Since class on Friday, when Adam Novy said that he gave Morgan the swans as pets because humans are too complicated and harder to love, I’ve noticed this theme much more frequently in the novel. There is loneliness consoled by pets, and there is sadness and rage when the pets are taken.
For example, we already know that Morgan loves and takes care of the swans. When they are murdered, his rage against the RedBlacks only grows. He says, “[M]y swans, I betrayed you, it’s my fault you’re dead, my fault and the RedBlacks, and I’ll punish them for you” (83).
Also, Katherine lets the parrots in because she wants to keep them as pets. When Zvominir is ordered to remove them, she says, “I don’t have any friends but them, them and you [Zvominir],” and the narrator confirms, “Katherine was frequently alone” (94).
It seems to me that Jane also has a pet: it’s Billy. The narrator tells us, “Jane adored her younger brother, her only living relative, her ward and her devoted best friend; lesser in intelligence, perhaps, but great in loyalty and sweetness, and those were all that mattered…he was credulous and eager” (104). These sound more like the qualities of a dog than of a brother. And then later, without him, “[S]he said she wasn’t sentimental, only angry” (125).
Finally, I thought it was interesting how Zvominir explains the birds and and human love to Katherine. He tells her not to touch the birds, “for human love devoured them” (93). Here, Novy seems to indicate the complicated nature of humans and their love, just as he explained in class.