Analysis of Black Dog of Fate by Peter Balakian

Black Dog of Fate by Peter Balakian
The title of the book “Black Dog of Fate” by Peter Balakian is metaphorical and is in connection with the parable that was told by Nafina Aroosian, Peter Balakian’s grandmother. According to the parable, two appeasing offerings are made to the fate’s goddess. The first offering as his grandmother narrates is a delicious lamb that has its body filled with pomegranates and almonds while its eyes are sparkled with rubies. The second offering involves a dead black dog whose mouth is filled with apple with worms. In fate’s twist, in these offerings which are ironical there is rejection of the lamb offering while the dead black dog receives the approval of the goddess. The book title tries point out the cultural conflict that Balakian faces in the American society and as he grapples to maintain the Armenian culture his parents and grandmother had taught him. The advice to Aroosian to Balakian as indicated from the title is that he should not be taken in by appearances because things are not they appear to be and the world is different form how people perceive it.
The Balakian-Aroosian extended family maintains a guarded silence over the history because even if they are happy in America there is a specter of trauma that ancestors and the family experienced. This is in relation to the extermination the Turkish government of over a million Christian Armenians in the 1915. This marked the first century genocide and it is not something the family is to be proud of given the cruelty innocent Armenians faced. In a rather moving and elegant narrative prose, the “Black Dog of Fate” in a chronological manner presents the growth of Balakian and a touching personal awakening given the history of the family where Nafina Aroosian, his maternal grandmother, was a victim and a survivor of the Armenian genocide. The aftermath of the horrifying genocide continues to be covered up by Turkish government but the...