The Beasts

Reading again the old man’s stories—for that’s what they seemed to be, despite their scientific apparatus, stories of love and death, grief and joy—what Loren felt was not the shocking sense its first readers had, that men are nothing more than beasts, their vaunted freedoms and ideals an illusion—the old, old reaction of the men who first read Darwin—but the opposite. What the stories seemed to say was that beasts are not less than men: less ingenious in expression, less complex in possibility, but as complete; as feeling; as capable of overmastering sorrow, hurt, rage, love.

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