Advertisement

Such Beastly Behavior! Predation, Revenge, and the Question of Ethics

  • Sarah E. McFarland
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)

Abstract

After a woman is dragged from her tent in the night and eaten by a bear in William Kittredge’s short story “We Are Not in This Together,” Halverson, the story’s protagonist, seeks “one bear, for a head, to mount on the wall, to get things even.” But what Halverson really searches for is the moment when the bear anticipates his own death: “There had to be time for thinking, and time for the bear, for hoping the animal might dimly sense the thing happening.” Likewise when a man checks his crab pots and is pulled under by a crocodile, or a boy is attacked by a tiger, or a young surfer loses her arm to a shark: in each case, their human communities demand revenge. McFarland’s chapter explores issues that converge in the behavior of predatory nonhuman animals and vengeful humans: for example, the notion that animals can “murder,” the belief that animals must be held accountable for their acts of “violence,” and the idea that humans can (and should) enact revenge against other species, demanding that animals pay a penalty for their actions.

Works Cited

  1. Adams, Zed. “Review of Richard Joyce’s The Evolution of Morality.” Ethics (January 2007): 363–369.Google Scholar
  2. Bekoff, Marc, and Jessica Pierce. Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bondeson, Jan. The Feegee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  4. Bradshaw, Gay. Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  5. Calarco, Matthew. Zoographies: The Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  6. Coleman, Jon T. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  7. Derrida, Jacques. “The Animal that Therefore I Am (More to Follow).” Translated by David Willis. Critical Inquiry 28, no. 2 (2002): 369–418.Google Scholar
  8. Evans, Edward Payson. The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals. London, 1906; repr. New York: The Lawbook Exchange, 1998.Google Scholar
  9. Evans, Edward Payson. Animal Trials. Reprint. London: Hesperus Press, 2013.Google Scholar
  10. Frazer, James George. Folklore in the Old Testament: Studies in Comparative Religion, Legend, and Law, Vol. 3. London: Macmillan, 1919.Google Scholar
  11. Harmon, Katherine. “Why Would a Trained Orca Kill a Human?” Scientific American 25 February 2010.Google Scholar
  12. Hayden, Tyler. “Cousteau on SeaWorld Tragedy.” Santa Barbara Independent 27 February 2010.Google Scholar
  13. Jans, Nick. The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell’s Fatal Obsession with Alaskan Bears. New York: Plume, 2006.Google Scholar
  14. Joyce, Richard. The Evolution of Morality. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.Google Scholar
  15. Kittredge, William. “We are Not in This Together.” In We are Not in This Together: Stories by William Kittredge, ed. Raymond Carver. Port Townsend: Graywolf Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  16. Levinas, Emmanuel. Totality and Infinity. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  17. McFarland, Sarah E., and Ryan Hediger, (Eds.). “Approaching the Agency of Other Animals.” In Animals and Agency: An Interdisciplinary Exploration, 2–20. Leiden: Brill, 2009.Google Scholar
  18. Mighetto, Lisa. Wild Animals and American Environmental Ethics. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  19. Mullan, Bob and Garry Marvin. Zoo Culture. 2nd ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  20. Nash, Roderick. Wilderness and the American Mind. 4th ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  21. Nussbaum, Martha. Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2006.Google Scholar
  22. Plumwood, Val. The Eye of the Crocodile. Edited by Lorraine Shannon. Canberra: Australian National University, 2012.Google Scholar
  23. Scholtmeijer, Marian. Animal Victims in Modern Fiction: From Sanctity to Sacrifice. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  24. Shepard, Paul. Thinking Animals. New York: Viking Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  25. Smuts, Barbara. “Encounters with Animal Minds.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 8, no. 5 (2001): 293–309.Google Scholar
  26. Stiffler, Lisa. “Understanding Orca Culture.” Smithsonian Magazine August 2011.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah E. McFarland
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern State UniversityNatchitochesUSA

Personalised recommendations