(Short Stories for Students)

The societies described in ‘‘A Boy and His Dog’’ are marked by strong divisions. Above ground, there are solos, who do not belong to any roverpaks, but instead fend for themselves, often with the aid of a dog. The numerous roverpaks are similar to gangs. They are violent, unforgiving, and intolerant of being challenged. The cinema is referred to as ‘‘neutral ground,’’ indicating the territorial nature of the rest of the surroundings.

Vic puts himself in danger with a roverpak by preventing them from getting Quilla June and then by killing several of them. This episode demonstrates the violent nature of the divisive world, and it is clear from Vic’s narration that this type of clash is common. In fact, one of Blood’s functions is to help warn Vic of approaching roverpaks so that he can stay out of their way.

The downunders represent another division of society. Although they are not internally divided, they live in tight-knit communities that avoid interaction with others. When Vic is in Topeka, he must spend a week wandering the city to allow the residents to become accustomed to him. The downunders are also important in the story because their existence (which is so different from that of the people living on the surface of the Earth) shows the reader that the Earth itself is divided into different realms.

Violence is a major feature of ‘‘A Boy and His Dog.’’...

(The entire section is 503 words.)