Shattering Dietary Taboos in Post-Pandemic Era: Human-Animal Interaction in J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello / Pandemi Sonrası Dönemde Beslenme Tabularını Yıkmak: J. M Coetzee’nin Elizabeth Costello Romanında İnsan-Hayvan İlişkisi

Baturay Erdal


Many conspiracy theories and worst-case scenarios have been produced about the COVID-19 pandemic. With a reductionist approach, this new coronavirus disease outbreak has been regrettably confined to the simple matter that humans are exposed to viral pathogens of certain wild animals. However, the global reasons and outcomes of the present outbreak should not simply be correlated with the physiologies of a group of animals but with human activities subject to wanton consumption, interference with living spaces, intense commercialization and, particularly, dietary habits. Thus, reconceptualizing pandemics as a multidimensional “ecological crisis” posing a threat to the future of human and nonhuman beings rather than a “disease” endangering human welfare seems to become the sole prerequisite for a significant policy shift in the relationship between humans and animals. With this in mind, the eponymous protagonist of the novel, Elizabeth Costello, a vegetarian like her creator, gives the traces of an ecological philosophy which reinforces the notion that it is not the sheer scientific productivity driven by the rationalization but the reconsideration of animal-human interactions that can prevent post-pandemic era from recurring outbreaks. In the novel, through her understanding of environmental ethics, J. M. Coetzee’s vegetarian and writer protagonist provides discussions that help rethinking literature as one of the guiding disciplines that can offer new insights into the natural habitat of animals. This study intends to handle how Coetzee’s thoughts on vegetarianism and human-animal interactions can become an ethical model for the future world in dire need of a post-pandemic paradigm shift.

Anahtar Kelimeler

J. M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello, Vegetarianism, Pandemic, COVID-19.

Tam Metin:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.