Before we leave Dogeaters entirely, I had some thoughts on Joey. We talked on Friday about how he could be the moral center of the novel and why we adore him so much. From the first time we meet Joey he tells us “Uncle says I was born a liar, that I can’t help myself. Lies pour out of my mouth even when I’m sleeping” (45). Yes, he lies, just like everyone else; but, what seperates him from the other characters is his self-awareness. Joey admits he lies which allows us to trust him more than others. His transparancey makes him one of the most honest characters in the book. If he isn’t honest about his interations and the people around him, he is at least honest about himself. He is vulnerable and open and truthful and human; he admits his flaws openly. And I think this trust is something we cannot get from other characters, (or if we think we do, the next page immeadiately derails that) which is why we care about Joey so much. He provides us with a little bit of Truth with a capital T.


Joey!!!! <3
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One thought on “Joey!!!! <3

  • November 4, 2019 at 6:51 am

    I agree. I think it’s especially interesting to contrast Joey and Rio (who seem to be parallel characters, at least in terms of importance to the actual plot). At the beginning of the book, if you had asked me who the more truthful character is, I would have said Rio without a doubt. But of course at the end, that gets way more confusing. I think that what Hagedorn is doing with the two characters is showing that the more “believable” voice, or the one that purports to be honest, is, if not entirely untruthful, at least as unbelievable as all the other voices.

    I think the other important thing to note about this is that, to my understanding, Joey is the only major character with any kind of character arc. He changes fundamentally from the beginning to the end of the novel, by getting off drugs, leaving Uncle behind, and forming a meaningful relationship with Daisy. All the other characters do not change much from the beginning to the end (maybe there are a couple of exceptions, but I can’t think of any…). So in this way, Joey is the “protagonist” of the novel.

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