Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Jeremy Green

Abstract

This thesis will attempt to explore the relationship between nature and the contemporary western world as portrayed in three contemporary ecofiction novels: Solar Storms by Linda Hogan, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The complex relationship between nature and technology in all three fictions is highly problematic with technology and nature rarely being shown as “getting along.” Technology and nature most often portray the problematic binaries typical to patriarchal thinking throughout the novels. Technology is most often presented as a culturally domineering and intrusive weapon yielded by man, whereas feminized nature relates to women in its similar ill-treatment by the western world as well as its shared human characteristics. Another related theme is morality, and its evolutionary background—a topic mainly discussed and associated with McCarthy’s novel. These natural, cultural, and gendered binaries are built up and torn down throughout the length of the thesis. In the end, this paper will argue for the positive influence ecofictions create on the general readers’ perception of and relationship with nature, no matter the gender or scope of environmental knowledge. It will argue that ecofictions are important today more than ever for it gives the general public a story of people and nature; it reveals the emotions, moral conflicts, successes and failures not only between characters, but between characters and their surroundings. Ecofictions offer lessons, warnings, and examples of why the natural world is so important, and why technology is a double-edged sword that should be handled with care.

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