D. Larsson writes:
>...it is notable how often the virtually sacrificial death of an animal
pops up in stories centered on peasant or tribal life...
Indeed, it is, though hardly surprising. Having come from a "rural", if
not "peasant" background, I am
constantly amazed at the modern urban citizen's attitude toward the death
of an animal. The simple formula, even for the urbanite, is Life=Death=Life.
Nobody on this planet can take a breath, blink an eye, or
make a step without killing something. Even the vegetarian is "guilty" of
the wholesale slaughter of millions of innocent beansprouts. I am not
being facetious. Are not plants also invested life forms, striving
for existence, with as much "right" to live as any other?
The "peasant" understands that the death of an animal translates
into the life of his family, precipitating a reverence, if not awe for the
life he takes. He also knows that killing is not fun. Living creatures
cling to life and do not "give up the ghost" easily. (Recall the
horrific, ritual slaying of a water buffalo in "Apocalypse Now".) Yet, it is
always those who let the A&P or Taco Bell do their
killing for them that scream the loudest when an animal dies on screen.
The loathsome implication here is that an animal is killed simply for
the viewing pleasure of movie goers, and certainly there are "filmmakers"
who would happily stoop to anything for shock value. No reasonable person
can condone such a concept.
And yet, a greater general familiarity with the Life/Death/Life process
will do us all no harm. Pretending that the human animal is divorced from
the cosmic chain of existence certainly will.