“’Play dead,’ she said. White Dog turned his head to the side and closed his eyes. His paws went limp. The woman picked up the large shovel that was leaning against the trunk of the tree. She lifted it high in the air with both hands and brought the blade down swiftly on his head. White Dog’s body shuddered twice and his hind legs kicked out into the air, as though he were trying to run. Then he grew still.” (Otsuka 11)
When I read this passage, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe this had just happened. The woman had no emotions when killing her dog and afterwards it was a simple process for her of digging a hole and putting the dog’s body in it. I’ve never had a dog, but I can’t imagine doing this to any animal, especially if he or she had essentially become part of my family. I realize that it might have been easier for the woman if she was still in shock of being told she had to pick up all her stuff and move so quickly, but this scene stuck with me throughout the entire book. I still do not understand how to woman could possibly kill her dog in what seemed to be such an effortless and emotionless manner.
“In the morning he woke up longing for a class of Coke. Just one, with lots of ice, and a straw. He’d sip it slowly. And He’d make it last a long long time. A day. A week. A yea, even.” (Otsuka 59)
Although this passage was not very significant to the book as a whole, it stuck out to me quite a bit. The family is in a terrible living condition, and all the boy wants is a simple class of Coke. It’s something so small, but it means so much to him. I think that for him, Coke was a part of life before they had to move away. Therefore, it symbolized life as it was before, and the boy wanted not just Coke, but also for life to return to the way it was before they were forced to move away from their familiar home and lives.