Environmental Paradigm Shifts: Unnatural Disasters and Ethical Solutions

Burcu Kayisci


This essay discusses the significance of Atwood’s two cautionary speculative fiction novels Oryx and Crake (2003), and The Year of the Flood (2009), within the framework of eco-politically engaged apocalyptic writing. Underlining the relevance of the comic perspective to ecological concerns, this paper proposes a new interpretation of the novels that will relate the comic mode to their apocalyptic content. This essay argues that the discourse of comic apocalypse has potential to address environmental issues directly and efficiently, insofar as it helps to build a cognitive bridge between imagining the future in the form of an imminent—and yet, presumably, improbable—catastrophe, and experiencing the present with a sense of ethical responsibility towards the world, in such a way as to prevent the catastrophe.                                         



Ecocriticism; cultural ecology; environmental literary criticism; apocalyptic writing; utopia; dystopia; ecotopia; environmental justice

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