Ending of Cujo

  • This message board permanently closed on June 30th, 2020 at 4PM EDT and is no longer accepting new members.

Sweet One

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2008
527
116
I would have felt like there was some sense of justice in it that didn't make my skin crawl.

I'm not sure I understand everything you said, so I can't agree or disagree with it all. Cujo's prolonged death was horiffic and unnecessary, but again that's the point. KIng is trying to show it's such a cruel and unjust universe. But what would be the justice in Donna and Tad dying? And would it matter whether it was Cujo who killed them?
 

Marty Coslaw

Low-BDNF Gork
May 19, 2018
177
720
34
DC
I would have felt like there was some sense of justice in it that didn't make my skin crawl.

I'm not sure I understand everything you said, so I can't agree or disagree with it all. Cujo's prolonged death was horiffic and unnecessary, but again that's the point. KIng is trying to show it's such a cruel and unjust universe. But what would be the justice in Donna and Tad dying? And would it matter whether it was Cujo who killed them?
I guess I meant that, to me, Tad felt (and I say felt because I would never imply that any reading is "correct," especially this one, which I'm positive wasn't the intention but still seemed like a looming valid interpretation) like a character used as a plot device to give Donna reason to be hysterically upset, and Donna was like this martyr who was suffering extraordinarily for her sin of adultery.

Again, I know this is an extreme reading, but I was frustrated that even the elements of this interpretation are there: Tad and Donna, the adulteress, get the world's worst luck and end up stuck in a driveway unable to get food or water when any number of random coincidences should have granted them freedom (read: God is NOT on their side!). Charity (even her name implies some kind of moral symbolism, and she is portrayed as senselessly loyal to her abusive husband) and Brett get the world's best luck with Charity winning the lottery and having an excuse to get the kid out of the house at the auspicious moment preceding the abusive husband's violent demise (which presumably enables her to keep the money for herself rather than give it to him as she promised). Donna's inexplicably bitter love interest destroys the house seemingly concentrating on anything of sentimental value, and then we're treated to a description of his orgasm-resistant erection: which I read as yeah! Look what she did to their happy home! Now she'll take her medicine!

I know that's a very cynical way of reading it and, again, I don't even think that picking out those particulars is entirely fair to the story, nor would I accuse King of injecting that kind of message into a book. But it's certainly valid to be put off, in whatever way a reader experiences that reaction, when confronted with something "unnecessarily" horrific. That's the whole point of using the word "unnecessary" to describe part of a story, which of course, is not for us to decide, because we're not best-selling authors. In my opinion, though, it was unnecessary (not to mention unrealistic and unexplained) and I don't think conveying that the book is set in "a cruel and unjust universe" makes that carelessness any more appealing. It's not just his death, by the way, that bothers me, it was the entire portrayal as "the author is being empathetic here" when in reality it seemed like one of the worst literary examples of projecting human values through anthropomorphism, thereby devaluing the animal.

As for Tad and Donna dying, that goes back to what I said about them serving as plot devices in some respect, which I fully acknowledge is up to the reader to decide. I would rather that the story's incessant prompting for the reader to be sympathetic had ended and we were left with the question of whether the dog who killed everyone was really the villain--or whatever ended up killing them. It could have been thirst or starvation or heat stroke--or Cujo, I guess that part doesn't matter so much. I thought that in Pet Sematary the reader was left questioning whether an evil influence was more to blame than human weakness for the story's tragic events, and I thought Cujo was a missed opportunity for the same--while simultaneously having strong objections to the traces of religious morals in the background that were probably just the result of my own oversensitivity.
 

Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
17,221
82,822
44
United States
I guess I meant that, to me, Tad felt (and I say felt because I would never imply that any reading is "correct," especially this one, which I'm positive wasn't the intention but still seemed like a looming valid interpretation) like a character used as a plot device to give Donna reason to be hysterically upset, and Donna was like this martyr who was suffering extraordinarily for her sin of adultery.

Again, I know this is an extreme reading, but I was frustrated that even the elements of this interpretation are there: Tad and Donna, the adulteress, get the world's worst luck and end up stuck in a driveway unable to get food or water when any number of random coincidences should have granted them freedom (read: God is NOT on their side!). Charity (even her name implies some kind of moral symbolism, and she is portrayed as senselessly loyal to her abusive husband) and Brett get the world's best luck with Charity winning the lottery and having an excuse to get the kid out of the house at the auspicious moment preceding the abusive husband's violent demise (which presumably enables her to keep the money for herself rather than give it to him as she promised). Donna's inexplicably bitter love interest destroys the house seemingly concentrating on anything of sentimental value, and then we're treated to a description of his orgasm-resistant erection: which I read as yeah! Look what she did to their happy home! Now she'll take her medicine!

I know that's a very cynical way of reading it and, again, I don't even think that picking out those particulars is entirely fair to the story, nor would I accuse King of injecting that kind of message into a book. But it's certainly valid to be put off, in whatever way a reader experiences that reaction, when confronted with something "unnecessarily" horrific. That's the whole point of using the word "unnecessary" to describe part of a story, which of course, is not for us to decide, because we're not best-selling authors. In my opinion, though, it was unnecessary (not to mention unrealistic and unexplained) and I don't think conveying that the book is set in "a cruel and unjust universe" makes that carelessness any more appealing. It's not just his death, by the way, that bothers me, it was the entire portrayal as "the author is being empathetic here" when in reality it seemed like one of the worst literary examples of projecting human values through anthropomorphism, thereby devaluing the animal.

As for Tad and Donna dying, that goes back to what I said about them serving as plot devices in some respect, which I fully acknowledge is up to the reader to decide. I would rather that the story's incessant prompting for the reader to be sympathetic had ended and we were left with the question of whether the dog who killed everyone was really the villain--or whatever ended up killing them. It could have been thirst or starvation or heat stroke--or Cujo, I guess that part doesn't matter so much. I thought that in Pet Sematary the reader was left questioning whether an evil influence was more to blame than human weakness for the story's tragic events, and I thought Cujo was a missed opportunity for the same--while simultaneously having strong objections to the traces of religious morals in the background that were probably just the result of my own oversensitivity.
Yeah, I disagree with that cynical view, but you at least make an interesting argument.