At least she’d never locked on of them in a closet while entertaining a literal gravedigger in the parlor” (174). Marie, a mother of two children who has some problems but still has a good life. Her son Josh acts crazy sometimes, however, since he plays a video game called Italian Loaves he calms down. This game simulates the life of a baker who must prepare his bread while avoiding the onslaught of animals such as wolves with distended stomachs and birds that drop rocks. Josh constantly plays this game. Marie is in control of her life and appears to be happy. Her life is weird, but things seem to be going smoothly in her family. Marie has a fascination with bringing home strange things which is what leads her to contact Callie to buy her dog.

Like Marie, Callie is the mother of a strange child. Callie's son has a habit of darting between cars on the interstate. Callie fears for her son's safety, so she makes him take medicines, but it makes him grind his teeth and lose control of his body. Like Marie, Callie has plenty of problems but she still appears to be relatively happy.

Marie and Callie have different living styles. Marie loves bringing home new animals to surprise her husband while Callie has too many animals. Callie hoped that by selling the puppy, her husband wouldn't have to kill animals is the best way to get rid of them since he lived on the farm. He didn't want to kill it but 'He'd have to. Because his feeling was, when you said something you were going to do a thin and didn't do it, that was how kids got into drugs' (Saunders 175).

Marie arrives at Callie's house and intends to purchase the dog. Everything is going smoothly until Marie looks out the window and sees Bo, Callie's son, chained him to a tree. When Marie saw the boy was chained to the tree, she immediately believed that this is child abuse. She flashbacks to her own painful upbringing and changes her mind about buying the dog. Little does she know that this boy is chained up for his own good. It's possible that this chain is keeping the boy alive, in contrast, Marie sees it in a different sight.

Both women love and care about their children, but they express their love in a totally different way. Marie can control her son's behavior by getting him a video game, however, Callie's situation is more complicated. Bo is a fear to himself when he has permission to play outdoors. Callie solved the problem by chaining her son to a tree. This is how love exists in Callie's world. In my opinion, the message of Saunders' 'Puppy' is that mother expressing their love for their besties to help them show their full abilities in life. 

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