While this novel focuses on animal rights, many other environmental issues and ideas were part of the background for the story. What issues did you observe as you read this novel? Did anything you read cause you to become more aware or change your mind about a particular environmental issue?…
Pinpoint five or six instances where environmental issues, including problems, become apparent. Perhaps the most spectacular feature of T. C. Boyle’s striking novel titled When the killing’s done is that on many accounts it escapes the stagnation that one might connect with a novel of its genre – the narrative is not only regarding animal rights as it may appear at first but in his story, Boyle showcases the dynamism and complexity that is associated with environmental activism, morality, ethics and the family life which shapes the actions and intentions of a human being. The purpose of this essay is to highlight the background for Boyle’s story by bringing to light the underlying environmental issues in the novel, in doing so the paper draws attention to five instances that are present in the book where problems and issues related to the environment become evident. In conclusion the essay examines the impact of Boyle’s novel in creating awareness regarding aspects related to environmental activism such as biodiversity management, the issue of non-native species in habitats and the redesigning of ecosystems. At the crux of the narrative that is presented in When the killing’s done lies the conflict between Alma Boyd Takesue and Dave Lajoy. While, Alma seeks the absolute eradication of invasive species such as black rats and feral pigs on the islands of Santa Cruz and Anacapa, for Lajoy the killing of an animal regardless of its categorization as an invasive species is a grave violation of morality and “…that’s what he has to remember: save the animals” (Boyle p75). The varying perceptions and motivations of the two characters in advancing their environmental agendas is not only reflective of a conflict or problem that seeks resolution within the novel itself but also gives insight into the dilemmas associated with environmental activism in the real world. The fundamental question here is that when the benefits of environmental activism and protecting the flora and fauna are agreed upon on a widespread scale, why is it that human beings cannot collaborate in harmony to achieve a common objective? Due to its focus and analysis of the subjectivity associated with morals and ethics in environmental activism on a macro level, Boyle’s novel intends to spread a message that comprehends the need to strike a balance between values, morals and ethics for the overall good of humanity. Another aspect that is prominent in the novel has been crafted by Boyle in the background stories of the characters, in fact, it would be correct to state that Alma owes her existence to the island – the island saved Alma’s grandmother from possible death which could have been the consequence of a shipwreck that occurred in 1946. Furthermore, Lajoy’s girlfriend Anise Reed also shares a special relationship with the islands due to her mother’s employment at a ranch located on the island. The implications of these relationships that have been woven within the narrative by Boyle necessarily enhance the dramatic element of the novel to portray the characters and their situations in a manner that is believable. Alma’s determination to promote her cause and garner the attention of the press on the issue of environmental concern also stems from personal reasons, which enhances the ambiguity of the criterion for right and wrong, thereby, enhancing the subjectivity that is associated with an individual’s motivation for environmental activism and selecting the best possible method of conservation. In essence, When the killing’s done documents decades of changes in habitats, ecosystems and the environment that have been brought about by the ...
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