An Empathetic Literary Analysis of Jack London's The Call of the Wild: Understanding Life from an Animal's Point of View
By: Barbara Hardy Beierl (author)Hardback
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This is the first book to discuss how the novel "The Call of the Wild" builds empathy with animals through character development. The current attention given to mirror neurons and their activation of empathy has created an interest in them as a neurobiological and cognitive tool for understanding others - "minds understanding minds." Mirror neurons allow the reader to grasp another's mind by feeling, not thinking. Beierl's reading of the novel "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London shows these empathic feelings to be generated by the reader's sympathetic imagination. Humane narrative fiction often foregrounds one or more animal protagonists who act out a story to dramatize compassionate themes. This invites the reader to identify psychologically with the experiences of fictional animal characters through mirror neuron action. It empowers him to empathize and bond with the main character, Buck, and his fellow canines; to re-experience the text. The neural process not only fosters biophilia - the intrinsic respect for and connectedness among living things - but also strengthens the reader's affinity for non-human animals and reinforces interspecies bonding.
1. Philosophical Foundations and Psychological Underpinnings of Empathy; 2. Reading as an Empathetic Activity; 3. Enabling Attitudinal Change through Empathic Literary Analysis; 4. The Empathic Reader: Analyzing Jack London's The Call of the Wild; 5. Humane Narrative Fiction, Biophilia, and the Interspecies Bond.
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- ID: 9780773429345
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