Dog Years Mark Doty Analysis

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The Ungraspable Life is ungraspable, yet I find myself grasping to it ever so dearly. I attach myself to memories, feelings, possessions, and relationships. I cling so tightly to them, that they become a part of me. They begin to define me. The things we find ourselves grasping onto in life ultimately disappear with death. Why then, do we choose to attach ourselves to this world, when everything will eventually slip from our grasp? Mark Doty explores the ungraspable in his book, Dog Years. If Dog Years points to the ungraspable aspects of life, then why does Doty choose to write about dogs? The answer is simple. Dogs are graspable. Amidst the many ungraspable things in life, we all have something we cling to. Doty clings to dogs. They are a constant to him in the whirlwind of his life. “The dog’s need for [him] is permanent” (30). Moreover, dogs may be a graspable version of ourselves. Doty says that dogs “exist in relation; [their] identity has been built around a particular person” (30). He uses the stability of dogs as a gateway to exploring the depths of ungraspable topics, namely grief, despair, and love. Grief has a way of clenching onto us,…show more content…
This question has many possible answers. Through absorbing and reflecting on Doty’s ideas in Dog Years, I have formulated my own answer to this question to which I think Doty would agree. I believe the answer to this question is love. Love itself is ungraspable, yet the act of loving is the act of grasping at the world. What is life without love? Love is a means of engaging with the world. When this love is ripped from us, we fall to despair and grief. Through despair and grief, moreover, we can have a means to define true happiness. We cannot fully understand the light without a taste of darkness. We all need a place where we can let down our guard and fall apart because of love. Perhaps this place is despair and
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