Symbolism of the Pig: Background information when reading The Capital

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The Capital

A Novel

by Robert Menasse

The Capital by Robert Menasse X
The Capital by Robert Menasse
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  • Published:
    Jun 2019, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Dean Muscat
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Symbolism of the Pig

This article relates to The Capital

Animal Farm by George Orwell book coverIn addition to having a very real fugitive pig running through the streets of Brussels, Robert Menasse deploys a pig leitmotif throughout The Capital that takes on a wealth of significance across the novel. Characters discuss the value of pig's ears, and pork is served in a succulent cherry beer sauce. Even fictional pigs such as Babe, Miss Piggy and Peppa Pig are referenced.

As Menasse goes on to philosophize through the character of Professor Kurt van der Koot, the symbol of the pig has been made to act as "good and evil, fortune and disaster, sentimental love, contempt and deep-seated hatred, eroticism and wickedness. It was the only animal which as a metaphor covered the entire breadth of human emotions and philosophies, from the pig in clover to the filthy pig...he even ventured into the political realm and discussed the concepts of the 'Jewish pig' and 'Nazi swine'." It is fascinating to discover how many contradicting meanings one animal can come to represent.

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