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Postcolonial EcologiesLiteratures of the Environment$
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Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195394429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195394429.001.0001

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Compassion, Commodification, and The Lives of Animals

Compassion, Commodification, and The Lives of Animals

J. M. Coetzee’s Recent Fiction

Chapter:
(p.200) 9 Compassion, Commodification, and The Lives of Animals
Source:
Postcolonial Ecologies
Author(s):

Allison Carruth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195394429.003.0010

This chapter examines the ethics of animal domestication and commodification in the novels of South African writer J. M. Coetzee, with particular reference to the human treatment of animals within the larger discourse of citizenship and rights. It offers a reading of Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals to show how human compassion, which is necessary to act on behalf of other animals, might come at the expense of human affinities with other human beings. The chapter also considers an essential component of postcolonial ecocriticism: the human consumption of the other-than-human world and, by extension, human complicity in perpetuating those systems.

Keywords:   ethics, animal domestication, commodification, novels, J. M. Coetzee, animals, The Lives of Animals, compassion, human beings, ecocriticism

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