Saints, Centaurs, and Satyrs: Going Wild in the Desert
This chapter describes Jerome’s hagiography—in which Athanasius’s Antony is the main character—as a text intended on surpassing the well-known, highly-celebrated, Life of Antony. Jerome therefore begins by describing a saint older, wiser, holier, and deeper in the desert than Antony ever traveled. As Antony learns of Paul and sets off to find him, he is greeted by the other denizens of the desert: a centaur; a satyr; and wolf—all non-human creatures. Anzaldúa’s language helps me to articulate how the human–animal divide is rendered unstable along with other dichotomies in the borderlands. Language becomes the key to understanding the falseness of distinguishing between human and animal (in this case, between ascetics and animals).