Even when they appear to signify a symbolic function, animals in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake generally remain grounded in the ecology of the natural world. We see a hen scavenging a ravaged landscape after battle, two cavemen struggling to acquire the means to speak and communicate, and hear the conflicting insects in a version of Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper argue. Yet all of these Wake an creatures remind us that the cultural contexts of their narratives reflect the need for food, habitat, and other resources necessary for the survival of living beings.


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