Bullfighting Analysis

802 Words2 Pages

Aslan Sinan Oktay
Sports and Litterature
Professor O’Donoghue
New Aspect to Bullfighting
“Furthermore what the crowd honors is the victor, tossing him flowers and gifts, which he gracious returns, it is no mans victory over the animal, for the bull is always defeated; it is man’s victory over ignorance, fear, necessity. Man has made his victory a spectacle, so that it may become a victory of all those watching him and recognizing themselves in it” (Barthes, 2007). This is a very interesting paragraph from ‘bullfighting’ by Barthes. It proposes that bullfighting is never fait because the bulls can never win, and that the joy in the ‘sport’ comes from realization that man is greater that beast. This paper will analyze this paragraph using two opposing books for reference, ‘death in the afternoon’ by Ernest Hemingway and ‘on bullfighting’ by A. L Kennedy.
Bullfighting is a popular sport in Spain and some Latin countries in the Americas. It involves teasing a bull into confronting a man, and the man ‘escaping death’ and finally killing the bull (Kennedy, 2001). There have been different opinions about the sport over the years. These opinions are captured by A. L Kennedy and Ernest Hemingway in their respective books.
One of the main appeals to bullfighting is association with death. A false move by the matadors is potentially fatal, because bulls are agitated, and they go after the matadors with a serious intent. Death is the main attraction to these sports. The book ‘On Bullfighting’ begins on a suicide attempt by the writer. However, a bad song spoils the moods and thus rods the situation of any dignity, which leads the author to change her mind (Kennedy, 2001). It proposes that the main attraction to death is dignity and...

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...different outlooks in the books may be a result of the time difference. For example, masculinity was traditionally perceived to be stronger (Hemingway, 1932). Therefore, men were attracted to rough sports to prove their manhood. However, there have been changes in recent times that shifted the focus towards other aesthetic aspects of human life.
In conclusion, both books take a differing view to bullfighting. However, in the end, they both tend to agree with Barthes that this is not really a sport. However, the view of this paper may be biased by the cultural values of contemporary times and the declining aesthetic value of violence.

Barthes, R. (2007). What is sport?. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Hemingway, E. (1932). Death in the afternoon. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Kennedy, A. L. (2001). On bullfighting. New York: Anchor Books.

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