Author Date

2021-02-01

Degree Name

BA

Department

Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature

College

Humanities

Defense Date

2021-02-26

Publication Date

2021-03-10

First Faculty Advisor

Christopher Oscarson

First Faculty Reader

George Handley

Honors Coordinator

Michael Call

Keywords

Ecology, Ecocriticism, Experimental Media, Formal Analysis

Abstract

This thesis responds to the claim that traditional literary forms and narrative structures have contributed to the global climate crisis by perpetuating anthropocentric viewpoints and reinforcing the modern fixation on progress in industrial cultures. Ecocritics argue that by creating an unrealistic separation between humans and their environment in their narratives, artists are allowing the ecologies and spaces which create a cohesive world to become a mere setting for the social or psychological human drama rather than serving as an integral part of the narrative. With these criticisms in mind, this thesis provides an analysis of three pieces of traditional and modern media—The Overstory (a novel), Still Life (a film), and The Witness (a video game)—in an attempt to find ways in which media, rather than perpetuating this sense of separation between the human and the natural world, can use new and experimental methods to encourage those engaging with the media to be mindful of the ways in which they are linked with those non-human entities which share their physical space. Of specific interest is the use of sensory language, spatial logic (directing the attention of the reader toward systems and connections in the larger spaces of the world rather than only focusing on the cause and effect in social aspects of narrative), non-linearity, and the blending of foreground and background within these works which bring space and ecology into focus alongside the typical human dramas of conflict and progress to emphasize the inseparable connection between the human and their environment.

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