A Bird’s-Eye View over Sydney: Animal Imagery in Amnesty by Aravind Adiga





Aravind Adiga, animal imagery, Australia, immigrants


The creative and meaningful use of animal imagery plays an important role in Aravind Adiga’s novels. In his previous works, such as the 2008 Booker-prize-winning The White Tiger and Last Man in Tower (published in 2011), animal references frequently feature in the narration, thus conveying multi-layered meanings. However, animal references become particularly noticeable in Amnesty, his latest novel published in 2020. The aim of this paper is to investigate the use of animal imagery in Amnesty and unravel some of its possible meanings. Starting from interpretations of animal metaphors related to humans, the paper will then put under scrutiny other interpretations of animal references which progressively enlarge their reach, thereby involving not only the city of Sydney, but the whole novel. By making reference to specific passages, I will explore the meanings of the animal imagery with respect to the illegal immigrants, their condition and to isolation, which acquires particular relevance, since the narrator is a Sri Lankan illegal immigrant who initially reached Australia thanks to a student visa. Furthermore, other interpretations of the animal references could revolve around the city of Sydney, its curious representation as a jungle and its representational use of animal imagery in the coat of arms and official contexts. Finally, light will be shed on the interesting role played by animals in pivotal scenes and their unexpected powerful revelations, which allow readers to better understand some episodes in the novel and interpret them from a different, enlightening perspective.


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How to Cite

Mondo, Costanza. 2023. “A Bird’s-Eye View over Sydney: Animal Imagery in Amnesty by Aravind Adiga”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 38 (January):43-57. https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2023.38.03.