MovieChat Forums > White DogĀ (1982) Discussion > Meaning of the end? spoiler

Meaning of the end? spoiler


What was the meaning of the scene at the end when the dog decided to attack the old white guy instead of the black guy?

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[deleted]

Which is a lie. The dog in the novel only attacked white people because he was specifically retrained to do so. The point is that he was just trying to do what the people training him wanted--he assumes that there's a reason for their hatred of these other slightly different people, and he's just trying to be a good dog. He finally realizes that both whites and blacks have deceived him, and the understanding that humankind as a whole is unworthy of his trust and loyalty destroys him.

Honestly, name one instance of a white person who started out being racist against blacks, and ended up being racist against other whites. It never happens. Yes, it's very hard to get over racist feelings, and we can argue whether people ever completely do, but you don't see Klan members or Aryan Nation people just suddenly decide that black people are okay but white people totally suck. You also don't see Nation of Islam people decide that white people are okay but black people are The Devil. Racism takes many forms, it can certainly change shape over the course of time, but it doesn't do a complete 180 like that. Political ideology, sometimes. Religion, maybe. Racial animus, no.

The ending makes no sense, and there's no point trying to explain it. If the dog had attacked the old white racist who abused him as a puppy, that would have made some sense. He clearly doesn't want to attack McNichol's character, so he's not attacking white people in general. Is he attacking the Burl Ives character because he looks like his former owner? Makes no sense, because dogs go more by smell and sound, and they don't look that much alike anyway.

It's a bad ending--Fuller and Hanson made too many wrong choices in rewriting Gary's story, and they ended up writing themselves into a corner. Some good visuals, but otherwise an incoherently told story.

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I thought he attacked the old white dude because he looked like the other old white dude, his former owner, we finally met in the previous scene with his 2 grandchildren. Just a thought.

"You have no power over me."

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there is no other logical conclusion to draw...

"in this world there's two kinds of people ... those with loaded guns, and those who dig."

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[deleted]

That was exactly my thought too.

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SORRY FOR A LONG POST, BUT.....

I have an alternate interpretation that may be a touch more hopeful but explain this conundrum. Keys represents the idea that racism can be unlearned & overcome while Carruthers represents the opposite idea. The dog, of course, represents racism in humanity. The ending with the Dog mauling Carruthers to death, though grim & deranged, may be the dog's way of saying to Carruthers' mindset...if I may quote a certain famous green hairball who lives in a trashcan, "Ding-dong, yer wrong!". It also sends the message that, while racism & bigotry in general can be overcome, it'll will take a lot of work, time & inner turmoil within the psyche of the bigot in question & society in general.

Now, there will always be bigotry of all kinds, wars, violence & crime in our world. It'll never be 100% done away with....however, we can change the world for the better & keep human nature's more maleficent aspect under control...if we just put our mind, heart & soul into it. I think all this hyper-cynical, uber-pessimistic, misanthropic stuff is stupid. I feel the same about over-the top hyper-optimism. Cynicism can be a good thing within reason but the "100% Hobbes" stuff is defeatist & limiting. Call me a "Pragmatic Realist-Idealist". I see movies as capable of shaping society & vice versa (not in the stupid, moral panic, 'movies turn you into James Holmes or Harris & Kliebold' way).

When a movie is hopeless, it shares the message that "all is hopeless" and many figure "What's the point of trying to make a better world?". However, if a movie has a hopeful mindset, one can feel a morale boost & "THINK BIG!". For example, the message of "The Stepford Wives" seems to be "Sexism is bad but there's no point in fighting it, Feminism & gender equality will never happen, misogyny will always win, blah blah blah..."....it's so stupid & defeatist. The message of wimps. If I wrote that story, there would be a happier ending & a few sympathetic male characters to boot. The 1970's were defeatist. Granted, grim endings are different & considered a less cliche & refreshing change for some folks and I understand why 70's folks were cynical....but I can't see why folk's would watch a movie to be bummed. There's enough "bumminess" in real life, why put it in fiction? Downer Endings work better in "True Stories", otherwise Happy & Bittersweet works best...but that's my opinion. You don't have to agree.

I think, to a degree, both Rousseau & Hobbes were right, both Humanists & Misanthropes have good points....but it's also a choice. The human species is VERY CLOSELY genetically related to both raging, brutish Chimpanzees & the gentler, more harmonious Bonobos. We have both Chimp & Bonobo within us.

....I think we should focus on and cultivate our Bonobo nature.

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Wow, you are so right :) Thanks for this post :)

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Simply that the dog got the signals mixed up. He was already psychologically unstable and when Keys retrained him to not attack blacks, the dog, having been trained by a white man to attack blacks misunderstood the training to be this black man was training him to attack whites. Keys thought the retraining would only make the dog realize that blacks were not to be attacks and that the dog already knew that whites were not to be attacked.

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That was my interpretation as well. The dog had already gone beyond the point where his training could be undone.

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