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Quotes

Quote #1

"Even so, I rather think they understand one thing—fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death." (1.10)

Whitney offers a compelling argument to Rainsford’s dismissive attitude toward killing jaguars: that they understand fear. Perhaps without intending it, Whitney assumes that animals have a complex understanding of what being hunted means. Do you think animals really know that they could die, or do they just flee by instinct? Do you agree with Whitney or with Rainsford here?

Quote #2

"One superstitious sailor can taint the whole ship's company with his fear." (1.24)

A lot of people think that superstition is contagious and go to great lengths to control it (like, say, hockey players?). Even if sailors don’t know exactly what they’re afraid of, they get a bad vibe. After all, sailors were the first to say, “Knock on wood.”

Quote #3

Rainsford heard a sound. It came out of the darkness, a high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror. (1.36)

Wait—didn’t Rainsford just argue that animals couldn’t experience fear? If so, why would he think he hears an animal in “terror”? Wouldn’t that make him deduce that it was not, in fact, an animal—but a human?

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