In my world being a dog with a bone is sometimes needed to get the job done. Persistence does pay.
By the same token, I am aware how utterly annoying the person who is always a dog with a bone can be … gnawing at issues or situations for self-aggrandisement. They gnaw at the issue or situation with dogged intent. Is it with a power-laden agenda to prove a point and claim the hubristic victory?
A dog with a bone syndrome (my definition) might well be motivated by an ego trip hence such characters are quick at the ready to prove a point, make a statement or perhaps just want to be heard. A sad dog with a bone really.
This excessive gnawing suggests self-obsession, the ‘look at me’ need.
You will find this character type in my novel, Vindication Across Time or can you identify characters in literature you’ve read where such attributes are identifiable?
How about some of these characters?
-Shakespeare’s Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night – hankering after love:
If music be the food of love, play on/ Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting/The appetite may sicken and so die.
– Shakespeare’s King Lear in the play by the same name, desirous of hearing how he is loved by his daughters:
… which of you shall we say doth love us most. That we our bounty may extend.
A vain ploy, albeit by an aging king and father, to ‘buy’ profanations of love.
And then this living character…
I know words. I have the best words– D. Trump
-el supremo, vainglorious narcissist.
Note the positions of power in each of the above, male, duke, king, president.
But what about the humanitarian goal-focused dog with a bone? What defines this person?
# hope, authenticity, and determination
# embraces challenges
# wants the best things in life for self and others
Shakespeare’s Cordelia, King Lear’s daughter, says:
I love your majesty according to my bond, no more no less.
This girl tells it like it is! She speaks from the heart in her truth. She stands by her truth like a saintly puppy with a bone who is prepared to forgo her part of her inheritance from her father’s kingly estate in:
Nothing will come of nothing.
This is an admirable quality that is included in my novel, Across Time and Space. Who is it?
But while pursuing these noble intentions, individuals/characters might walk all over those who support and promote them by becoming consumed by their goals to the point of frustrating others with their exuberance, self-centredness and misfired passion.
So how does one or one’s crafted character become a pleasant goal-focused dog with a bone?
# have a purpose that will also benefit others
# know when to take a break from the bone of self-promotion, in other words, give the jaw a break.
# consult with peers and others and share by being an active listener.
Where are these characters in literature?
How about Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet? He knew he could no longer prevent Romeo from wanting to marry Juliet, so he dutifully got them married.
And the wonderful, Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird who was relentless in proving the African American, Tom Robinson, innocent of the allegation by Mayella and her father Bob.
The dog with a bone characters make interesting case studies and create engaging plots with perhaps a moral lesson.
A valuable, and historic determination is Martin Luther King in:
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Be a dog with a bone or craft such characters but know when to give the gnawing a rest. Craft characters who echo tireless values that promote change for a better world or expose the dark side through characters who invert goodness.
Some valuable motivational quotations to guide your characters’ actions:
I hope you enjoyed this and encourage you to comment and share your views on characters who have had an impact on you. Share your thoughts in the message box below.