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In both Amy Hempel’s “The Dog of the Marriage” and “Nashville Gone to Ashes” I think it is very clever that she chose dogs to interweave with her narrative about men, although I would argue to say that by mere page time men are the side characters in these stories. Similarly, she uses the chimp to talk about performance in the “In The Cemetery Where Al Johnson Is Buried.” In all three of these stories she never explicitly states she is using one to help talk about the other; she never creates a blatant simile.

The line, “An absence of convenient parking, inclement weather, a husband who finds that he loves someone else,” is also affective in making the marriage seem like a side story. She mentions her husband’s infidelity so casually, just as someone would mention the weather. The men in “The Dog of the Marriage” are never spoken about in as much detail as the guide dogs are. Jeanette is also mentioned with no introduction on page 350. The narrator doesn’t care about people in the way she cares about her dogs. I also think it is clever that the dog’s name in Goodman, because her husband seems to not be a good man.

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