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Grant Bronson
2/27 Discussion
Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:23pm
150.216.254.170

I am choosing to complete the "theme" option for this assignment. I will use “Carnal Knowledge” and “Little Fur People” to expand on the reoccurring theme that Boyle uses throughout the stories we’ve read so far. I chose these two stories because while the context of the plot might seem unrelated, the latent theme of “obsession” is prodigious throughout both stories. Furthermore, Boyle uses animals and the environment to exemplify the obsessions that the characters have. In the story “Carnal Knowledge”, Alena is obsessed with fighting for the right of animals and is essentially an eco-terrorist. Whereas in “Little Fur People” Grace was obsessed with taking care of her “babies” the squirrels. Although they were both undoubtedly obsessed with animals in their own unique ways, there is a significant difference between their vehement caring of animals. Alena, had little consideration for what kind of consequences her eco-terrorism actions would bring. Whether it be destroying biomedical research records or freeing a farm full of turkeys, there was never a necessarily positive outcome of anything she did, except for her own self contempt with what she’d done. Contrarily, Grace was basically accountable for the lives of almost every squirrel she’d owned. She couldn’t imagine a world where she couldn’t take care of her squirrels. It was a positive relationship with the animals. In the isolated life she created for herself, she needed the squirrels as much as they needed her. Boyle uses tone is his description of both Grace and Officer Kraybill to enormously sway the reader’s perception of who to side with throughout the story. While Grace’s squirrels might have been considered illegal, Boyle presents this idea of unfairness due to the generally positive outcome Grace is giving these squirrels. The theme of obsession, whether good or bad, illuminates Boyle’s opinions on fairness. Both stories have main characters breaking the law to do what they think is fair and just. I feel like Boyle uses themes like obsession to be interpreted as an opposition to the justice system he seems to disagree with and might feel as though is unfair on many levels.

Word count: 354

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