One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Boyhood": When Does Coetzee Become a Vegetarian?

At what point does Coetzee become a vegetarian? I can't say. He is eating meat at the farm in the Karoo (mutton with gravy), loves to hunt, but even as a child he seems to have some Tolstoyan moments.
   Sometimes when he is among the sheep--when they have been rounded up to be dipped, and are penned tight and cannot get away--he wants to whisper to them, warn them of what lies in store. But then in their yellow eyes he catches a glimpse of something that silences him: a resignation, a foreknowledge not only of what happens to sheep at the hands of Ros behind the shed, but of what awaits them at the end of the long, thirsty ride to Cape Town on the transport lorry. They know it all, down to the finest detail, and yet they submit. They have calculated the price and are prepared to pay it--the price of being on earth, the price of being alive.

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