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Paradoxical Juxtaposition Of Animal Imagery And Social Categories

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Chapter Summary

The image of the bereaved bear is part of a structure that is logically related to the &t;better-than&t; saying. The formal pattern of that saying combines the initial adverb tob 'better', which usually functions as a predicative, and the mem of comparison prefixed to the second noun, creating an analogical relation. The conjunction of a bear and a fool evokes surprise and amazemen. The sense of fear and danger usually associated with a bereaved bear are replaced by mockery and sarcasm. In Ancient Near Eastern literature, the dog symbolizes a submissive, obedient animal, whose characteristic behavior is to grovel and humiliate itself in front of its master. The description of the dog that returns to its own pool of vomit and eats it arouses feelings of loathsomeness and disgust. In the Book of Proverbs, &t;vomit&t; stands for immoderate and unrestrained behavior, as in the warning against overindulgence.

Keywords: animal; bear; behavior; dog; vomit

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