The Call of the Sadness

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In Stephen King’s, “The Dead Zone”, there is a scene where a travelling salesman pulls up to a rural home. He figures out that no one is home and, while he’s judging the scenario, the family dog runs up to the car barking and snarling and protecting his home. In a way only King can, the story unfolds to a horribly graphic scene where the salesman kicks and stomps the dog to death.

When I read this book, yeesh, probably a decade ago, I remember being horrified at the story. King says he has received more hate mail and threats due to this scene than from any of his other stories…nevermind that it is a work of fiction.

One of the reasons I was so taken aback is because I wasn’t expecting to read about a dog, much less a family pet getting murdered. As a rule, I don’t read books about dogs. Main reason is because in almost every one, the dog dies at the end. I HATE this! I’ve never read (nor watched) Old Yellar, Where the Red Fern Grows, Marley and Me-none of those. And I don’t think I ever will.

And yet? In an effort to read more classics, I’ve been working through “The Call of the Wild.” I know, I know. I broke my own rule. Now that I’m halfway through the book, I have to finish it. But to read these stories, fiction though they are, it just wrenches my heart to think about dogs being beaten and “broken.”

What about you? Are there certain types of media you won’t consume in order to protect your feelings? If so, share in the comments!

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  • Susabelle Kelmer

    There are things I won’t read, or watch on television. Violence against women is a big one with me, I’m reluctant, for sure. Also, anything Holocaust related, as I’ve studied it and I just can’t stomach much of it. Prison violence is another I avoid reading.

    No one says you have to read everything, or that you can’t pick and choose what you read. I am no longer a student, and “assigned reading” is long gone for me. Now I read what I want to read.

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