Tuesday, October 1, 2013


a.) A big Little Life by Dean Koontz is primarily about a Golden Retriever, Trixie, of which Dean and his wife, Gerda adopt. The story tells background on the family and Trixie and then goes into the perks and downsides of not only having a dog, but having Trixie specifically. Dean emphasizes how Trixie impacted their lives all throughout the story.
b.) This story is about the impact a special dog made on an average couple.
2. The author, Dean chose to write about his dog Trixie, because she was special. She played a special role in their family's lives, as well as many others, considering she was a service dog. Also, I think that this was Dean's "memorial" to his favorite companion. He wanted to show recognition for all that Trixie did. Lastly, Trixie WAS NOT an ordinary dog. She exemplified many times her "not the average dog" character. Many incidents it was as if she was a human. She could understand things Dean or Gerda would say. She even recognized the smell of one of her litter brothers from years earlier at a random meeting. Dean wanted the world to know of Trixie's incredible demeanor.
3. I wanted to read this book because I have a love for animals. Seeing as this was a non-fiction story about a dog, I figured the dog must have been amazing or special in some way, or such a book may not exist. I like the dynamics of animals in a story in that an animal is portrayed as a "hero" which is awesome for such a "helpless" (stereotype/generalization) creature. What made me continue to read it was the fact that everything I said above was true!
4. The book was realistic in many ways. But, I felt that each event that Trixie preformed, I compared to my dog and I could never see my dog doing these things! I do know, however, that dogs react differently with different owner so this made the book realistic to believe that Trixie did these things. I could not, however, relate because my dog is not so intellectually smart. But seeing as I have a dog, this book was somewhat connectable.
1. I can't say for sure, but many of Trixie's attributes seemed exaggerated. This could be because of a special bond that Dean and Trixie shared, but if I met her, I don't think I would experience Trixie the same way! I think that this only shows that Dean was extremely attached to Trixie and how much he really cared. Usually, when people talk up of someone this is usually the case, or they are hiding something about them, but I don't think this is the case. 
2. Gerda is Dean's wife. She is, like Dean, very caring. Her way of life is positive, but like any wife, is reprimanding to her dog, and similarly to her husband. Gerda is open minded and outgoing. Her and Dean are a perfect match together judging by the settings in the book. Her ability to forgive is very astonishing considering how much mischief she dealt with between her husband and Trixie.
Trixie, as if not characterized enough, is an overly intelligent dog. She has a personality on her own. She is friendly beyond belief and loving to anyone she meets. This is why Dean and Gerda so easily fell in love with her. Trixie is also playful and mischievous unintentionally at times. Her demeanor is unforgettable with anyone who knew this dog.
3. These two characters are interesting to write about because of the fact that they are the main characters, and also some of the only. Their characters, or at least the way they are presented, also makes them good characters to follow. Though Trixie is only a dog, she has a better character then most people I know. Also, I like Gerda because she is easy-going and laid back which is a hard trait to develop in a crazy world! Trixie and Gerda together made the story interesting because they were like fuel for each other.

1. An example of direct characterization is Trixie. Because she, being a dog, can't talk, her character is solely direct. Mostly Dean, the author, describes her because he is writing it. There are few indirect cases where in a conversation people will give Trixie credit for her attitude. Gerda is indirectly characterized throughout the whole story. Based on what she says you can tell the kind of person she is. For example the way she reacts to things. Dean Koontz doesn't directly praise her for her personality.
2. Because the main focus of this whole novel is Trixie, Dean is mostly only describing his beloved dog. This being the case, his syntax is mostly remaining the same throughout when describing Trixie. Though, when Trixie did something exceptionally well, Koontz would use diction to emphasize her good dead. One event was when Trixie responded to what Dean was asking her by body movements or a sound. With this, he changed his diction by saying to his wife, "Gerda, Trixie, our dog, our golden retriever, is THE dog. Our dog is not a dog."
3. The protagonist was definitely static. As a dog, an attitude doesn't change. But, if I count Dean as the protagonist (him and Trixie were both) then he was very dynamic. Trixie changed his whole thought process and outlook on life. He did a complete transformation in this novel from before Trixie and after. He became more optimistic on life which he wasn't before.
4. I felt like Trixie was my dog in a sense because I felt like I was experiencing everything she did as well as Dean and Gerda. My heart broke in the end when Trixie died. I felt like my dog died. Because she had such a big impact on many people's lives, she was easy to "know". She was loving, loyal, humble, trustworthy, etc. One passage, "We thought the moment had come, that piece of the blood clot on the wall of her heart had traveled to one of her lungs.", when Dean described this, my emotions kicked in because Trixie was my dog also!
1. Dean uses pathos. I don't think this was intentional, but many people have a soft spot for dogs, including me. Regardless, when Trixie was diagnosed to have blood clots, pathos was "in the air". Also, at the beginning of the book, foreshadowing was used. In the opening, Dean talks about how much his life changed due to Trixie. This let readers get an idea that Trixie would be this good of a dog and her actions would prove it later.
2. Koontz used many lengthy description passages to get his point across. Trixie was described well and I believe that anyone who read this story felt connected to her because of how much we "got to know her". Some description was through dialogue, but it was traits we already knew. The majority was through passages.
3. Like listed in question number 1, to create mood, a great deal of pathos was used to evoke emotion among readers. Dean wanted the readers to feel connected to Trixie. He wanted her to receive recognition for her actions. To do this, the most effective way was pathos and he used it to his advantage.
4. Dean's attitude toward this subject was sad, but thankful for the time he had with his best friend Trixie. He was also reminiscent on everything that happened. He never expressed regret of any kind. In describing her life, he was upbeat, and positive.
5. Some interesting evidence I found was the fact Dean and Gerda are actually huge donors to the organization that Trixie came from, Canines Companions for Independence (CCI). Knowing this, made Trixie that much more real. It made her actions reliable because Trixie came from this group that does wonderful things for people with special needs and they train their dogs to accompany these needs. Dean also made a website for her with videos, fans, and more info on this wonderful dogs life. It can be found here http://www.deankoontz.com/trixie

"In each little life we can see great truth and beauty, and in each little life we glimpse the way of all things in the universe." -Dean Koontz. This quote said by Dean himself is so true and powerful. In a way life is so short. We need not take these little moments of bliss for granted. What we should do is cherish each moment and each person, or in this case animal, who comes into our lives. Dean realizes this through Trixie's life and I think this is the way I need to start living. Another thing I took from this book that will stick with me is that you never know what can change your perspective or outlook on life. I must stay open minded and be ready for my life to be impacted in any form. It could be the smallest of gestures or words, or it could be a huge event like traveling that will make me realize what life is about. I love how Trixie changed Dean's whole life. I can't wait for this experience.

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