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Beard begins the narration of her story by depicting her daily routine of taking care of her collie. This comes together with her daily feelings of hopelessness and frustrations. Despite the fact that the feelings may seem to be boring to her audience, the story serves to show how she uses the entire story to show how she uses them as a kind of steadiness in her whole life. That is, following the separation, Jo Ann has nothing totally to look up to. Jo Ann has instead grown to accept her daily life engulfed with feelings of empty void within her (Williford and Martone 1).

The story, The Forth Stare of Matter by Jo Ann, is basically about loss. In her introduction, Beard gives an account of how she is taking care with her dogs, while her Collie is dying at the same time.The dog is supposed to have stokes and seizers more frequently and cannot live longer (Williford and Martone 2). However, Jo Ann is not letting go despite the condition of her dogs. In addition, Jo also refers to the fact that her husband has left. He lives in Lowa city and frequently makes phone calls to ask her, if it was the right decision to leave her. It is obvious that, Jo is reluctant in letting go the people she loves. The same applies to her pets. This translates to why she has squirrels in a spare bedroom upstairs that she is reluctant of letting go. Whenever she lets the animals go, she misses them and thus does not want to let them go (Williford and Martone 1).

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Jo Ann’s ex-husband does not seem much unlike the collie in the whole story. In his persistent calls, he expects Jo Ann to reaffirm his decision to leave her. He does this so that she can ask her where some things are located or how certain tasks are performed. However, there exists a difference between the husband and the collie. The collie is still in love with Jo Ann and has no plans of leaving her. This probably is the reason why Jo Ann is hesitant to let the collie sleep (Williford and Martone 3). This is besides the fact that she loves her dogs and will miss them, when she goes away.

In addition, Jo Ann also has a crush on her boss. As much as they work together, he is an ultimate figure who may not really be in need of Jo Ann. This is because, as much as they work together, the boss is not dependent on Jo Ann. In addition, one of Jo Ann’s friends, whom she seems to love more in a platonic way, is quite self sufficient (Williford and Martone 3). Therefore, her husband might have conditioned her to entirely depend on her dogs and put her love on them. This may imply why Beard mentions that her husband called the dog’s look ‘the face of love’. This is because the dogs mimic his dependency on Jo Ann.

Jo also explains the incident, where the professors were shot dead. Her story is straight forward and fails to sugar coat it. Jo openly explains that she never went along with one of the physics associate professors Bob Smith who died in the very event. They all had the idea that one should be taken down a few pegs. In the entire story, Jo foreshadows a story, in which she believes that at least three people are not to survive the entire story (Williford and Martone 5).

The collie is a character that is captivating in the entire story. Beard might have chosen to use the collie as a metaphor in a representation of how her life was at that particular time.  In contrast of the description of the collie, Beard exposes the narration in a perspective that gives her a broken hearted tone towards her husband. The collie is unable to go upstairs, but only staring at the furniture around her (Williford and Martone 5).  This is a summary of Beard’s life. This is an indication of how Beard cannot help herself, but remain starring into space lackadaisically unable to hand the voice of pity constantly in her. The collie is used as a representation of her husband in a very profound way. Beard is asked why she is letting this character continue, when she goes into discussion with her co-worker. It can be argued that Beard would do the same with her husband. This is evident, when she continues talking to him on the phone with the hope that they could reconcile thus getting back again.

Styles and Figures Of Speech

The art is a demonstration of strong mastery of art with each series of events intertwined with one another to make a logical flow. So, Jo Ann applies a variety of speech figures and styles to communicate to her audience. Such figures of speech include imagery, metaphors among others. The art is written from the first person point of view giving it a taste of realism.


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The writer uses metaphors throughout her writing to develop her themes. Eyes of love, for example, are demonstrated from her reference to the collie that has been used to develop the theme of love. The collie is demonstrated specifically as a metaphor to describe the writer’s real life. She depicts the collie with an inability to climb up the stairs to demonstrate how immobile activities were in her life.


Jo Ann uses this figure of speech to demonstrate her feelings to the audience. The collie has also been used in a way to demonstrate her husband’s character. It is ironical that she gets rid of the squirrels in her house yet misses them. This style is intentionally applied by the writer to depict what she feels about her divorced husband. Another example of irony in the art is depicted in a conversation directed by the writer to the collie. In an ironic twist she mentions of her going out and never to come back words previously directed to her by her husband. This style is used to identify her feelings about those words and focus the attention of the audience to their magnitude.

Imagery and tense

The book begins with a description of the writer`s daily activities.. This style and imagery give the piece of work realism and help her audience identify her feelings. She successfully uses this style to describe tragic occurrences both in her personal life and the University of Lowa activities. The art is presented in the present tense and this style gives her audience an opportunity to follow her art without distractions. Towards the end of the story the writer absorbs the attention of her audience using a letter written by Gang Lu to her sister.


The writer presents the dramatic events of her life in a rather comical and humorous way. Each event is well described and there exists a correlation between every event presented. She mentions of dreams within the art, giving her work a realistic approach. Such events like the murder of carried out by Gang Lu had been foreshadowed as a tragedy in the story.

The writer uses foreshadow to predict future events and capture the attention of her audience. She mentions about a tragic story predicting tragedy and hence preparing her readers about the events that would follow.

The writer chooses the better part of her characters to be animals. The collie, a special dog and herself, are depicted as some of the main characters in the art. Other characters include: dogs, squirrels, Gang Lu, Bob Smith, an associate professor, professors and her husband.

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The collie was demonstrated in her piece of work as a close confident of the writer. This dog is depicted as a helpless creature, a choice made to effectively develop the themes of the art. While other dogs were largely ignored, the helpless nature of the collie persuades the audience to pity the writer and identify with her feelings a value that most writers loose.

Her choice of characters is fascinating and the choice to include herself in the list successfully conveys her feelings to the audience. In addition, it gives the art a realistic approach. The use of the Collie as her closest confidant gives her the opportunity to express her feelings to the audience The Collie, being an animal, would not have the opportunity to express her feelings to other characters and this gives the writer the opportunity to communicate freely with the audience. The intimate relationship existing between herself and the Collie has been to develop a variety of themes such as loss, betrayal and love.

The naming of some of her characters in the piece of art was deliberate and commensurate with their character traits. The name Gang Lu was issued to a character that carried out murder. Gangs are known for their brutality and so is Gang Lu, when he goes on the shooting spree, eliminating innocent people.


The piece of work is centered about a variety of themes with love, disillusionment, relationships and loss taking the center stage. As the art begins, she describes a cordial relationship between herself and the Collie. She dramatically describes the events of the night with the Collie having to wet her bed among other events. This development enables the writer to describe the role of colleagues in one`s life. The collie at the time is her closest confident and she takes good care of him including disciplining him. The art describes her divorced husband, who though does not physically present, continues to influence her life in a variety of ways. She also describes the event, where she misses the squirrels after getting rid of them.

  The author also describes how she misses the squirrels after getting rid of them. Throughout the piece of art, she is preoccupied with events directed to other objects. This approach helps her to depict the epicenter of love by demonstrating the psychological attachment existing between her, the people she comes across and the animals.

Relationships of betrayal form another theme depicted in Jo Ann’s Piece of art. Her husband, with whom they had divorced, is used as a symbol of betrayal. The husband keeps calling her, inflicting pain to her already lonely life. The death of the Collie is leaving the writer without a close confidant further expresses.

Critique of the Art

Although the writer successfully communicates with the audience, the use of monotones for the better part of the art is boring to the audience. The monotone does not bring out the intended drama with characters used non responsive to the monologues she delivers. Her choice of characters misses out on an important aspect of art .These characters prevents the use of dialogue, which would have brought out the drama she intended more profoundly.


This piece of art by Jo Ann is typical of the lives led by people comprised of relationships of betrayal, murder, loss among other social injustices. The rich art incorporated in the story does not only draw the attention of the audience, but also helps develop the themes incorporated. This piece of art by a holder of a master’s degree, who depicts herself in her art as lonely and rather confused about the happenings around her life demonstrates the challenges and frustrations people deal with in their daily activities. The piece of art is a demonstration of people’s feelings that often remains unattended to, and expectations that are rarely met.

In the entire story, s the unique voice and style are used. The voice of the author comes out extremely monotone. Readers of her story can easily be bored and get tedious trying to understand Beard’s daily routine. From the way she cares for her collie, to the point of her separation with her husband, as well as her interactions with her workmates, the readers may not expect a major happening in the entire story in the future. In the entire essay, the voice is both lighthearted and moving at the same time in the introduction. The author sets the readers to become sympathetic. However, towards the end of the story, the author shows Beard seeing a letter Gang Lu has written to his sister (Williford and Martone 5). The narrator’s voice seems to be shifting tines and gets into the psych of Lu just before the shoot spree.

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