The book ‘The Deliverance of the Dancing Bears’ by Elizabeth Stanley is strongly based on animal cruelty. The target audience of this book is young philosophers whom are choosing between life’s great universals- good and evil. A dancing bear dreams of freedom and a different life, these dream are what keep the bear alive: ‘the dreaming and not the bread and water he left each evening that kept the bear living, year after year…’ Though this is a dominant reading of the text, both resistant and alternate readings are still able to be made. Elizabeth Stanley uses visual and textual features in this story in cooperation that positions the text in the way it is perceived by the audience. Privileging and marginalisation is also used throughout the book, as well as representations of characters and setting.
The dominant reading of this story is a poor, suffering dancing bear that is rescued from an evil, cruel man by a noble-minded peasant. This reading shows the characters in the very stereotypical light of most fairytales- the good, the evil and the victim. The author wants you to believe whilst reading the book that you should feel sorry and have compassion for the bear, appreciative towards Yusaf for saving the bears and anger towards Hulak, the cruel keeper of the bear.
Though the dominant reading is the way most people read the text, and is the way the author intends for it to be read, a resistant reading of the text is also available. It could be looking at the animal cruelty in a good way, though Hulak is cruel to the bear, he does provide food, water and a place to sleep for the bear. ‘Hulak was full of anger and hatred and he terrified the bear.’ could be read as the bear being ungrateful to Hulak for looking after him, and the keeper could really just be scared of the bear. An alternate reading is also available, and this could be in the shape of people interpreting animal’s feelings in the wrong way. The author may have just assumed that the bear was...
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