Animals and writing: how do they inspire us?
Literature in general is full of stories, beautiful or frightening, with animals, from the “Roman de Ren art” in the Middle Ages to “ The Animal Farm” by George Orwell, including the fables of La Fontaine . Animals have always been present in literature since the beginning.
Animals indeed make it possible to caricature man and his faults. How to create a Wikipedia page for an artist many writers have used them in their stories in order to highlight certain human faults, for educational purposes or to criticize abuses and deviations in society.
The example of the Roman de Ren art
“Le Roman de Ren art” is in fact a set of texts composed between 1170 and 1250 by different authors. This book is a true animal epic, which tells the adventures of the wolf Ysengrin and his friend, the gospel Ren art.
These two animals personify strength and cunning. They live in a world which is the image of medieval society, with its hierarchy, its prejudices, its mores and its laws, specific to this period.
“Le Roman de Ren art” is the popular counterpart of the epic and chivalrous literature, in vogue in the middle Ages. This novel allows a moral teaching, but also doubles as a satire which parodies the songs of gesture and the courteous novels of this time.
It is also a criticism of feudal society and of the clergy, because the character of Ren art respects nothing, no one, and especially not God or the king.
This novel became so popular at the end of the middle Ages that its name ended up replacing the term “gospel” which until then had designated the animal in question.
The example of La Fontaine’s Fables
Everyone knows by heart at least one fable of the 17th century fabulist. Fables are an old tradition that dates back to Antiquity, notably with Aesop, which made it a literary genre in its own right, with more than 500 written fables.
Aesop, who lived in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, is considered the “father” of the fable. The fables are the heirs of an oral tradition. The Greek fabulist told little stories that depicted animals with very human behavior.
The characteristics of the fable are:
- a short story
- a story in verse (or prose)
- Characters who are most often animals of symbolic value whose behavior evokes that of humans and whose goal is to teach a lesson in morality.
Fables have been used a lot in the education of children. However, their meaning and the use of animal figures go far beyond children’s stories.
The fabulists have always used the passage in the animal world to transcribe and criticize the world of men. It was also a way to convey what religious or political censorship would not have accepted!
Jean de La Fontaine
In the 17th century , Jean de La Fontaine took over some of Aesop ‘s fables , such as “The Crow and the Fox” , ” The Wolf and the Lamb” , or ” The Tortoise and the Hare” .
The writing in verse of these fables made the reputation of the French fabulist. His fables are still considered masterpieces of French literature, even in our time.
The example of Alice in Wonderland
Published in 1865, “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carol is a completely crazy bestiary that features more than 40 species of animals.
The English writer tells about the adventures of a bored little girl in her garden. Suddenly, she sees a white rabbit pass by and decides to follow him into his burrow. She then arrives in a strange world filled with disturbing animals and fantastic characters, such as the Cheshire cat, the terrible Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter or even the March Hare.
The creatures, in the book, of course have a symbolic significance by introducing symbols and above all serve the social and political criticism of the book. But, in this novel, intended primarily for children, they also encourage the imagination and education of the youngest.
According to Lewis Carol, education shouldn’t be all about learning things by heart, but about thinking for yourself and questioning yourself. A visionary man well ahead of his time!
The example of Animal Farm
Among the most famous modern animal fables, one can quote “The farm of the animals” of George Orwell, published in 1945. In this short account, the writer denounces a communist system doomed to be transformed into dictatorship. The book is a very clear satire of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and authoritarian regimes.
In this novel, the animals of a farm, an allegory of the proletariat, rebel against humans representing capitalism. Deeming their living conditions inadmissible, the pigs organize a revolution in order to drive out humans. Once they are expelled, they put in place a new system that wants to be fairer.
But, this system will turn into a nightmare and slide towards the sole dictatorship of Napoleon, one of the leading pigs of the revolution!
The example of “The Metamorphosis”
Franz Kafka published his novel “The Metamorphosis” in 1915.
In this novel, men are transformed into animals, which are themselves compared to men, hire wiki writers with the characteristics of the animal in question, thus making it possible to question human nature.
Gregory Samosa, in this story, is a sales representative who supports his family through the work he does seriously, but without joy. One morning, he wakes up transformed into a filthy insect. His family is horrified and does not understand that Gregory continues, despite everything, to have a human conscience.
Locked in his room and no longer able to work, he tries to adapt to his new body, but his daily life is deteriorating more and more. He ends up dying all alone in his room.
This story gives rise to many possible interpretations of the life of the ‘petit bourgeois’, family relationships, illness, loneliness or even social exclusion.
The role of animals in literature
Telling stories of animals is telling stories of men. This is the reason why humans have always used animals as symbols, starting with writing.
The animal has been present in literary texts from the very beginning. The first writing systems in Egypt and Mesopotamia used the animal figure to form their characters. For example, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, the owl represents the M and the vulture the A.
Egyptian civilization is invaded by this bestiary in myths, religious texts, tales and legends. The Egyptians also used hybrid, fantastic and monstrous beings. It was part of the very important rituals in ancient Egypt.
The animals were very active in the war stories, like the Trojan horse, an episode of “the Odyssey” of Homer, taken by Virgil in “Aeneid”, singing 2. Roland’s horse, valiant knight and nephew of Charlemagne, is just as brave as his master. He goes into battle alongside his master and attacks the opposing Saracen horses. The author of “La chanson de Roland”, an epic poem and song of gesture from the 11th century, lent him an almost human behavior.
Don Quixote, he sees himself decked out by Miguel de Cervantes with a horse which is the complete opposite of the horse of the valiant knight: Rossi ante.
Don Quixote and Rossi ante
Rossi ante is a real bag of bones, the anti-hero horse for an anti-hero. I cannot go on without mentioning Jolly Jumper , the famous horse of Lucky Luke, the fastest horse in the American West, but also intelligent and with a strong personality.
This article could be very long, because I could also evoke “Rhinoceros” of Eugene Ionesco, the tales of Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, the cartoons of Walt Disney, and many others!
Bernard Weber has also written extensively on animals, especially ants and cats. In his eyes, we can talk about everything and differently with animals. The look at the animal offers a different perspective; we see something else.
Bernard Weber tried to imagine how one puts oneself in the skin of a cat, a very mysterious animal in his eyes. According to him, dogs love us, but cats decide if they want to love us… or not! The love of the cat is earned while the love of the dog is acquired! For him, the dog is easier to live with, and therefore becomes a less interesting character in a science fiction novel. For him, it’s funnier to take a mysterious animal, like a cat or an ant, to make a novel out of it.
The stories I wrote about my animals
I give you some texts that I wrote around my animals or other imaginary animals. The first concerns Java, my first cat. I don’t hesitate to make my animals speak, like real characters. Everything is possible to imagine with animals. We can write about them, but also in their company. When I write, my little dog is always present in my office.
The incarnate cat
As I left for a walk with my dog on a sunny November afternoon, I saw my cat, in the open-plan garden of the neighbor opposite, a shrew posed in front of him. The bitch, smelling the blood of an animal, pulled all she could. She would have liked to sting his prey. She likes, in fact, by her terrier breed, to find moles and bugs of all kinds.
I approached Java, my two-tone, white and golden red cat, gently, and I started talking to her softly: “Please, my kitty, you know Mum doesn’t like to see little animals in pain.” So, make sure to end the suffering of this poor beast. I know it’s your cat job, but hey, spare her. I’m still happy that you move a little, my big plump and lazy cat! “.
With these beautiful soothing words, I resumed my walking path, barely started by the way. I walked quietly for an hour, pulled as if by a sled, by my dog, in a hurry to go and sniff the rabbit tracks in the countryside.
On my return, Java was waiting for me on the threshold of the front door, in a hurry to return to her home, as usual. He climbed up the side of the fireplace, waiting for his pittance of sterilized cat food. I naively thought that he wouldn’t eat anything, after having probably eaten and tasted his little shrew. Nay! He wanted his usual ration.
I resumed my dialogue with one voice with my cat and said to him: “soon, you have an appointment with the vet for your vaccine. It will still be a shame, because he will tell me again that you are obese, and that I will have to reduce your food intake! “.
Then, suddenly, I saw like the veil of a shadow which passed over my cat and enveloped it. My adored animal began to split into two. I thought I had a vision and rightly thought my mind was starting to derail, which wouldn’t surprise me too much, with all the weird Stephen King stories I had been reading over the past few weeks.
My cat planted himself right in front of me, and as incongruous as it might sound, he began to talk to me. After the first amazement, I thought I was in a scene from a movie, like in Baxter, where the family dog shares his thoughts throughout the day.
It was still the first time I had seen such a bright gleam in the eyes of Java, who usually came home to doze off and slump in her leather chair.
Eye to eye, he spoke. I could not speak a word in return, filled with amazement and tremors at this gruesome situation.
Here is what my cat tells me:
“My little Mum, you have always taken good care of me, for almost five years that I have lived here. I am pampered, well fed. I bask, according to my desires. I feel good. Remember the circumstances of my adoption. I came from nowhere, and I landed, by chance, at your yoga teacher’s home. Well, that’s what you think. “
“As her black cat was perpetually threatening me, she asked the club members if anyone wanted to adopt an adorable four-month-old kitten, which she had named Java. And you came to get me.
Do you think its chance? Didn’t you think for a single moment that I had chosen you and guided you to me? We love each other, that’s the main thing. “
“But, the time has come for me to tell you my secret.” I am in fact the incarnate, even reincarnated, uncle of a Buddhist monk, living in Nepal. I was a master yogi. You can see how calm I am, how I stretch with delight, how I laze around all day long, which you often reproach me with! “
“I am the last reincarnation of my life cycle; I had four other lives before this one. This is the first time that I have come back in the form of a miniature feline. In my life as a master yogi, I practiced yoga from morning to night, and fed myself only curried rice, without any piece of meat. It is true that I am making up for it now! “ .
“Don’t look dazed, I still have a lot to teach you. Don’t think I’m indifferent sometimes. I don’t show my emotions much, but I observe everything. You are now warned; you are part of my intimate circle. You have to accept that I have a hidden, secret life, it’s my cat life. I don’t like to share it, that’s how it is! “.
These beautiful words were spoken with lightning speed and I pinched myself to know if I had not dreamed. Everything was very real, and I began to think in my heart of hearts that I was a chosen one, having touched the secret of my cat. A moment as extraordinary as it is unique in my life!
I took him in my arms, and gave him a big hug. I thanked him with all my heart for this moment of intense sharing and for the trust he placed in me.
I got a well-known cartoon character talking. Cartoons are full of animals that speak and live like humans, with the same emotions.
The little chick
My name is Calimero.
You know me, I’m the little black chick with a chipped eggshell on my head. You noticed how beautiful blue eyes I have!
I am the main character in the cartoon which bears my name and which has been around the world!
In life, I look like the Ugly Duckling from Andersen’s tale: I was the only black chick when I was born. All of my siblings are yellow. Except me!
Me, I fell in the mud when I was born! But, I’m proud of it. I am also proud to have two dads who drew me: Nino and Toni. Thanks to them, everyone loves me!
Okay, I’m often unlucky; but, that, it was rather at the beginning of my adventures.
Okay, I moan a lot and I often say: “It’s really too unfair!”
Okay, I’m licking, I’m complaining a lot, I feel a bit persecuted. But, that is my character. It’s all just flash in the pan!
Okay, I’m a bit of a dreamer, I marvel at nothing.
I could have been a romantic hero of the 19th century, worthy of Chateaubriand or Victor Hugo!
But, I also know how to take up challenges. Am I not touching all the same?
I exist and I am known all over the world, even in Japan.
Okay, I don’t know my real mom because she didn’t want me. I was too different. I am different! You have to pay a tribute when you are different!
“Being different is already learning to live! »: This is my motto!
I am a generous and enthusiastic little chick. And besides, I have a girlfriend that I adore. She is in love with me. Her name is Priscilla. She defends me when Piera insults me. Sure, one day we’ll have a brood together. How beautiful and sweet she is, my Priscilla!
She has all the qualities: she does well at school, she loves dancing and music. She loves to cook too. I taste all the cakes she bakes, even if they are not always good!
It is always present in my adventures; she’s a bit of a daredevil, but she knows how to make good decisions.
With Priscilla and all my friends, I have crazy adventures with the backpack I carry on my shoulder. I’m so happy to experience it all! I feel like a hero, a real hero, a great romantic hero!
I like to play with my friends; I like going to school.
Even though I am little, when something goes wrong I always try to find a solution with my friends to make things right. I love helping others!
We too, the little ones, can do something to make the world a better place!
We too have a BIG heart like that!
We hate injustices; we denounce them and do all we can to fight them!
Above all, we want to bring back a smile to those around us!
We too are taking our destiny in hand through pugnacity, determination and courage!
The strength is in us, big or small!
As a conclusion
Animals are a source of inspiration for sure. They are true companions of life when they are in company, but undoubtedly, a source of inspiration too.
When you are having difficulty writing, prepare a short presentation of your pet or favorite, writing a beautiful portrait, how your companion came into your life, how you live with him.
Animals, pets or wild, have always been part of our lives, since the dawn of time. It is our duty to protect wild animals and to respect them at their fair value, letting them live in their natural environment and protecting all species!
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