Monthly Archives: January 2017

Understanding language as a Communication Barrier

The quote that I am analyzing is from The Lives of Animals by J.M Coetzee.

“Kafka saw both himself and Red Peter as hybrids, as monstrous thinking devices mounted inexplicably on suffering animal bodies.”(30)

This quote is meaningless before describing the context in which the sentence was stated. Kafka is a human stuck in an unfamiliar environment, such as a job interview, giving a big presentation, or meeting a significant other’s’ parents for the first time. Red peter is an ape, being studied by humans. Coetzee is stating that both humans and animals stuck in an unfamiliar environment are the same because, mainly, of the language barrier. Coetzee is arguing that the unfamiliar dialect of formal speaking is just as broken and gets just as lost in translation as humans trying to speak to animals. Using the words “ hybrids” and “mounted” conveys a man made, less organic creation rather than a person. This sentence works because it demonstrates the inorganic and forced relationship that humans and animals alike have. This in addition to using aggressive adjectives such as “monstrous” helps convey the author’s negative opinion on the subject