When The Whale Talks Back: An Interspecies Cultural Dialogue in Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller (2005)


The paper explores the ways in which the narrative perspectives relate the interconnectedness between human characters and nonhuman characters, Saluni the human and Sharisha the whale in particular, through the process of 'intra-action'. In contrast to 'interaction' which assumes that there are separate agencies that precede the interaction, 'intra-action' recognizes that distinct agencies do not precede, but rather emerge through the process of intra-action. Approaching Zakes Mda's The Whale Caller (2005) by postcolonial-material ecocriticism, as the mode of enquiry, reveals the intra-acting encounters between Saluni and Sharisha as an attempt to destabilize the hierarchically categorical divides and defamilarize speciesism and its naturalization, including human priority, human superiority and human intelligence. These intra-acting encounters also challenge human hierarchical structures that determine meanings and values of all earthen beings. Consequently, the intra-action in The Whale Caller reflects on the need to rethink whether the western modes of environmental conservation work in the case of South Africa.

Author Information
Weeraya Donsomsakulkij, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2014
Stream: Literature

This paper is part of the LibrAsia2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Donsomsakulkij W. (2014) When The Whale Talks Back: An Interspecies Cultural Dialogue in Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller (2005) ISSN: 2186-2281 – The Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship 2014 – Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/2186-2281.20140120
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/2186-2281.20140120

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon