01-18-2008 10:50 AM
Discuss the role that Mutt played in the judge's life?
I will start the ball rolling with some of my initial opinions on what I think might be Mutt's role here.
I have read chapter one only so far and this is just based on what I have gleaned from pages 1-10. If somebody has not read that far, you should not read further.
On the very first page, we have the Judge playing chess against himself. How exciting a game that must have been. And we are introduced to Mutt. Being a great dog lover myself and dog owner, I am always interested in dogs as characters; and I think Mutt is a character in this book even though he is a dog. In fact, my own dear Bentley is just as much human to me as anyone I know (you can tell I love animals).
Anyways, Mutt is sitting or lying "stuffed under his chair where she felt safe" and was snoring in her sleep. I am assuming that Mutt was a she unless I am told differently later.
She seems to feel safe with her owner, the Judge and gives him comfort and affection. I suspect that Mutt may be the only recipient of that open affection and love right now; possibly the Judge has become a cold man to everyone else including himself.
I say that only because of the two sentences that follows this description:
"A single bald lightbulb dangled on a wire above. It was cold, but inside the house, it was still colder, the dark, the freeze, contained by stone walls several feet deep."
I believe that the Judge is the owner of this cold house and this bears a connection to what the Judge has become (cold and dark and very deep - maybe his soul and heart in deep freeze). Yet within this frozen house and frozen man, the Judge obviously loves Mutt. His heart obviously has a soft unfrozen spot for this dog. She does seem sweet and loyal and tender and it is good that she is there for the Judge. I do not think he has anybody else; at least not anybody else he has let into his heart like this dog.
The cook seems to like Mutt to and when it is teatime makes sure that Mutt gets his enamel basin of milk. Mutt doesn't seem to be much of a watchdog and is afraid of the intruders. She very much wanted to like them at first and hoped that they would be nice.
The judge loves this dog and he hated to see her degrade herself; he reached for her and she buried her nose in his arms (they are very connected) and then the judge sat with Mutt in his lap protecting her. And then he grabbed the dog and put her behind him protecting Mutt with his life. I did not see the judge protecting the cook or Sai that way. And I think in part that might show what the pecking order was in the house as far as the judge is concerned.
When Sai exclaimed that the boys were gone, little Mutt "tried to respond despite the fear that still inhabited her eyes". I think Mutt shared that fear with all of the inhabitants of the house including the Judge. And everybody was jumpy even after this gang left including Mutt who was jumpy and even jumped at her shadow.
A very sad house bolstered I think by this wonderful dog whose lovely spirit breathes a little warmth and love into their hearts.
That is just my opinion so far and I would love to hear what others think of this dear little dog and the part she played in the judge's life. I will add to this as I learn and read more.