Terry Kay's To Dance With the White Dog

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The Power of Love in Terry Kay's To Dance With the White Dog


Terry Kay said there was a grand romance of life between his parents. (179). Kay captures his parent’s undying love and celebrates his family in his novel To Dance With the White Dog. Kay believes that his parent’s love still carried on, even after their death. Sam and Cora Peek’s love is portrayed through the white dog that Sam saw licking up grease on his back porch. Strangely, the white dog looked just like a dog that Sam and his wife had when they first were married. Another factor that makes the occurrence of the white dog even stranger is that it did not show up at Sam’s house until after Cora died. Kay said that his parents had an undying love; he uses his novel to express his parent’s love. Kay also notes that true love does not recognize the concept of time and can possibly carry on lasting for eternity.

Whenever Sam Peek needed anyone, the white dog was there for him. The White dog would only show herself when she felt necessary. One night Sam Peek’s hip was bothering him very bad. Sam got out of his chair to get a pain pill but hit the floor soon after. The white dog strangely opened the door and was running around the yard. Kate, one of Sam’s daughters, saw the white dog. The white dog was trying to protect Sam and was only there for him in times of crisis. The white dog was possibly Cora’s undying love extending from heaven. Cora wanted to be there for Sam regardless of the boundaries and she was able to through the white dog. Later on in the book, Sam died from cancer. Sam’s youngest child, James, went to his parent’s grave. “James walked into the plot, between the grave mounds of his mother and father, and he knelt. Then he saw them: across the chest of sand on the grave of Robert Samuel Peek, he saw the paw prints, prints so light they could have been made by air.” (178). Cora did not have to worry about Sam since he was finally with her in heaven. So as soon as Sam died, the white dog disappeared.

Terry Kay believed that there was an undying love between his parents. That was evident in the short time the white dog was with Sam.

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The white dog was there for Sam only in times of crisis. Showing herself when she felt Sam was in trouble. Terry Kay points out in his novel that love can possibly go on forever and leap over the boundaries life and death. Cora’s undying love was shown in the white dog. The white dog was there for Sam in the short amount of time that he and Cora were separated. Shortly after Sam’s death, the white dog disappeared because Sam was finally with Cora in heaven[b5] [b6] . There is a biographical connection between Sam, Cora, and Kay’s parents. This novel points it out and celebrates their beauty of love and life.

Works Cited

Kay, Terry. To Dance with the White Dog. New York: Washington Press Pocket Books, 1990.

Teacher's Comments

Your topic selection remains unclear at the end of your intro. I’m guessing that you will be explaining the usefulness of biographical criticism.

After establishing the author’s full name refer to him/her by last name only. Vary the sentence structure. A strong thesis must have a clearly focused intro.

Variety in sentence structure is necessary. Think of complex sentences.

I believe that you are trying to establish the biographical connection between Sam, Cora, and Kay’s parents. You must say this.


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