stargazing-dog“Stargazing Dog,” a graphic novel written and drawn by Japanese pop-artist Takashi Murakami, possesses a variety of strong moral lessons delivered through Murakami’s unique technique of writing which appears from the very beginning: in the title and in the cover of the book. The dog pictured in a vast field full of sunflowers, and the mysterious title “Stargazing Dog” are both visually appealing. However, the first scene of the novel begins with an old corroded car with a corpse and a dead dog in it. By drawing such dramatic and contrasting images in the cover and in the first scene, Murakami catches immediately the readers’ attention. Another significant technique is that the narrator of the novel is the dog itself. Instead of using a third person’s human point of view, Murakami choose to have a dog as the narrator. This has a strong effect because you see the corruption and the despair of human society from an outside perspective.

The solid plot and the detailed graphics strengthen the main points and the moral lessons that Murakami wants to tell. One day, an abandoned dog comes to the home of a family, where “Daddy” is a father and a husband. Murakami writes: “Daddy wasn’t a bad guy who would deserve to die such a miserable death. He may have been rather thick, but was a normal and simple kind of person.” Daddy is set up as an unfortunate character who loses his family and job due to his failure to adapt to dramatic changes at home and in society. While continuing his life with a dog in a car, Daddy meets a homeless kid. The homeless kid runs away from them, taking Daddy’s wallet even though Daddy took care of him with a warm heart. However, Daddy does not blame the kid but instead says, “I feel down but it’s not because all my money’s gone. The boy can’t take people’s kindness.” The dog is eventually the only one who understands Daddy but through his words we learn the important lesson that human relationship is more important than material things.

To sum up, “Stargazing Dog” is a short and simple graphic novel that contains many important moral lessons we often forget. It is a good book not only for children but also for adults who seek to find what true happiness is.

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