Goat Song/Class Discussion

I fully enjoyed reading the Goat Song and am happy I am leading the discussion on it since it was such a remarkable and interesting story. I also chose Goat as my project animal and this book has made me truly appreciate that choice. The story was a great way to see a bond develop between an owner and domesticated animal. The sustainability of the relationship was what stirred most of my emotions during the story. The goats truly became part of his family by the end and the relationship was much more than just a human taking products from the goat. The labor involved and the difficulty the goats caused at times shows how devoted he became to the animals and how much he appreciated them. The book has made me think about trying to be more sustainable and organic with the food I am eating and hopefully I am able to find realistic ways to do this.


It seemed to me after reading everyone’s posts about Goat song that the novel was more or less enjoyable for everyone to read and we all have a new found respect and interest in goats. While no one seemed to appreciate the graphic descriptions of some of the scenes in goat song pretty much everyone liked the deep connection he formed with the goats over the course of the story. Some common trends emerged in what seemed to interest people the most from the novel.

1. What was the impact on society when man moved from hunting to farming? Why did this occur? When the animal was considered a commodity how did labor become considered a commodity as well? Do you think a shift like this can/will happen again and in what way?

2. The relationship between humans/nature/animals, is it truly inseparable? Can it always be mutualistic for domesticated animals? Is it cruel and considered going against nature to alter animals for our own benefit?

3. Does the process of growing our own food have a correlation to human happiness or worth? What are the sustainability impacts of making our own food?

4. How did the pastoral influence change religion/language/mythology and genetics? What are the similarities in our language and animal/pastoral history?  Why do most people not know about this origination?

2 thoughts on “Goat Song/Class Discussion”

  1. I’ve been thinking the same thing about trying to be more sustainable food-wise. While college students like us may not be able to go to extremes in becoming more self-sufficient and sustainable with food like Kessler, it’s not hard to take a few steps in the right direction, and incredibly rewarding (in my experience). A salad made from home-grown lettuce and tomatoes tastes way better than one found in a prepackaged bag. Baking your own bread is not only delicious and better for you than store-bought, it makes your house smell amazing!
    Herb gardens can be small enough to thrive even in an apartment and using fresh herbs that you’ve grown yourself to spice your food makes such a difference. And trying out local farmers markets is always a good way to eat more sustainably without all the labor involved.

    1. I actually liked the graphic descriptions of living with the goats and the kids’ births. I grew up reading James Harriot’s books, which detailed the life of a country veterinarian and contained many such descriptions. I believe my post addressed some of your topic questions, particularly the genetic and social effects of pastoralism.

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