Motif of Animals

“Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” by Olga Tokarczuk is a complex novel with many themes and motifs, including the motif of animals. The protagonist, Janina Duszejko, is a retired engineer who lives in a remote village in Poland, where she becomes obsessed with the deaths of several hunters. Throughout the novel, animals play an important role as they are seen as both victims and symbols.

One of the central motifs of the novel is the relationship between humans and animals. Janina is a vegetarian who loves animals and believes that they have souls and deserve respect. She is also deeply critical of hunting and the mistreatment of animals. Her views are contrasted with those of the hunters in the novel, who see animals as nothing more than targets and trophies.

The animals in the novel are also symbolic. Janina sees them as messengers, and they often appear to her in dreams and visions. For example, the deer that appears in her dreams represents freedom and escape from the constraints of human society. Similarly, the hare that she finds dead in her yard represents vulnerability and the cycle of life and death.

Through the lens of the animal world, the novel questions the value systems of human society and explores the consequences of our actions on the natural world.

One thought on “Motif of Animals

  1. CADEN P

    I completely agree without the animals being so important the book wouldn’t be what it is. The animals play a huge role in how Janina thinks and it really builds her thoughts of the world and animals as a whole.


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