Study Guide

There Is No Dog Isolation

By Meg Rosoff

Isolation

Perhaps, she thought, it would be best if she didn't go into the whole thing about leering boys with the Holy Father. "I hope you don't mind my pointing out that it does put people off sometimes. Not that I'm complaining." Was she? "It's just that people seem not to see me sometimes. See me, that is, the real me." (15.15)

Weird, isn't it? The same beauty that you'd think would have Lucy swimming in boyfriends actually ends up isolating her from people. It's hard to be different—whether you're extremely beautiful, extremely smart, or—like Bob—extremely God-like.

The thought of seeing her again made him giddy. Was it possible that after all these years he had finally found a woman who would love him for his real true self? The him with emotions and feelings and needs beyond all that Supreme Ruler stuff? (16.25)

Okay, wait a minute. Doesn't Bob create his own isolation by always transforming into something else to find love? We're not even sure there really is a real him beneath all that Supreme Incompetence stuff.

For whole moments at a time, you could almost feel sorry for him. He did look lost. And if (by some quirk of fate) Mr. B happened to be in the mood to notice, he could see the isolation that enveloped Bob like a shroud, and the sadness too. (12.60)

Okay, so God isn't just a horny teenager, but a depressed horny teenager. Maybe he should try getting more sleep? Or maybe finding some nice friends his own age to play basketball with, or whatever.

She wasn't entirely sure what to make of his family history, but nonetheless sensed something vulnerable in Bob, something lonely and worthy of love. (26.44)

Lucy's take on Bob is a little odd, because she seems to be linking "lonely" with "worthy of love." Why would the two be connected? Does everyone deserve to be loved?

He [Bob] trembled at the thought of Lucy; a bubble of happiness exploded in his chest. We, he thought. Lucy and me: together. He marveled at the power of this human girl to make the terrible solitude of his life recede. This was what happiness felt like—this wondrous, miraculous alternative to dread. (33.22)

Poor Bob. Horny, depressed, and also in a constant state of dread. We're not sure what he's been dreading, but maybe it has something to do with, oh, being alone forever? Which, in the case of an immortal, literally is forever.

No world was as beautiful as this world he'd created, Bob thought, none so delicately poised between life and death. Mr. B might berate the short-lived race he'd made, berated it all the time, in fact. But he was proud of the experiment, proud of the weird evanescence all those short lives produced. OK, maybe it wasn't so nice for them, but at least they didn't drag along day after bloody day, always the same. Always alone. (34.22)

Okay, here's the big answer to why God made us mortal: so we'd appreciate being alive. See, Bob doesn't get too much of a kick out of the whole immortal thing, since there's nothing to make being alive seem special. Um, OK. Thanks? We guess.

Bob looked at Lucy and knew—he knew—that with her by his side he would never be lonely again, would never again suffer the heart-wrenching isolation of his position. Lucy would share every aspect of his life, the good and the bad; she would love him and be loved. (35.22)

This is your classic case of a power imbalance. Bob is, you know, God; Lucy is 21. And a virgin. There is absolutely no way this relationship is every going to be equal, and there is no way it's going to work. There just isn't.

"Just what? Oh, I get it—you noticed that I'm a teensy bit less suicidal than usual and you've come to fix that?" (36.9)

Even teenage Gods hate parental interference, which raises a question: is Bob ever going to grow up? No, seriously. Was he born a teenager, or do gods just age really, really, really slowly?

He [Luke] chose his turret in a spirit of self-denial, he now thinks. Locking himself off from the world. He laughs at himself. Such a princess. Perhaps he has had enough of exile. (45.4)

Unlike other characters, Luke chooses his isolation, but we're not sure it works out the way it was supposed to. Maybe if he'd been a little less closed off, he and Lucy could have gotten together in the first place and avoided all this mess.

When Bernard stands up, the other man [Mr. B] looks suddenly as if he might cry. "Don't run off, please. I'm sorry. I talk too much." (45.33)

Why do you think it's so important to Mr. B that Bernard doesn't leave? We've talked a lot about Bob's isolation, but it occurs to us that poor Mr. B is pretty lonely, too—and Bernard seems like a man who might understand him.