Somewhere a dog barked….

by thiszine

In a post on Slate, Rosecrans Baldwin muses on the surprising (over)usage of the barking dog in writing, from Charlene Harris and Henning Mankell to Harper Lee, James Joyce, and Colum McCann.

Baldwin says: “Most authors… employ the trope as a narrative rest stop, an innocuous way to fill space and time; since the bark is hollow, a reader can read anything into it, or nothing at all… For all we know, these dogs are off-camera sound machines set to woof.”

What about the mewling cats? Or the bellowing cows? If a dog barks in a novel and no one is there to read, does the dog still bark?


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