Analysis of the Book of the Dun Cow

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In Walter Wangerin Jr.'s beast fable, The Book of the Dun Cow, two roosters have the unusual distinction of being Lords of their own manor. Webster defines a Lord as a "person having great powers and authority, a ruler or master," where as a manor is defined as "the district over which a lord holds authority and domain" (Webster). Chauntecleer is introduced to the reader as the leader or Lord of the Coop and the ruler over the animals in the surrounding land. On the other hand, Cockatrice takes over as leader of his Coop and land after he kills his father, Senex. Chauntecleer and Cockatrice are two very different roosters who lead and rule their domain in stark contrast yet they are both labeled as Lords of the manor. Early on in …show more content…

While Chauntecleer is a strong postured, slightly scruffy, handsome rooster with noble bearing; Cockatrice is frightening and menacing with his serpent looking tail and bloody eyes. In return for his leadership and constant abiding, Chauntecleer asks only for good food, loyalty, sleep, a little color in his life, and a morning sunbath. On the other hand, Cockatrice demands total subservience from his creatures even though he shows them no respect or care. Chauntecleer rejoices and shares the pride of his three sons with his wife, Pertelote, with the creatures of the community while Cockatrice demands he have thousands of children by raping the hens to build an army of Basilisks who just by their touch cause death. As Lord of his land, Chauntecleer calls for all the creatures in his land to gather for a council so that he can prepare them for the upcoming battles with evil. In contrast, Cockatrice forbids the animals from gathering for meetings and even mere talking. Chauntecleer argues against revenge and hatred while Cockatrice is driven by this very evil. In Wangerin's novel, both Chauntecleer and Cockatrice have the gift of speech; however they each individually choose their own path of good or evil, order or chaos, and eventually life or death. Not only do all of the animal creatures from Cockatrice's land perish, he too dies because of his self destructive hatred. In the land of Chauntecleer, the creatures mourn the loss of their fellow