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Grant Bronson
3/6 Discussion
Thu Mar 5, 2015 9:08pm

I will use “Carnal Knowledge” and “Little Fur People” to expand on the reoccurring theme of obsession that Boyle uses throughout these specific stories. Furthermore, Boyle uses animals and the environment to heavily support 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 also 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 so that you feel remorse for her when you find out they plan on taking away all of them. While Grace’s squirrels might have been considered illegal, Boyle presents this idea of unfairness due to the “good deed” Grace is portrayed as doing by saving and helping the squirrels in need. The theme of obsession, whether good or bad, illuminates Boyle’s views 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 represent his views on what should and shouldn’t be fair. In this case, his views could be interpreted as an opposition to the justice system he seems to disagree with and might feel as though is unfair on many levels.

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