Do the animals have human qualities in them? Why do you say so?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
I agree that what designates a human quality is a little vague. However, dogs act like humans in that they can open doors with their mouths and play with balls. Cats (and dogs) act like humans in that they like some of the same foods, like sweets and dairy products.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I'm probably the odd man out here. While I agree that animals and humans have some qualities in common and I don't know what they are exactly, nor would I speak so confidently. People who speak too confidently, in my opinion, have too much faith.

With that said,  there are marked differences. Let me give a few examples. One of the things that I have been studying for the past few months is the history of laughter and it occurred to me that this might be a distinct human quality. We find things funny and we tell jokes. Do animals? I am not sure. Also when we are confronted with something awesome and beyond us, like pictures of the universe, we are filled with wonder. Do animal wonder at the beauty of a sun set? Probably not.

One final example. I am also studying the difference between envy and covetousness in the ancient world. It is a fine distinction, but again do animal covet and envy? Probably not. The previous answers speak of continuity, I like to talk the about discontinuity. It is a matter of perspective.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The previous post did a very nice job in linking the animal experience to the human one.  I would like to amplify this to a certain degree.  Part of what allows humans to recognize characteristics of their own experience in that of animals might lie in a natural scope of empathy or compassion.  This can be seen real well in films.  A few years ago a film called, "March of the Penguins," became an extremely popular movie because humans were able to empathize with the experience and loss of children and search for companionship.  In this setting, humans were able to see their own experience mirrored in that of the penguins.  In the final analysis, such compassion and understanding allow us to understand that both animals and humans have shared characteristics, emotions, and experiences.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team