The Lives of Animals

“…open your heart and listen to what your heart says.” Do animals have rights? Do human beings have duties toward them regardless of whether they have rights? What kind of souls do animals have? What kind do we have? – The Lives of Animals (1999) by J.M. Coetzee

Fig. 1. The Lives of Animals Book Cover

This quote, taken from Coetzee’s book on The Lives of Animals, shows a few rhetorical methods when talking about animal cruelty. First, the speaker, Costello uses pathos to appeal to the audience’s emotions. She states, “open your heart and listen to what your heart says” Of course, no one is going to “open their heart” and be “okay” with killing animals. She then asks the audience about the kind of “soul animals have” with and asks for the audience to compare it to the soul humans have. This is an extreme use of ethics. If the two are similar we are faced with an internal moral conflict. We would never kill and eat our own kind, and if we are so similar to animals, why is killing and eating them fair? She wants us to relate with animals and show us how terrible killing animals actually is. She also uses the rhetorical strategy of asking a rhetorical question. This is used to subtly influence and persuade the audience. She is not looking for an actual answer but the reaction to the question as she further emphasizes her point.

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