The Ambiguous Terrain of Petkeeping in Children's Realistic Animal Stories

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

A content analysis of 48 children's realistic animal stories shows an emphasis on pets and petkeeping that can both challenge and support traditional human-animal boundaries. The genre's sympathetic portrayal of pet animals and the condemnation of theirmistreatment invite the reader to challenge such boundaries. Yet the genre's stereotypical portrayal of these animals also constrains our conceptualization of the human-animal bond. The author discusses these and other narrative elements which render this form of popular culture ambiguous terrain for negotiating an ethic of respect for nonhuman others which goes beyond most contemporary arrangements.

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