"No Dogs Bark"
by Juan Rulfo
1.) How did you feel after reading this story?
I thought the story was strange. An aging father
was carrying his son on his back through a desert, a mountainous desert
at that, to some town around the mountain and they were listening for barking
dogs. The son is somehow wounded (we are never told how, I assume in some
kind of fight) because he was a bandit. The bandit's mother (the wife of
the father) is dead.
2.) Why do you think Ignacio does not tell his
father that he hears dogs barking?
I think the dogs might be a sign that a town is near
by. If Ignacio is taken to a town in his helpless condition, he will probably
go to jail after he heals. A bandit cannot survive wounded and weak so
he would rather die a legend than a criminal.
3.) How would you judge Ignacio’s father as
Ignacio’s father is in a tough situation. His wife
died, and his son is a criminal. I think Ignacio’s father is a good parent
for the circumstances he's in. At least he is helping his son, which is
probably a crime since his son is an outlaw.
4.) If Ignacio were to recover, do you think he would
I would think he would change especially if he went
to jail. After the journey through the desert I would think he would see
the only thing that will eventually happen to a bandit: they'll either
die or go to jail.
In "No Dogs Bark" we are thrown into the story.
There is no real setup or "exposition" in the story. We can only guess
at each character's history. There is a conflict between Ignacio and his
father though. His father wants to help him, but there is disappointment
and disapproval inside of the father. The father then makes up the excuse
that he is doing this for his wife, the mother of Ignacio. The father then
opens up what is inside of him and scolds the son which is the rising acrtion
of the plot. The climax of the story begins when Ignacio starts to cry.
The story gets more emotional and then it leaves it up to you to resolve
how it ends. How do you interpret the father's last line, and the father
prying Ignacio's fingers of his neck? Does that mean Ignacio dies? Does
it mean he lives?
In "No Dogs Bark" the author, Juan Rulfo, is trying
to show what can happen to people after the loss of a loved one. In one
case they become gloomy and sad but still find a way to go on. (The father)
In another case they become very angry and upset at the world sometimes
turning into criminals. (Ignacio) Not as many people turn to the 'dark
side' so to speak, as become sad and gloomy as in the case of such people
as Edgar Allen Poe. Poe lost both his circus performer parents by age three.
Even though he went to college and West Point he still turned out to be
a gloomy person. This is probably why he wrote so many dark, scary stories.
Maybe Rulfo lost someone close to him or had an experience similar to the
story. If he did I would suspect he was closer to the father role rather
than the Ignacio role because he seems to concentrate and describe more
about the father. The family bond prevails through all odds. The father
struggles to save his son even though he feels disappointment and bitterness.
He says that he's saving his son not the outlaw.
Language Arts Index
Copyright Ben Gerth 1998.
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