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Tuesday, October 6, 2015


We sometimes get so annoyed at someone in our lives that we feel helpless. We feel so angry that we feeling like killing the one who troubles us. But we know that it is immoral to do so and so we keep quite.
But this annoyance fades away in sometime as we get used to the situation and get adapted to dealing with it with a positive attitude. We often start taking it lightly and start enjoying it and the anger of the past gets buried deep somewhere without giving us any discomfort.
Billy Collins, the poet, is also too annoyed with his neighbor’s dog who keeps barking continuously. Billy is not able to tolerate the noise of the bark and is terribly annoyed.
The tone of annoyance is prominent in the initial part of the poem. The title-‘Another reason why I don’t keep a gun in the house’ brings out his intolerance and indirectly suggests that if he had a gun in the house, he would have killed the dog next door.
Even though he wants to suppress the bark, yet he doesn’t want to be violent. The repetition of the phrase ‘The neighbor’s dog will not stop barking’ suggests that he is too annoyed over the barking dog.
The pain that the poet feels due to the bark of the dog is re-emphasized in the lines where the dog’s barks clash with the Beethoven’s symphony playing on the poet’s orchestra. The image of the muted rhythmic barks of the dog being heard even when the symphony was being played at loud volumes on the orchestra clearly brings out the poet’s intolerance for the barking dog.
In spite of his annoyance over the dog’s incessant barks, the poet is able to get over and accept it. The tone of reflection is seen when the poet imagines the dog to be a solo part of his symphony. The line “his head raised confidently as if Beethoven had included a part for the barking dog” is a humorous way that the poet adopts to accept the intolerable dog. He manages to put himself to a restful state where he imagines the dog to be sitting in the oboe section of the orchestra barking his part. Also this is an acceptance to the fact that music may come from anywhere and not merely precious music instruments. He reflects upon the thought that all musicians are listening in surprise standing still when the dog continues to bark as if the bark was some pleasant and touching music by the dog.
The poet switches his tone from intolerance to acceptance and reflection in a humorous way. The imagination of the dog sitting on the orchestra is weird yet mind-provoking about the poet’s change in outlook towards the barking dog. The idea is evident that any annoying situation should gradually be accepted to bring back your peace of mind and to feel light and better about it. What annoys you highly can turn out humorous just by changing your outlook towards it.
Mr. Collins is obviously annoyed with the barking dog next door.  I can relate to this poem, as I would try to suppress the noise of a next door neighbor’s dog as well. The poet turns the annoyance of the dog, into a playful and humorous event, placing the barking dog into Beethoven’s orchestra.  The title is referring to the notion that if he had a gun in the house, he would most likely go next door, and kill the dog. I’m guessing he would regret his decision afterwards, so he decides not to keep a gun in the house all together. The title definitely catches the reader’s attention, in the fact that it is humorous, and just an odd title. The repetition of certain phrases, such as “The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking”, stresses to the reader really how annoying this dog must be. It also seems like that no right-minded artist would ever put a dog into one of his symphony’s, yet when the reader see’s that a dog is in Beethoven’s symphony, and a solo part at that, that it must be automatically accepted and applauded, because it is Beethoven.  The way Collins handles this problem through his imagination, creates a new way for him to handle it in a non-violent manner. I think if he did indeed have a gun in his household the dog would die, so not even owning a gun, takes the temptation out of the picture. You can relate to this if you were on a diet, and someone bought a pint of ice cream and stuck it in the freezer. The temptation would be there, and it would most likely turn out badly, resulting in that person eating the ice cream and ruining their diet. On that note, Billy Collins relieves his temptation by not even owning a firearm.

        Billy Collins’ “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” has a tone of musing and a theme of acceptance. It begins with the speaker being terribly annoyed at a dog that is constantly barking as if the neighbors “switch him on on their way out.” There is a short period where the dog and the music the speaker puts on clashes, but soon they become one and he sits there listening to the dog bark, finally content. The theme and tone is chiefly brought out through Collins’ use of imagery, “and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra.”

        The poem begins with a tone of annoyance, in fact, the title: “Another reason why I don’t keep a gun in the house” helps to emphasize the speaker’s annoyance with the dog – although it never really addresses who he intends to shoot, himself or the dog. The first two stanzas both begin with the same line “the neighbors’ dog will not stop barking,” once again reinforcing the pain this pesky dog is causing the speaker. The second stanza is where the conflict arises. For a brief moment, the dog’s muffled barks, “barking, barking, barking,” clash with the Beethoven symphony yet directly following this, the speaker imagines him in the orchestra.
It is not until the speaker has accepted the dog’s incessant barking that Collins begins to use imagery to convey a theme of acceptance, and a tone of reflection. Suddenly in the third stanza, the dog becomes part of Beethoven’s symphony with “his head raised confidently as if Beethoven had included a part for barking dog.” As the recording ends, the speaker imagines the dog sitting in the oboe section continuing to bark his part. This final image of the poem truly conveys a tone of acceptance – perhaps that music does not have to come from expensive instruments but it can come from anywhere. The fact that the speaker imagines this grand scene of the dog’s barking solo while all of the other musicians listen in awe to the “famous barking dog solo” also suggests a tone of reflection. That the speaker has finally accepted this dog’s bark, and is now reflecting upon it.
 At first glance when looking at the work you really don't perceive to view the title and the dialogue as one in the same. Although after analyzing the entire content of the poem it's quite evident what is meant by the use of the dog as a symbol. The canine is truly symbolic because it is what it meant by keeping a gun in the house. The symbolic nature derives from the dog's constant barking and the narrator's need to keep the dog shut. From this active symbolism it can be interpreted that if the narrator in fact did have a firearm he or she would no doubt use it to dispense of the dog. So, it's actually quite ironic that the title is what it is, because while the title alludes to no having a firearm for fear of using it against a constant nuisance(dog) we see the narrator would almost but certainly go against what they display in the title. What it comes down to is that the narrator states they don't keep a gun in their home because they know obviously in the heat of the moment they will utterly use it without constraint and in this case kill the dog. 
    The symbolic use of the dog in the poem as the main nuisance was uniquely done by Billy Collins. This case of creating the problem to allude from a dog rather than a person gave the story a richer feel in word choice and interesting dialogue to go with. An interesting take on the poem seen was the personification of the dog to act as if it were capable of human traits such as the allusion of "rhythmic bark" and included Beethoven orchestra to mention.


Yes, the dog is annoying. Yes, dogs bark endlessly as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Yes, the narrator would be inclined to shoot the dog if he owned a gun. Now that’s out of the way…
This is a rather grumpy narrator: this seems to be one of many reasons he offers himself for his lack of a firearm. “Another” reason. (I wonder how many reasons he needs? Also, if he had a gun, would he even have the balls to shoot his annoyances, or would he make another excuse to avoid doing something?) Given his reclusive tendencies–shutting the windows and blasting music rather than talking to his neighbours about the problem–he’s probably the cliched old man who squirts kids with a waterhose when they pass too close to the lawn.
This isn’t a poem about life’s unnecessary annoyances. This is a poem about being unnecessarily annoyed with life.
The narrator embraces a dissatisfied passivity that turns everyday occurrences into unbearable burdens. The perhaps distressed barking of a lonely little dog (I assume little as the barking is high-pitched) comes across as a noise engineered specifically to piss him off; It comes with an on-off switch deliberately flicked to torment the neighbours. And the narrator grumbles away in his shut-up house attempting to out-decibel a dog.
We can become accustomed to almost anything. Those who live near trains stop hearing them. Bodies become acclimated to the cold. Backaches fades into the background. Annoyances become gun-worthy only when the attention hones in on them and refuses to budge. Even with Beethoven in the background, the narrator listens for the bark beneath it.
His solution is snark–a typical Billy Collins response. He imagines (acerbically) the dog as part of the orchestra, barking the infinite coda. But he is right. The dog’s barking is now indeed a part of this particular performance of Beethoven, adding his input to the symphony. If Beethoven’s innovations (very broadly speaking) included unexpected additions, strong rhythms, and expanded orchestras, then adding in an unexpectedly rhythmic dog seems to fit. Mr. Grumpy is strangely on-target.
And forgive this goofy comment: if composers attempt to emulate and recreate nature through their music, how better than adding a touch of nature itself? Life simply happens and will creep in the through the cracks of your fortress no matter how tightly you shut yourself inside. Incorporate it, don’t fight it.
So, another reason why Mr. Grumpy doesn’t keep a gun in the house: one doesn’t shoot the oboist in the symphony. And even if you did, another one sits waiting to take his spot.

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