Consciousness-Raising in Amitav Ghosh’s Ecocritical Novel The Hungry Tide
Tej N Dhar
Abstract: Ecocriticism, which studies the relationship between literature and the physical environment, has already permeated several other fields of literary study to create combinations like ecofeminism and ecopostcolonialism. As a novelist, Amitav Ghosh does not deal with ecological concerns with the declared open intent of novelists like Barbara Kingsolver. Most critics of Ghosh consider The Hungry Tide a novel about borders, refugees, history, and language. Some, though, have discussed it as an ecopostcolonial novel. The contention of this essay is that the twin narratives of the novel provide enough evidence of its engagement with ecocritical concerns. Piya, who dominates its main narrative, is a professional cetologist and a confirmed environmentalist whose actions and thinking have a bearing on ecological issues. The second narrative, though ostensibly about the refugees of the subaltern variety, is deeply engaged with the politics of human-animal relationships. So both narratives have a significant ecocritical component, which is meant to raise the consciousness of the readers.
Keywords: Ecology, Ecocriticism, Environmentalism, Consciousness-raising, Human-animal Relationships
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Published in September 2020