Heroism In Harlan Ellison's A Boy And His Dog

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Man’s Best Friend: An Examination of Heroism in Harlan Ellison’s “A Boy and his Dog” “Loosely speaking, one might call the protagonist of any narrative its hero. However, the convention of describing flawed or despicable protagonists as "anti-heroes" establishes that true heroes are not simply centers of attention, but objects of admiration and respect.” (Westfahl 376) In Gary Westfahl’s critically acclaimed reference guide, “The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works and Wonders.” The conventions of a typical hero are examined through the lens of science fiction itself, and within it’s immediate context in literary culture. By using this encyclopedia to examine the conventions of the typical science fiction hero as it applies to Vic in “A Boy and His Dog” by Harlan Ellison, one can determine that the circumstances of the world in which Vic and Blood live affects their own status as typical “heroes”. They are heroes within the context of their story, and not beyond. By breaking down the…show more content…
Vic himself admits that Blood had in fact taught him everything he knows: “When you’d been as dumb as I’d been and a dog like Blood’d taught me so much, a guy came to believe everything he said. You don’t argue with your teacher.” (Ellison 98) With a childlike concept of authority, Vic confirms that as a human being living on earth, his only connection to true intelligence such as science, math and history, came from his dog. “[N]either brawns nor brains will be enough to prevail if a hero lacks the courage to take decisive and appropriate action” (Westfahl 376) Blood and Vic have courage when it comes to each other. They have very little loyalty to adhere to outside one another until Quilla enters their lives, but even then- Vic chooses Blood in the end. He remembers his promise to him, and his responsibility: “Sure, I know. A Boy loves his dog.” (Ellison

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