Animal Display in Fiction : Clarice Lispector’s “O búfalo” and Other Stories Framing Animal Captivity

Torquato, Ana Carolina

This paper presents an overview of animal captivity and human-animal relationships in the context of the zoo. It endeavours to contextualize a possible definition of the themes of animal captivity and confinement; at the same time, it analyses how literary fiction portrays such topics. To illustrate the discussion, the study examines the short story “O búfalo” (1960), by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector, which portrays a woman visiting a zoological garden after a heartbreak. While wandering at the zoo, she observes animal behaviour while conducting a thorough excursion into her psychological and emotional self. Reflections on captivity, confinement, and lack of freedom are frequently addressed in Lispector’s work and can also be found in other stories (A paixão segundo G.H.; “A quinta história”; “A língua do ‘p’”) that will also be taken into consideration.


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Torquato, Ana: Animal Display in Fiction. Clarice Lispector’s “O búfalo” and Other Stories Framing Animal Captivity. São Paulo 2023. The Maria Sibylla Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America (Mecila).

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