Rooke’s Hooker is convincingly a dog but is, at the same time, much more than a dog. The author has evidently observed dogs closely, as is shown by the graphic particulars of Hooker’s behavior whether fighting, rutting, feeding, howling, barking, or gallivanting. Rooke’s conjectural accounts of Hooker’s canine perception of particular people and places are persuasive enough. Hooker’s conversations with other dogs about such topics as poaching and pendulous scrotums are equally plausible. One of the more convincing portrayals of Hooker’s canine world is that of his early days with his mother and sister.
Hooker, however, is as much human as canine, and as such, he becomes a fantasy portrait. His canine companions observe that he occasionally is partly human in appearance. When a drunk addresses him as his son and holds him erect on his hind legs, Hooker feels “grand” standing as a Two Foot, his term for man. It is Hooker’s thoughts, however, that set him apart from the canine world and impart to him his human personality. He is philosophical and learned. He is acquainted with Aristotle’s works. He believes in the immortality of the soul and is capable of defending his position against Will. He laments the lot of beggars and orphans and criticizes Will for ignoring them and rejecting egalitarianism.
Hooker is cantankerous, aggressive, and foul-mouthed, but he has much humane understanding and tolerance of man and dog. He is...
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