Ecocriticism: Literature and The Physical Environment Essay

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Ecocriticism is “'the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment'” (Bressler 231). It holds that humans and the earth are interconnected and seeks both to explore the ways in which literature portrays this bond as well as advocates activism to help protect it. It is one of the more modern schools of literary theory but is a firmly established form of criticism, especially with the growing concern for the consequences of climate change caused by the imbalance between human consumption and environmental capacity. Ecocriticism asserts that humans are “peoples of 'place'” (Bressler 231), our lives defined by the environment that we inhabit and the necessities of survival that are dictated by nature. The …show more content…
These features coupled with ecocriticism’s informal methodology allows critics to focus on a wide variety of questions about the relationship between place and people in a text and allows for a flourishing and multidimensional discourse (Johnson 10).
The typical reaction when hearing “Ecocriticism” usually brings thoughts of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, William Wordsworth and other writers who focused on nature and create pastoral scenes for their readers (Bressler232). However, long before them, the Greeks and Romans along with many other texts contained pastoral emphasize on nature and also concerns on animal rights, pollution and excessive waste. Similar to the feminist movements and others movements, Ecocriticism evolved in the 1960’s. Ecocriticism can be divided into first and second-wave environmental actions. According to Lawrence Buell book, The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination (2005), he states that first-wave Ecocriticism is somewhat older than the second-wave in that it seems like natural writing of the nineteenth century. However, the second-wave of criticism examines more current works. Rachel Carson’s, Silent Spring (1962) focuses on more direct and current environmental concerns. It discusses environmental issues that still exist today, which are poisons from insecticides,

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