A Story About Animals

Michael Wheatley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Written from a nonhuman perspective, this short story explores how the themes of family, motherhood, protection and fear are universal in both human and nonhuman alike. Taking inspiration from such classics as Richard Adams’s Watership Down (1972), the piece aims to challenge traditional anthropocentric assumptions of human dominance and nonhuman passivity by making explicit the parallels between human and animal.

The narrative is divided into two halves. The first section follows a mother and father fox shortly after giving birth to cubs, through to the early months of their development, and ending with the tragic loss of life caused by a mysterious hunt. The second half then follows the aftermath of the hunt, as mother and father have grown distant with the loss of their children and the return of hunting season draws near.

By adopting a nonhuman perspective, readers will be placed in a position of empathy with the nonhuman protagonists, while the human antagonists are abstracted into animalistic Gothic figures. For example, the bugle horn becomes a deafening roar; the hunters become ‘the animals’. With a strong theoretical background informing both the construction of the narrative and its chosen themes, the piece intends to contribute to our current reconsiderations of nature and challenge the role of hunting within a subsection of British culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-315
Number of pages6
JournalGothic Nature: New Directions in Ecohorror and the EcoGothic
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Ecocriticism
  • Animal Studies
  • Horror
  • Short Story
  • Creative Writing

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