The essay explores the portrayal of insects in literature, focusing specifically on the representation of ants in Yitzhak Orpaz’s Nemalim (Ants) and Italo Calvino’s La formica argentina (The Argentine Ant). Both stories delve into the dynamics of species interaction, specifically into the response of two married couples whose homes or apartments are invaded by ants. Despite the humans’ efforts, particularly those of the husbands’, to regain control of their territory, they are unsuccessful. Throughout the narratives, the ants, functioning as a superorganism, exhibit a greater degree of agency compared to the human characters. The house or flat transforms into an anthill, effectively reverting the anthropized space into a natural environment. Consequently, the two species intertwine, mingle, and hybridize. This analysis will be conducted through the lens of animal studies, highlighting the themes of animal agency and Otherness, which are particularly significant when considering insects. Additionally, the essay will draw upon the concept of consilience between the humanities and sciences.

issue 23 / n.1 (2023) by Anna Lissa