Two Sides To Every Coin Essay

693 words - 3 pages

Abuse against children is so foul and disturbing that most people tend to shy away from the topic. Nevertheless, the idea of abuse as either crime or compassion is in the eye of the beholder. These issues are not always black and white. One can look at a situation without any context, and assume cruelty; however, when discovering the circumstances behind the story, we can start to understand that at times, kindness is the intention for those actions. In “Puppy,” George Saunders introduces us to Callie, a mother who walks a very thin line between crime and compassion.
From a spectator’s point of view, we see that Callie’s home is pretty disgusting. Between the filth strewn around, dog turds on the counter and spare tire on the table, her home is extremely unsanitary (Saunders 177). Her child, Bo, has some form of disability requiring medication, yet, Callie does not always give it to him. Without this medication, he leaves the house on his own and darts through traffic on major highways. Bo’s doctor has even told Callie that “this boy is going to end up dead if you don’t get this under control” (Saunders 175). Subsequently, she decides that the best way to control this is to chain him up in the backyard like a dog. This contraption Callie has rigged together enables Bo to run the length of chain, but when he reaches the end, he is jerked back and drops to the ground (Saunders 175). Similarly, just as one would provide water to a dog, Callie has given Bo a bowl to drink from. From this description, one would believe that a social worker would take one look at these obviously criminal conditions and remove the child from the home. Ultimately, we would believe that Callie was an unfit mother.
On the other hand, were we to understand Callie’s motivation for these actions, we might begin to see another picture. For example, the medication Bo is prescribed agitates him to the point of teeth grinding and flailing...

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