By M. Boyde
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Extra resources for Captured: The Animal within Culture
Just as diasporic subjects leaving their countries of origin have to re-think the notion of home and whether it is always nostalgically elsewhere, so the giraffes in both play and novel have to adapt to a captive existence in the northern hemisphere. Once the giraffes are held in the zoo, Amina spends hours observing them, as well as discussing with their keeper their emotions, and the responses of visitors to the zoo. ] for every day’ (‘Zoos’ 486), which is evident here, but the keeper is pragmatic about habituated reactions to the animals on show: The zoo is nothing more than a contrivance ...
But the renewal of their lives after being baptised is not to be, for they are martyred to the imperative for state secrecy. Tadeas, a virologist, informs Emil of the infectiousness of the giraffes’ contagion and the vulnerability of all even-toed ungulates, which includes camels, cows and sheep. Emil denies the imperative of international law to report the infection, justifying that ‘National security is above the law’ (239). The collective farms cannot be allowed to halt production, the borders of the country have to be kept open.
On board was a large consignment for Jamrach (priced at £4000). The crew managed to rescue some cobras and an elephant and although a tiger managed to swim ashore it was shot three days later by the government agent. On 27 October 1857 India made itself felt in a very particular way when a tiger that was being delivered to Jamrach escaped and set off down the road snatching a small boy, John Wade, as he went. Jamrach rescued the boy and recaptured the tiger. The incident made national headlines and the story was reported by most of the English and Scottish provincial newspapers and in Welsh in the Baner Cymru.