“Killer” Metaphors and the Wisdom of Captive Orcas

Julie “Madrone” Kalil Schutten, Caitlyn Burford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This entry distinguishes captive orcas from their wilder and freer kin. We speculate that captive orcas embody three principle metaphors: Prisoner; Activist; Martyr. These metaphors help us to imagine the kinds of rhetorical thinking necessary for a deeper understanding of the costs of human behavior as well as the potential for creating new visions and modes of witnessing. By witnessing orcas-as-prisoners, humans begin to see marine parks anew, as prisons, understanding their own complicity in the imprisonment of animal activists. Captive orca metaphors help to convey the actions of other-than-humans as rhetorically salient and politically motivated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-263
Number of pages7
JournalRhetoric Society Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2017


  • alternative symbolics
  • animal activism
  • animal communication
  • captivity
  • orca

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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