Brute Violence and Vulnerable Animality: A Reading of Postcoloniality, Animals, and Masculinity in Damon Galgut’s The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs

Jesse Arseneault


This paper examines intersections between animality, masculinity and postcolonial thought in a specifically South African context. Alongside a reading of Damon Galgut's early novel, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, I argue that performances of certain white South African masculinities in the apartheid period are intimately tied to notions of animality through their historical affiliation with hunting and farming. Drawing on a range of thought from animal studies, gender theory, and biopolitics, I suggest that Galgut's novel resists masculinities that cultivate themselves through violent treatment of animals by writing its protagonist's disinheritance of this masculinity. Also, Galgut's novel, written early in the post-apartheid period, creates a space in which animals might be subjects of concern in postcolonial thought.


South African literature; animality; masculinity; violence; apartheid; whiteness

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