Written in 1980, Animal Dreams is a novel written by American writer Barbara Kingsolver. Like in her previous novels, Animal Dreams focuses on the relationship between man and nature and it also focuses of the idea of social justice. Her novels usually reflect the real social and political situation of the areas where the action is set and this can be seen in Animal Dreams as well.
While Grace is not an actual geographical location, it has many characteristics typically found in the American Southwest. While the lands are fertile, mining was the main source of income for many living in secluded areas. This is portrayed in Animal Dreams as well because many characters work either in the mine at Black Mountain or in a railroad company and while they do cultivate the land, it is not their main source of income.
The novel also describes the lives of the Native Americans and their philosophy of living a life that harms the environment as little as possible. This way of living comes into conflict with the way the other Americans chose to live and the way they deal with the resources they have available around them.
The novel also focuses on another situation taking place in the 1980s namely the involvement of the USA into the political situation in Nicaragua and their involvement in the fight against the socialist regime that existed in Nicaragua during the 1980s. The novel focuses briefly on the negative effects the involvement of the USA caused and how it affected the USA citizens living there and also a vast majority of the population who were just innocent bystanders.