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An Ecofeminist Study of the Temple of My Familiar

Author WeiHaiJing
Tutor HuangShiXiang
School Guangxi Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords The Temple of My Familiar Ecofeminism Interconnection Harmony Disharmony
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Alice Walker is an influential and famous contemporary Afro-American female writer, a novelist, a poet and essayist. In her early literary writings (especially the novels before 1988), Walker mainly examines the severe racial and sexual discrimination in American society. However, in her recent works, Walker tries her best to combine closely race and sex with nature, concerning these three elements as a whole, realizing that men’s domination of nature, women and the colored people or the weak people of the world, is actually due to the male domination or patriarchy. Here, Alice Walker puts forward her idea clearly about ecofeminism, which is the third phase of feminism, a gradual combination of feminist and ecological movements in the mid-twentieth century. It is also a movement against the inter-connected oppressions of women, nature and also colored people. These inter-connected oppressions are derived from patriarchal structures.Alice Walker’s works demonstrate her ecofeminist ideas in various points. Her great work The Temple of My Familiar greatly manifests her ecofeminist ideas and concerns. According to the information from Google and also data base, there are only a few studies about this novel during these years. Up till now, there are only a few M.A. theses discussing this novel in China, some of them discuss the evolution of Walker’s womanist spirituality and others make research into its narrative points of view. And there is one more thesis making an interpretation of this novel from the aspect of ecofeminism, concerning the sufferings of both nature and women in a male-dominated society. Only one critical essay has been published focusing on the conversion of conversation and its implied meaning. Therefore, there is much room for further research into The Temple of My Familiar, which is the main reason this thesis tries to study this novel from the angle of ecofeminism. Based on the former research, an ecofeminism analysis will help to explore those interconnected relationships among nature, human beings and also races, which reveals perfectly the novel’s profound ecofeminism ideas.From the interconnected harmonious relationships among nature, human beings and race, Walker firstly demonstrates a harmonious world in the very beginning of The Temple of My Familiar, these harmonious relationships between human beings and nature, men and women, white people and black people are all the ecofeminists’ultimate purpose, that is, they hold the belief to build an equal and harmonious world. However, this peaceful world could not last so long before another world with terrible exploitation of nature and also the weaker animals, domination over women and colored people appears. Walker has observed and exposed those disharmonious factors through her great perception and powerful words. Later, thanks to the self-realization of the white people (men and women), there is a real new age of balanced harmony among nature, human beings and race existing in the society again. Through Walker’s depiction of this harmonious world, it seems that ecofeminists’ultimate purpose to build a peaceful world can be achieved in the future. Hence, from this ecofeminist approach and ecofeminist criticism, readers can get a better understanding to this novel and also Walker’s deep concerns about nature, race and sex. Walker shows her deep concerns to the women’s inferior position and the suffering of the colored people in the patriarchic society, moreover, it should be realized how important and urgent it is to establish a harmonious relationship between human beings and nature while the world is endangered by ecological crises of all kinds.

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