Zoomorphism and Human Biology in Barbara Kingsolver’s "Prodigal Summer"
Keywords:Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer, zoomorphism, climate fiction, ecofeminism
This article explores the conceptual difficulties that arise when fiction explores humankind’s primordial ties to nature, specifically regarding gender representation. I examine how an emphasis on biology demonstrates humankind’s innate connection to nature, while simultaneously perpetuating a problematic, essentialist view of gender. Using Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer (2000) as a case study, I present two perspectives from which to interpret her ecofeminist approach. Firstly, I argue that Kingsolver employs zoomorphism as an effective strategy to override essentialist representations of sexuality. Secondly, I use Hans Gumbrecht’s theory of presence to contextualise the representation of biology and claim that Prodigal Summer attempts to dilute a much broader conceptual binary between humankind and nature.
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