Mark Twain was an American Writer, journalist and humorist. He was strongly against the inequality, injustice and hypocrisy of human beings. To highlight and criticize these discriminations he has used satirical language in a humorous way in his short stories. In one of his short-story “A Dog’s Tale” reveals the selfishness and cruelty of human beings towards other human beings and animals. The story is about the faithfulness of animals with their masters but their masters are cruel and selfish and use animals for their own benefits. Human beings are disloyal to their pets. Human beings consider themselves torch bearers of civilization but actually they are going back to their generic animal instincts. All the qualities of human beings are shifted to animals and human beings has revoked the development from being an animal to a human being. One of the example of this transition is that the mastiff had helped Saddie in planting seeds which is a productive and humanitarian activity where as Mr. Gray has played a destructive role in taking an innocent life for his materialistic benefit.
A dog is one of the innocent creatures. In “A Dog’s Tale” a dog has been made to tell a tale because the problems and hardships faced by this community. A dog is loved by human being. They keep them for their company and give them shelter in the same home where they themselves live. Dogs can not be replaced by any other pet as they help their masters in domestic activity, safeguard them, live with them like a family member and stay with them in every situation either favorable or adverse where as a cat changes homes frequently and show no emotional attachment with the family. Same is the case with horse that can also be kept as a pet. It can only fulfill the need of riding and conveyance but again no indoor connection with the family or house. A dog is more close to human beings and considers the home of their masters as their own one, as we have noticed in “A Dog’s Tale” when Aileen said,
“It was such a charming home! – my new one; …”
So a Dog is justified in telling a tale as compared to other animals.
A dog could be made to write an autobiography or a poem but it is narrating a Tale because a tale is more of a narrative form and it can be expected from a dog to narrate a tale. Whereas an autobiography can not be narrated, it needs writing some personal experiences which can only be done by some educated species. Same is the case with poetry which is produced in the presence of creative skills which again is a limitation in dog’s personality.
A dog’s tale is an allegory as the vary title suggests the symbolic meaning. On the surface level the title suggests the injustice attitude of the so-called scientist towards animals whereas at the deeper level the title highlights the hypocrisy of human beings and their false pretension to the animals and human beings as well. They consider themselves civilized, educated and reasonable in their acts but do neglect the feeling and emotions of other people where conflict of on interest arises. In “A Dog’s Tale” Mr. Gray brought in the mastiff for the pleasure of his daughter, Saddie. The mastiff saves the life of Mr. Gray’s baby by putting her life in danger. It shows her faithfulness towards the master and obedience to her mother, who told her; “In memory of me, when there is a time of danger to another do not think of yourself . . .”
The story can also be inter-related with another short story “The Fly” written by Katherine Mansfield. In “The Fly” a fly fell pray to a cruel boss just like a puppy killed by Mr. Gray in “A Dog’s Tale”. In both the stories the human being is behaving like demy-gods and considers animals and birds mere puppet and toys in their hands. They feel no sympathy for them and crush these innocent species for their own benefit and amuse. In “A Dog’s Tale” the puppy and its mother too are helpless in saving its life just like the Fly is helpless in “The Fly”. Both are on the mercy of human characters. Furthermore the boss in “The Fly” can be co-related with the mastiff, Aileen Mavoureen, because the boss has lost his son in a battle and Aileen too has lost her puppy martyred for a so-called noble cause. Both the Boss and Aileen are mourning after their kins but at the end, both accept the tragic fact of the loss of their generation.