Jennifer Abbots at Tenderly:
“The Odyssey” by Homer
It’s an 8th century narrative poem about the devastation wrought by toxic masculinity, so of course THE DOG DIES. To be fair, the dog doesn’t die until the end; he is old and dies of joy when his master returns from being lost at sea. But before that happens, a couple dozen bulls are sacrificed to various gods; flocks of sheep and goats are killed for food and also to trick a Cyclops; and there’s a whole lot of symbolic bird-on-bird violence. On the human side, scores of Greeks and Trojans hack each other to death or are killed by monsters,various immortals, or Penelope’s shitty suitors. Rough.
“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville
ALL THE ANIMALS DIE — at least one squid, numerous sharks, a couple of sea-birds, hundreds of fish, lots of whales. There are entire loooong chapters devoted the horrific practices of whaling and sperm-oil harvesting. When not literally rolling around in fish guts, Melville also writes eloquently about falling in love with The Other (a very tattooed, weed-smoking Pacific Islander prince) and dissects the ills of religious and cultural dogma, nihilism, and obsession. If the reader skips the most gruesome chapters, there’s truly gorgeous writing and metaphysical interludes.