Canine agents in two South African short stories

  • Mathilda Slabbert University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch
Keywords: dogs, gender, short fiction, textual dogs


This article explores the role of the figure of the dog in two contemporary South African short stories. It considers the metaphorical-cum-allegorical significance of the textual animal in these texts, asking how the writers use dogs as imaginative devices to draw attention to issues of gender, human emotions or psychoses, and the avowal or disavowal of (human and animal) agency. The aim is to engage with the writers’ evident wish both to comment on human-animal relationships and encounters in contemporary South African society, and to emphasise how these become effective, affective means of commenting on the continued inequities of post-apartheid society.

Author Biography

Mathilda Slabbert, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch

Mathilda Slabbert is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Studies at the
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.


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