Twilight by Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont, 1916
The magic trick:
Creating a story that feels brutally realistic even though it’s told through the imagined feelings of animals
Today’s story anthropomorphizes a horse and a Siberian hound. This is no Disney production, though. Far from it. The horse has been left for dead and the hound is old and blind.
It’s strange to move through a story from the point of view of animal emotions. It seems corny to apply human feelings to their experiences. But this story is incredibly effective. It’s bleak and dark and does not push toward anything like a happy ending. As a result, there is a sense of brutal realism about the story even as it deals in imagined animal feelings. And that’s quite a trick on Reymont’s part.
But about Sokol there was a deep, awful silence, that made him shiver. Somber panic seized him; he began to tug frenziedly at his halter… it broke, and he fled into the yard.
The sun blinded him and a wild pain gnawed at his entrails. He lowered his head, and stood motionless, as if stunned. Little by little, however, he came to himself again; dim memories of fields, forests, meadows, floated through his brain…. There awoke in him a resistless desire to run… a longing to conquer vast distances… a craving thirst to live again… He began to seek eagerly for an exit from the yard.
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