Study Guide

Bob in The One and Only Ivan

By Katherine Applegate

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Bob is the resident wisecrack and cynic who refers to himself as "a dog of uncertain heritage" (introductions.418), which is a fancy and funny way of saying he's a mutt. When he talks about his canine brethren, it is usually to disparage poodles, whom he refers to as parasites. Poodles seem to represent a pampered lifestyle that Bob never got a shot at. Snickers, the poodle Mack employs to dance on Stella as she performs, sleeps on a pink pillow and eats from canned food. Bob, however, is a dumpster diver who thinks of himself as a "wild beast" with a nomadic spirit.

Though Bob seems to embrace his rough and tumble identity, his lot in life isn't exactlt chosen. See, Bob was abandoned by a human, ditched along with his littermates and left to fend for himself, so he's got some trust issues and prefers to go it alone. Also, in case it wasn't clear, Bob's a dog. Woof.

While dogs are often called man's best friend, though, Bob won't let humans touch him. Can't say we blame him given the whole ditched-as-a-young-pup debacle. Eventually he makes Julia the exception to this rule, but can you blame him? Julia's a pretty exceptional human.

Though he's none too fond of humans, Bob is still a dog when it comes down to it, and this means he's loyal. He's just mainly to Ivan instead of someone who walks on two legs. This loyalty, and his predilection for sleeping on Ivan's stomach, lets us know that underneath his devil-may-care exterior, Bob's got a soft side. Aw.

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