Women, Animals, and Jane Goodall: Reason for Hope

Marianne Dekoven, Rutgers University
Vol. 25, No. 1 (Spring 2006), 141-151

This essay examines the potential of emotion, especially when expressed through patriarchal, nonrevolutionary rhetoric, to motivate progressive political action. The article focuses on the hope, or the possibility, of a future that enables positive affect, evoked by Jane Goodall in the bestselling memoir she wrote with the assistance of Philip Berman. Emotion emerges as an instrument that an author can use to harness an audience’s sense of human (or in this case, human and nonhuman) interconnection in the cause of a greater good: the cause, that is, of saving an exploited and increasingly inhospitable earth. This twentieth-century text suggests optimism about the ability of emotion to motivate moral action, even as it reveals the care and craft with which Goodall and Berman evoke specific feelings in service of a quietly radical political agenda.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]