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An Ecological Approach to Barbara Kingsolver’s the Poisonwood Bible

Author ChenYaJun
Tutor DuZhiQing
School Huaqiao University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible ecocriticism
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Barbara Kingsolver is an eminent female writer of contemporary Americanliterature. Her living experiences have cultivated her ardent love for nature and hergreat compassion for the oppressed people. Her works frequently explore the themeof humanity, concerning the issues of environment, women, class, and race. Neverhas she shunned away from being labelled as a “political writer”. Instead, she feelsquite proud of it. She strongly opposes colonialism, condemning western countries’oppression of the Third World.The Poisonwood Bible is Kingsolver’s most complex and profound novel, whichmarks the maturity of her writings. It is even acknowledged as a masterpiece of thetwentieth century literature by some critics. She herself considers the novel a“political allegory”. By paralleling male domination over women with man’sdomination over nature, and the imperialist domination over the colonized people,Kingsolver elaborates on the issues of environmental justice and colonial occupation.This thesis attempts to analyze the novel by applying theories of ecocriticism.Anthropocentrism, rationalized by logocentrism, has been regarded as the root causeof all forms of oppression. Based on the close reading of the novel, the author of thisthesis tries to deconstruct anthropocentrism from the perspective of environmentalethics and land ethic.Supplied with the ideas of ecofeminism and postcolonical ecocriticism, thisthesis further analyzes sexual and racial oppressions, highlighting male’s dominationover women and imperialist domination over the colonized. This thesis is an attemptto better understand Kingsolver’s ecological idea in this novel. It also aims to giveprominence to the harmonious relationship between men and women, man and nature,the colonized and the colonist, when global environmental crisis, economicglobalization and cultural exchanges are widely discussed in recent years.

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