O/L English Literature Support Materials by RCF – Model answer on the Novel Bringing Tony Home.
The most moving feature of Bringing Tony Home is the relationship between the narrator and his dog. Comment.
The relationship between the dog and the man is one of mutual love and understanding. Dog has been a friend of man from time immemorial and its faithfullness and love towards man needs no elaboration. The novel Bringing Tony Home brings out this relationship between the man and dog in a very moving manner. It is all the more touching since the childhood friendship between the narrator and the dog ends up in a tragedy with the dog vanishing from his life forever due to the circumstances beyond his control.
At their home in Depanama, the child and the dog live happily and their friendship grows from strenght to strenght. Tony was brought home as a little puppy and it is natural that they become close friends. His love for the dog becomes obvious as he calls it ‘roly-poly-fluffy pup’. Nothing can describe his love more aptly than this. Incidentally, this was a prosperous period for their family and the boy and the dog could have spend their time very happily.
The turning point in the relationship between the narrator and the dog comes when they had to leave behind the dog in shifting their home from Depanama to Egodawatta. The dog had to be left behind as the conductor of the bus refuses to take him in. This was naturally a very sad moment for the boy as he loved Tony so much.
The boy resolves to bring Tony home when he was assigned the task of collecting the new ration books and the provisions from their former home at Depanama.
“I was going to take Tony home; walk with him all the way from Depanama to Egodawatta”.
The moment he comes across Tony when he visits Depanama turns out to be a moment of great joy. The dog is over-excited to see his master:
“Tony came out of nowhere charging and barking, leaping, turning, twisting, rolling, jumping, licking, whinning, moaning in a delirium.”
Unlike humans, a dog cannot express its love in words. Thus it uses every action to show its love and affection which makes him such a lovable creature.
The problem arises when Tony does not find a suitable home in Egodawatta. It becomes an unwelcome guest due to lack of space since the home is shared by two families. It is ill-treated and beaten by adults. Finally, it was chased away by Mr Mendis. The boy’s mother urges him to not to worry about the dog, saying that it was an ungrateful creature.
The boy’s attitude undergoes a certain change after that and he begings to pay more attention to his friends with whom he play in the evening. He seems to have forgotten about the dog.
However, when his mother wants him to go to Depanama for the second time, the child is highly confused as he is not sure about how he would react to Tony, should he meet him there. In fact, now he wants to avoid it.
When he meets Tony for the second time, he finds that the latter had been spending a hard time in its life. ‘Now it turned out to be a horrid sick dog’. However, its love for the master has not changed. Its eyes looks at him ‘in pools of bubbling love’.
He somehow manages to avoid Tony and goes home alone with the sweet memories of Tony still haunting in his mind. In the third movement of the novel, the narrator is an elderly person who wants to show that the memories of Tony and his village life also influence him today.
Thus, the writer tries to recall his memories of his pet dog Tony with a deep sense of nostalgia in this novel. It ends in a tragedy as he loses his best friend , Tony forever. Although his attitude towards the dog changes through the movements in the novel, his love for it remains in the form of sweet memories which he cherishes even as an adult.