Is she really “crazy”?

The notion that humans are the central, most intelligent beings on our planet is considered a given to most. However, in Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Janina wholly rejects this idea in a multitude of ways. Religiously, socially, and physically, she moves to oppose the unjust hierarchy that surrounds her. Janina’s actions in Drive Your Plow illuminate the main sentiment of the book that humans are only one small part of our universe and their life is not more important than another species’ life. Additionally, it shows audiences all of the ways to fight against the status quo as Janina goes to multiple varying lengths to fight for her cause. Her commitment to her philosophy mirrors real-life groups that will stop at nothing to carry out their agenda; yet, many view her as “crazy” or “psychotic”. Why is this?

Whether or not her commitment to her moral beliefs and her resulting actions were right or not is something very subjective to readers. While I do not support murder (I do eat meat, though, so there’s one contradiction), I do applaud her moral continuity. She stuck to her moral compass so securely, something many are afraid or do not have the self-reflection to do. To me, she is no different from political radicals or rebel military groups that we see around the world and, while they may take violent action, in many cases, these groups arise in response to gross injustice. Whether their community has been persecuted or they are standing up for the voiceless (as in Janina’s case), these groups have often been ignored in their pleas for justice as those who they are pleading to gain something from the status quo. Those in power will most likely not listen to those who are asking them to change circumstances that benefit them. Therefore, these groups turn to violence to retaliate for being the victims of violence and for their pleas for equality being ignored.

Janina is not so outlandish in this instance when we come to understand that her fight for her moral beliefs is no different than the fight of other humans for their moral beliefs. To be persecuted and wanting to retaliate is something all humans can empathize with. However, Janina is fighting for justice for animals. As humans, we accept our own superiority over other beings, and the thought that one would take radical violent action to defend the lives of animals is completely abnormal. When Janina is revealed as the killer, those around her are shocked at her actions, and she takes this as further proof of humans’ perceived superiority. Because of this false perception, they view the abuse of animals as acceptable yet the abuse of humans in karmic retaliation is not. This hypocrisy fuels her anger and thus her killing and shows audiences the same glaring contradiction in our own minds. We must address this hypocrisy as a species if we wish to develop our moral and philosophical viewpoints.

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