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The Baddest Dog In Harlem Essay

912 words - 4 pages


The fictional short story “The Baddest Dog in Harlem” is written by the African-American writer Walter Dean Myers, and is part of his collection “145th Street”, which was published in 2001. Drawing from his own experiences growing up in Harlem, Myers have often written about the challenging realities that face today's urban youth. The fictional story could easily have been a real story from the ghetto district. The composition is constructed chronologically and takes place at 145th Street in Harlem, a very poor and highly populated area with slums, gangs, crimes and a high rate of unemployment. When the story is set, is not mentioned in the text. Although the story ...view middle of the document...

A kid claims to have seen someone at the top floor of the apartment block. The narrator and his pals take shelter at a little soul food place, Eez-On-In. People start panicking; people run around and the cops begin shooting. After a while, the shooting stops; someone suggests that the guy with the automatic weapon is brought down. Mary from the restaurant is commanded to go up the apartment, which shows up to be hers. She will not go anywhere with the cops unless she can have a black man with her; the narrator is pointed out. When they get to her place, no one but Mary’s dog is inside. The room is full of bullet holes and the dog is shot dead. Mary starts crying whereas the cops make jokes about her dead dog.

As they are fixing to go down again, one of the cops observes an open door at the end of the hall. The routine is the same and the cops rush in. They come out again, one by one. Their faces are pale; something is wrong. A little knotty-headed boy suffers the same fate as Mary’s dog. They all go downstairs again; Willie asks if it is true what the cops have said about shooting a dog. Willie takes the narrators arm and looks into his face – the narrator does not have to tell him there is more to it…

When it comes to language and style, the text is characterized by slang and influenced by the urban environment. Even the grammar is incorrect, e.g. the title, which is inflected incorrectly; it should have been “the worst dog” instead of “the baddest dog”. In...


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