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Title: Ecocriticism

What is Ecocriticism?
  • Ecocriticism is literary analysis informed by
    ecological awareness.

Eco-criticism The newest literary theory
  • Due to the fact that art reflects life, a growing
    concern addressed by writers in the 21st century
    has been one of ecological and environmental
    awareness, particularly due to the advancements
    in science, the growing knowledge of
    environmental destruction and evidence that the
    natural state of our planet is in jeopardy.
  • With this, many works of speculative fiction
    (Atwoods Oryx and Crake, or films such as Wall-E
    for instance) act as dystopian warnings for the
    possible ramifications of environmental

Why Ecocriticism?
  • Most ecocritical work shares a common motivation
    the awareness that we have reached the age of
    environmental limits, a time when human actions
    are damaging the planet's basic life support

  • We are facing a global crisis today, not because
    of how ecosystems function but rather because of
    how our ethical systems function. Getting through
    the crisis requires understanding our impact on
    nature, but even more, it requires understanding
    those ethical systems and using that
    understanding to reform them. Historians, along
    with literary scholars, anthropologists, and
    philosophers, cannot do the reforming, of course,
    but they can help with the understanding.

When Did It Emerge?
  • Ecocriticism is one of the most recent schools
    literary theory, emerging in the mid-1990s.

Ecocentric Perspectives
  • While there has been a specific theme of
    environmental awareness in many works of recent
    literature, Ecocritical theorists also look to
    the past and re-examine the literary canon.

  • Ecocentric perspectives give special canonical
    emphasis to writers who focused on nature as a
    major part of their subject matter, such as the
    British Romantics (Lake poets) American

Henry David Thoreau
  • I went to the woods because I wished to live
    deliberately, to front only the essential facts
    of life, and see if I could not learn what it had
    to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover
    that I had not lived."
  • -- Walden (1854)

British Romantics
  • It was during the Romantic era, which witnessed a
    sharp rise in urban populations and an
    increasingly industrialized economy, that
    environmental problems became much more severe
    and noticeable, taking on a new sense of urgency.
  • Percy Shelley lamented both the contaminated
    water and the putrid atmosphere of crowded
    cities, which he insightfully attributed to
    urban filth and the exhalations of chemical
    processes (qtd. in Morton,Shelley 133). It is
    no wonder, then, that the word pollution took
    on its modern sense during the Romantic period
    (Bate, Song of the Earth 137).

Establishing a Green Canon
  • Another focus of ecocritics has been the
    redefinition of the canon. Ecocritics have
    rediscovered ecological and naturalist writers
    who were ignored during their own times.

Establishing a Green Vocabulary
  • Ecocritics have begun to realize the limitations
    of existing vocabularies for keeping up with the
    changes in attitudes, values, beliefs, and ways
    of conceptualizing Nature that are emerging in

Establishing a Green Vocabulary
  • One task is to add new kinds of words to balance
    out an ecological vocabulary now dominated by
    corporate interests.
  • A great deal of this vocabulary (ie ecological
    footprint) did not exist decades ago, and
    emphasizes the mainstream direction of this new,
    green vocab.

Important Ecocritical Terms
  • Protecting the earth from human pollution and

Sustainable Development
  • is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet
    human needs while preserving the environment so
    that these needs can be met not only in the
    present, but in the indefinite future.

Ecological Footprint
  • Is the worlds premier measure of humanitys
    demand on nature
  • It measures how much land and water area a human
    population requires to produce the resource it
    consumes and to absorb its wastes, using
    prevailing technology.

Climate Change
  • is the increase in the average temperature of the
    Earth's near-surface air and the oceans since the
    mid-twentieth century and its projected
  • the effects can and may be disastrous for the

Green Living / Going Green
  • To be environmentally sound or beneficial
  • Preservation of resources and offering
    environmentally friendly alternatives to
    traditional methods or products

Shallow Ecology vs Deep Ecology
  • Shallow ecology" generally insists that it is
    ultimately human needs and societal well-being
    which must determine our approach to nature,
    whereas "deep ecology" emphasizes on the contrary
    that nature has value in and of itself,
    independently of its functions for human society.

Shallow Ecology
  • Shallow ecology wants to save the world, but only
    for us. It wants to preserve wilderness areas of
    the world so that they can be enjoyed by  campers
    and backpackers. It wants us to preserve the
    rainforests so our children can enjoy them or
    because we need the oxygen from the trees. 

Deep Ecology
  • Deep Ecology cuts straight to the heart of our
    culture. It isn't about trivial eco-tips. It
    examines our world view and asks, "how is the way
    we think about the world contributing to our
    environmental and social problems?"
  • There are human cultures that have existed and
    still do that see themselves as part of a global
    community, linked to plant and animal life. They
    dont destroy the planet. They work in harmony
    with the planet.
  • Deep ecology is about changing minds in how the
    planet is viewed. It requires the modification of
    a culture.

  • The process by which an object or person becomes
    a commodity. Capitalist society, which is
    structured around economic exchange, is seen by
    many critics to commodify the whole world,
    including the environment.

  • Man as the owner of the land
  • Man as the supreme being
  • Humans as the oppressor and the environment as
    the oppressed

  • A variation of eco-spirituality studies human
    relationship to God as it develops in the context
    of our relationships with the cosmos in its
    totality. The challenge of eco-spirituality is to
    find God within -- not apart from
  • You have to give back to the land what you have
    taken waste nothing (ex buffalo)

  • Ecofeminists agree that the domination of women
    and the domination of nature are fundamentally
    connected and that environmental efforts are
    therefore integral with work to overcome the
    oppression of women.

Eco-Critical Analysis
Eco-Critical Analysis
Eco-Critical Analysis
Eco-Critical Analysis
Eco-Critical Analysis