The Ecological Thought of J. M. Coetzee: The Case of Life and Times of Michael K

Shadi Neimneh, Fatima Muhaidat

Abstract


This paper argues that J. M. Coetzee’s 1983 novel Life and Times of Michael K is informed by a rich and early ecological vision that has not been adequately considered so far. It argues that Coetzee demonstrates an interest in all living organisms and pays attention to their environment and interaction. It is argued that Coetzee’s ethicopolitical vision is not limited to humans and that minor forms of life like plants and animals are as significant as human life on earth. The result is that the “non-human other” is never ignored in Coetzee, which testifies to the importance of a broad philosophical vision that acknowledges rather than subsumes difference. This paper, hence, makes a connection between Coetzee’s ecological vision and his ethicopolitical attention to otherness. The result is what we can call Coetzee’s “ecological postcolonialism.” In addition, my argument explores and defends an often underplayed theme in Coetzee’s fiction, namely that of gardening. While some recent Coetzee scholarship has acknowledged the significant presence of animals in his fiction, that of vegetation remains by far underplayed. In Coetzee’s vision, plants and landscapes are unduly ignored and exploited in times of political strife, which accounts for Coetzee’s ecocritical—and by implication political—relevance. In other words, Coetzee’s ecological vision—I seek to prove—is still richly political as an inveigh against various forms of injustice, including but not limited to apartheid.

Key words: Coetzee; Fiction; Ecology; Life and Times of Michael K; Postcolonialism; Ethics; Politics; Ecocriticism


Keywords


Coetzee; Fiction; Ecology; Life and Times of Michael K; Postcolonialism; Ethics; Politics; Ecocriticism



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.sll.1923156320120401.1700

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Reminder

How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.


We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; sll@cscanada.net; sll@cscanada.org

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Address: 730, 77e AV, Laval, Quebec, H7V 4A8, Canada

Telephone: 1-514-558 6138
Http://www.cscanada.net
Http://www.cscanada.org
E-mail: office@cscanada.net; office@cscanada.org; caooc@hotmail.com