While displaying the relationship between the owner and his dog, Dotty is able to portray the unman problem of living in the past and future through the integration of literary elements such as persona and imagery. The persona of the poem demonstrates the theme as it remains upbeat, enjoying the moment regardless Of the human who contemplates both the past and future. It is apparent that the persona influences the underlying message of the poem because it is joyful and erratic behavior throughout the poem.
In the first line of the poem, it says, “Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention/seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so” (AL 1-2). The dog starts out the poem displaying its excited nature by shifting thoughts from fetching balls and sticks to possibly catching them. Since the dog is so excited about the objects around him, he feels true pleasure from the present. However, the persona describes his master in the story as “haze-headed” (AL 1 2), because he is caught in reflection about the past and future.
The Golden Retriever illustrates his master by saying, “… You’re sunk in the past, half our walk, ‘thinking of what you can never bring back” (AL 7-8). The persona ascribes masters reflection as unnecessary because he is occupied in thought which has already transpired. Although the persona indicates no evidence of its masters sadness in his thoughts of the past, it is clear that the human cannot be truly happy like his dog by living in the past, because of the contrast created between their behaviors.
The imagery presented in the poem exhibits the theme because it assists the persona continue its enthusiastic behavior in the present, while creating images of different objects to display its attitude about the actions happening in the moment. In the first stanza of the poem, the Golden Retriever uses phrases that create imagery to enhance the happiness that the persona displays in the present. After a couple shifts of thought in the first stanza, the persona says excitedly, “Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s-oh/joy’ (AL 3-4).
The images the Golden Retriever produces a positive image because the imagery applies an optimistic connotation about the dog’s actions in the present. When the canine shifts his attention towards the human, although the persona remains whimsical in its activities, it creates images which express its disapproval of the humans’ contemplation Of the past and future. It says, “muck, pond, ditch, residue/ of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?… O’er off in some fog concerning/ -tomorrow/’ (AL 5-6… 9;10). The images portrayed by the persona produce a negative image about the humans reflection of the past and future because the terms all contain an adverse connotation. At the end of the poem, the persona uses imagery to demonstrate its happiness in the present. After the dog shows disapproval of its master’s contemplation of the past and future, the dog shows its enthusiasm as it calls his master back to the present.
The Golden Retriever brings back the human by saying, “This shining bark, / a Zen masters bronzy gong, calls you here” (AL 12-13). The persona describes his attitude with the word “shiny” because he is cheerful that the human is coming back to reality and enjoying the present. Although the persona continues its exuberant behavior throughout the poem, it is clear that happiness originates from living in the present because of the contrast in the imagery created between the human and the dog.