When Animals Take The Centrestage

Starting from the classic Black Beauty to Panchatantra comics to those that merely used animals as a metaphor, animals figure in the literature of many cultures

Published: 11th January 2014 11:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2014 11:32 AM   |  A+A-



Charlotte’s Web: From the author of the better known Stuart Little, this children’s novel is about Wilbur, a runt piglet, and his friendship with Charlotte, a spider, whose web-weaving skills save him from slaughter. Rather than evoking phobia as is the norm with spiders, this one’s sacrifice is one that has brought tears to many a child’s eyes.

Where The Red Fern Grows: This book revolves around a young boy, who acquires two coon hound hunter dogs as a gift from his grandfather. The plot explores the boy’s sensitive perception of the way his two canine friends Old Dan, the bold one, and Little Ann, the brains of the team, root for each other; the tangible competition, as hunting is a common sport in the Cherokee region where the book is set, he faces from other boys and hounds and of course his love for dogs that any dog lover can relate to and others can sympathise with.




While there are those who create tales centred on animals, there are other writers who prefer to weave their stories around actual interactions with the animal world.

James Herriot: A veterinary doctor and surgeon whose profession took him out at odd hours into the English countryside where he lived, James Alfred Wight, under the pen name of James Herriot, wrote out his experiences. A man who was comfortable seeing the funny side of tiresome situations, his works including All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Bright and Wonderful and The Lord God Made Them All, are sure to tickle your funny bone.

Gerald Durrel: “Sometimes it’s pretty hard to tell them apart... my family and the animals, that is. I don’t know why my brothers and sisters complain so much. With snakes in the bath and scorpions on the lunch table, our house, on the island of Corfu, is a bit like a circus. So they should feel right at home...” That’s, characteristically, “Gerry” writing. A naturalist and zookeeper born in India, Durrel’s writings too are personal accounts hilariously told. My Family and Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Relatives are among the books that one must not miss reading. Mera Pariwar: An activist, freedom fighter and poet, Mahadevi Varma was also an animal lover. From squirrels to the more common cows and dogs, all creatures felt at home in her presence. These animals’ lives, from the time of their birth or adoption till their death, have found compassionate expression in Varma’s short stories collection Mera Pariwar. So if animals are important part of your lives and you can read Hindi, this is another book that you can pick up.


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