“Becoming Men” and Animal Sacrifice: Contemporary Literary Examples

  • Josephine Donovan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


In J. M. Coetzee’s first published work, “The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee,” a novella in Dusklands (1974), the protagonist, a colonial explorer in eighteenth-century Africa (and an ancestor of the writer), prides himself on his slaughter of animals. “I move through the wilderness with my gun … I leave behind me a mountain of skin, bones, inedible gristle and excrement” (79). Such slaughter, he argues, enables his “salvation”: “The death of the hare is the logic of salvation … The death of the hare is my metaphysical meat” (79 emphasis added). Animal sacrifice is thus construed as indispensable to the establishment and survival of the masculine, imperial self.


Water Buffalo Figurative Language Animal Sacrifice Animal Shelter Ritual Sacrifice 
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© Josephine Donovan 2016

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  • Josephine Donovan

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