Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/170773
Title: SEEING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: RETHINKING ARBOREAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE ANTHROPOCENE
Authors: NG WAN JEE
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2020
Citation: NG WAN JEE (2020-04-13). SEEING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: RETHINKING ARBOREAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE ANTHROPOCENE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In the current age of the Anthropocene, the literary field of ecocriticism continues to carry relevant significance in challenging the hegemonic paradigms of anthropocentricism. However, a survey of the field reveals a gap where the representation of trees and their relationships with humans have not been extensively explored. Hence, in my reading of Powers’ The Overstory and Burke’s Semiosis, two contemporary American novelists, I attempt to underline a way of rethinking trees and arboreal relationships that pivots on the notion of interconnectedness, which ultimately departs from anthropocentric understanding and returns to an ecofeminist philosophy of egalitarianism. My thesis builds on Val Plumwood’s ‘political solidarity’, the idea of standing with the other in their otherness, and compares the novels’ presentation and treatment of human relationships with trees. Additionally, Mikhail Bakhtin’s chronotopes will also be used to analyse the formal constituents of the novel ­— narrative structure, characterization, narrative voice and metaphors — through the elements of time and space, locating at the intersection a praxis undergirded by interconnectedness. Chapter 1 establishes a necessity for interconnectedness between the human and nonhuman world by delineating the problematic binaristic oppositions between them and foregrounding the notion of anthropocentrism, which is the basis for narrative conflict in both novels. After establishing the need for a collaborative interrelatedness, Chapter 2 examines the authors’ attempts to reconcile humans and trees through a chronotopic analyses of the arboreal figures, highlighting their unique sense of selfhood and subjectivity. Subsequently, Chapter 3 considers the transformative effects of an intertwining network between humans and trees, by exploring the resulting changes that the (human and nonhuman) characters have undergone. In developing this argument, I also surface the importance of narrative — in particular, through the novelistic form — in bringing forth a constant dialogue on environmental issues, allowing for an emergent of a more eco-sensitive reader.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/170773
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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