In what way is the ownership of pets (and pet-ownership as a subject-position) a privilege? In what ways is it classed? What kinds of adults are being imagined and constructed in literary narrative of pets and pethood?
In the case of Beautiful Joe, the dog in question has been physically abused and mutilated by a past owner. How are our upheld or understood ethics of pet-keeping and animal ownership complicated in consideration of animals that, again, by nature of human interaction, would otherwise be cast aside or euthanized? Can pethood and disability challenge one another here?
Thinking about ‘babyfication’, and the refrain of ‘dumb animals’ we hear in Beautiful Joe, how are certain kinds of language unevenly weaponized and used to identify, circumscribe, and mass-produce kinds of subjecthood, modes of communication, and forms of life? How is couching our own class time in the study of literary texts either in line with, or a challenge to, this production of subjectivity?
Wonderful questions, Alexandra, and I particularly appreciate the one about how pethood and disability might challenge each other. And pethood and privilege is very interesting…your questions open up several avenues of inquiry! CH