A Postcolonial-Ecocritical Perspective on Modern American Literature

Jihan Zakarriya


This paper provides a postcolonial ecocritical perspective on modern American novel. It relates and examines aspects of ecological and human violence in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian: The Evening Redness in the West (1985) and Anne Pancake’s Strange as This Weather Has Been (2007). The paper argues that while McCarthy represents examples of ethnic and racial violence and Pancake focuses on class violence, the two novelists articulate a particular awareness of the interconnections between economic and political hierarchy and different forms of ecological and human violence within different American contexts. The two novels, then, denounce the deterministic, colonial constructions of economy, power and knowledge in modern societies on the one side and the validation of antagonism and violence against otherness and difference on the other. The paper argues further that colonizing countries as well as colonized countries still suffer, at different levels, the discrepancies and contradictions within colonial culture and politics. The two novels expose the limitations of white Americans’ freedom, and equality within colonial and national frameworks. This paper specifically examines the psychological-mental challenges and changes of the fifteen-years-old female teenager, Bant in Strange as This Weather Has Been and the male teenager, the kid, in Blood Meridian as exemplifying how specific individuals and groups through their ecological awareness try to deconstruct such deterministic, colonial constructions of identity and violence.


Keywords: Violence; identity; difference; postcolonial ecocriticism

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