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The Mute, the Stoic and the Rebel: Animals in the Works of Mikhail Bulgakov and Nabarun Bhattacharya

Dibyakusum Ray

 Assistant Professor in the National Institute of Technology, Silchar. ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9537-3277. Email: dibyakusum776@gmail.com.

  Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.06

Received May 30, 2016; Revised July 20, 2016; Accepted July 30, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


Abstract

This article attempts to trace the gradual ‘otherification’ of non-human entity, particularly animals, in Continental theory. This article would also explore how after presupposing the concept of subject as a human, with animals acting as “alive but no more” with no part in making judgments, Continental theory takes a turn. Levinas conceptualizes animals as “delightful” dociles facilitating human self-definition. Conversely, Derrida problematizes the multilayered man-animal/master-pet dialectics, as he points out the systematic exploitation of animals in society and artistic representation, as the animals are expected to be the mute receptacle of human vagaries—the perpetual ‘other’ who do not even speak or gaze back.  Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita and The Heart of a Dog, together with two of Nabarun Bhattacharya’s works would serve as specific case studies to analyze the evolution of animal imagery from meek placebos through stoic indifference into a force of dissent—ever irreconcilable to the ‘self’.

Keywords: animal studies, aesthetics, ethics, Levinas, Derrida, Bulgakov, Nabarun Bhattacharya

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