The Gift Of Language In Fifteen Dogs By Andre Alexis

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In the novel, Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, Greek gods Hermes and Apollo make a bet that if they gave any animal the gift of intelligence, the animals would be even more unhappy than humans. In making this bet, fifteen dogs are granted the gift of intelligence allowing them to be able to communicate through their own newly formed language and become self-aware. At first, the dogs band together to form a pack, but quickly realize how language complicates their ability to work together. With the gift of intelligence, the dogs become individuals and think separately rather than working with a pack mentality. There is no longer harmony between the dogs, but instead a fight for dominance and a battle of intelligence. We will identify how language eroded the pack through disagreements and violence as the dogs become aware of their status and differences. The dogs first run into difficulty with their gift of intelligence when it becomes obvious to them that there are different levels of comprehension of their ability to communicate using their new language. Prince is a dog who shows a deeper understanding and love for language compared to the others. We see Alexis bring this point out in the novel when he says, “Prince's words had not been meant as a warning. Rather, he had been playing. He had been pretending. He had been speaking for speaking's sake. Could there be a more despicable use for words?” (28). Prince, being a very clever and curious dog, begins to expand the language,

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