The Anti-Speciesist Stance in J. M. Coetzee’s Novels: An Analysis of Animal-StandpointKubilay Geçikli
Animal-standpoint criticism focuses on the way human rights are treated in literary texts. It is against speciesism, which is a kind of species-based discrimination which gives different values to different species and inevitably leads to a hierarchy among species. Speciesism is thus regarded as a kind of racism by those defining and theorizing the field of animal-standpoint criticism, which is essentially against the supremacy of the human species over animals and which seeks the establishment of equality among species. Animal rights are emphasized by this criticism and the idea that animals are to be used for human benefits and/or progress is challenged. J. M. Coetzee, the South African novelist known for his allegorical works of fiction set in unknown times and places as well as his questioning stance on matters of colonialism, remains a writer of fiction who consciously tries to give a voice to animals, which cannot speak for themselves and are subjected to not only illegal but cruel treatment by human beings. For Coetzee, it is wrong to permit the establishment of a hierarchy between humans and animals and to disregard animal rights seeing them as entities in the service of human beings. From Disgrace to Life and Times of Michael K., several novels, as well as nonfictional works by Coetzee, focus in some way or another on the rights of animals and the strange ties between human beings and them. It is realised in this treatments of animals that Coetzee also carries out his critique of Western rationalism through his focus on the related issue.