During one of our group presentations for Drive Your Plow, one of group D’s discussion questions was if Janina being the murder to be expected, along with if it was hinted at throughout the novel and what it says about her character.
In my opinion, at first it wasn’t very obvious, as the book immediately began with Big Foot’s death, so their was no reason to suspect her, although her constant remarks of how he was a horrible person make it seem that it was hinted at in hindsight. I didn’t expect anything until the presidents death, due to the commandant’s death seeming like a hunting accident and not murder. The immediate change of setting to the point where everyone knew that he died and with her asking what killed him, along with providing the scientific name of the beetles that she used is what made me sure that she is the killer. One fin al thing was that after returning from jail back to her house, she is fascinated by a video of a stag attacking a man, and ‘watches it over and over’.
Her being the killer when throughout the novel she preaches about saving and protecting life make her a major hypocrite and make me believe that she values animal lives more than humans to an extent. She also seems to have some psychological issues, referring to herself as the, ‘tool of the animals’ and justifying her murders with the fact that their horoscopes said that they would die. Regardless that her victims are responsible for the death of her dogs, taking life in order to protect others is never the correct answer. Also, as concerned Janina is for protecting animals and not hunting she never provides an alternative means of find food. Despite her being a vegetarian, I’m sure that her diet isn’t sustainable for her whole town or even the world. Finally, she seems to have no problem with animals eating animals, so why humans? We are animals as well so shouldn’t we be just as entitled to hunt as other animals?