Analysis of the Book of the Dun Cow

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  • Topic: The Book of the Dun Cow, God, Basilisk
  • Pages : 3 (958 words )
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  • Published : May 16, 2011
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In Walter Wangerin Jr.'s beast fable, The Book of the Dun Cow, two roosters have the unusual distinction of being Lords of their own manor. Webster defines a Lord as a "person having great powers and authority, a ruler or master," where as a manor is defined as "the district over which a lord holds authority and domain" (Webster). Chauntecleer is introduced to the reader as the leader or Lord of the Coop and the ruler over the animals in the surrounding land. On the other hand, Cockatrice takes over as leader of his Coop and land after he kills his father, Senex. Chauntecleer and Cockatrice are two very different roosters who lead and rule their domain in stark contrast yet they are both labeled as Lords of the manor.

Early on in the novel, Chauntecleer is portrayed as a short tempered, vain, and arrogant ruler who is not at all likeable. While he is proud and undoubtedly stubborn, he is also characterized as fair, compassionate, and just. With his noble bearing, Chauntecleer keeps a sense of order in his land and the animals' lives by crowing the canonical hours and occasional crows in his strong magnificent voice. His crows are compared to the clock of the community. "Seven times a day, dutifully, with a deep sense of their importance, and by the immemorial command of the Divine, Chauntecleer crowed his canonical crows" (page 12). Crowing is his job and when he leads by his crows, the hens in his coop and the animals in his land are happy and unafraid, he is even able to make wrong things right.

While Chauntecleer may be flawed as a leader, his harem of hens and other creatures like John, Wesley Weasel, and Mundo Cani Dog see him as their protector and ruler. He protects the lives of those around him and sees that justice is carried out. As Lord he supports and protects his land and unites all his creatures whether fowl, rodent, or insect; animals large or small, wild or domestic to come join together to fight evil.

East and upriver from...
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