Thursday, May 28, 2015

Alice Walker

"Am I Blue?" is a short story by Alice Walker about a beautiful white horse that lived on a large 5 acres of land next to her house. The horse, Blue, is left alone in the meadow for most of the time, only visited by his owners a few times a year. The narrator and her partner adored Blue and soon got into the habit of feeding him apples from a nearby apple tree in their yard. The act of feeding the animal caused the narrator to feel a childlike sense of amazement; as she used to horseback-ride as a child. She could tell by looking into his eyes that he was lonely. Here we see the narrator anthropomorphising Blue. Obviously the horse did not tell her directly that he was lonely, but she could simply tell by being around him. The narrator had "forgotten that human animals and nonhuman animals can communicate quite well." The story goes on to tell about another horse that had been dropped off at Blue's meadow, who we later find out we only sent there by a different owner to be impregnated. Once Blue's friend was pregnant, they took her back and Blue was left alone, distressed, and upset. The narrator easily notices this and feels sad for Blue because she knows he now has to go back to his sad and isolated life. Even when she would feed him apples, she could tell that he was different after having his friend taken away. The narrator feels a very strong sense of sympathetic imagination regarding Blue. She doesn't understand how some people have such a disconnection with nonhuman animals and believe that they don't suffer. She makes a powerful comparison to slavery and how white children raised by slaves, after having so much compassion for them, were able to feel so disconnected to them later in life when they either get sold to another family, or perhaps just when they learn how blacks were "supposed" to be treated. This is a perfect intersection of both speciesism and racism. By the end of the story, her relationship with Blue opened up her opinion on animal rights, how she feels for animals, and the torture that they endure then becomes extremely clear to her.

"As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery..."

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