This paper asks whether animals can ever break out of anthropocentric value systems in literary narratives and, if so, what critical methods might be enlisted to reveal a literary animal’s independent agency. Examining the representation of a gray wolf in Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Crossing, it concludes that the animal’s agency (and, by extension, the agency of all literary animals) emerges when its behavior temporarily exhausts, confuses, or transforms the human use to which it has been put.


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