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Ecocritics and EcoskepticsA Humanist Reading of Recent French Ecofiction$
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Jonathan F. Krell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622058

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622058.001.0001

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Marginality and Animality: Olivia Rosenthal’s Que font les rennes après Noël?

Marginality and Animality: Olivia Rosenthal’s Que font les rennes après Noël?

(p.123) Chapter 5 Marginality and Animality: Olivia Rosenthal’s Que font les rennes après Noël?
Ecocritics and Ecoskeptics

Jonathan F. Krell

Liverpool University Press

Que font les rennes après Noël? is narrated in alternating paragraphs by a female second-person narrator (vous) and several male first-person narrators (je). The woman recounts her life from a child up to the age of forty-four. She has always loved animals and is haunted by the question of what reindeer do after Christmas. Overprotected by her parents, the narrator is a Jew in Catholic France who has long suppressed her homosexuality, and thus has always felt like a misfit. The male narrators—a veterinarian, a zookeeper, a laboratory researcher, a butcher, a wolf trainer, and a stock farmer—all work with animals. The protagonist gradually learns about the horrible suffering humans cause animals and comes to identify more with them than with other humans. Rosenthal hints at the connection—expressed by Jacques Derrida, Élisabeth de Fontenay and especially Charles Patterson in Eternal Treblinka—between the human tragedy of the Holocaust and the animal tragedy of the abattoir.

Keywords:   Olivia Rosenthal, Que font les rennes après Noël, animal rights, Charles Patterson, Eternal Treblinka, Élisabeth de Fontenay

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