A Dog Named Hopi
Genre: Short Story
- Davis, Cortney
- Date of entry: Sep-22-1999
In my dreams, now, in my re-imaginings, I leap away as easily as a deer, and with as little hesitation. My spandex-covered legs scissor the ditch, and my feet ride the ground instinctively. My brown hair sways as I dart off into the forest . . . In real life, I got into the truck. (p.25)
A young woman retells the story of her rape--to herself, to the reader, and to a therapist who possesses "no startling answers--just a quiet ability to receive and transmute pain." The art of transcending pain through communication is at the heart of this story. The narrator survives by talking to her rapist and challenging his human core, by revealing everything to caregivers, by allowing herself to replay and dissect the details of this trauma.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
August 1999, No. 284
The author of this story is a psychiatric nurse and a strong, insightful writer. The story is startling--it reveals graphic details of a rapist's attempt to humiliate and murder the narrator, as well as sensitive, deeply tender musings about the victim's ability to cling to life, not only of the body but of the spirit. She survives by analyzing her attacker and being the person she thinks he needs: this is the lie and the truth that saves her.
This story might be utilized to sensitize readers to the complicated emotional and physical events of a rape or to stimulate dialogue about what victims do to survive--at the end of the story the narrator opens her door when her attacker knocks. Was it foolishness or a new-found power that let her step back into his world? Communication in its many guises is the many-layered center of this tale and another point of entry into its mysteries.