Margaret Atwood: A Sound Ecologist


  • Dr. Ratnesh Baranwal Assistant Professor in English, K.N.I.P.S.S. Sultanpur, U.P., India



Ecology, nature, environment, wilderness, post-colonial


This paper is an attempt to explore the ecological issues in Margaret Atwood’s novels. She happens to raise her voices against the demolition of the forests, advocating very strongly to pay attention to ecological principles for the preservation of the environment for the future generation. She tends to express her deep sense of anxiety over the ecological issues as depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and again in the stories and fables of Wilderness Tips (1991) and Good Bones (1992). Her novel – Surfacing (1972) begins and ends with the forest starting like a detective story. Her most significant search-operation begins when she happens to dive into the lake, looking for the Indian rock paintings recorded in her father’s drawings in chapter 17 of the novel. Environment or wilderness strongly figures out in her fabric of Canadian identity. It has multiple functions : as a marker of geological location, as a spatial metaphor and as a popular cultural myth of Canada. Geographically, it is defined as ‘wild uncultivated land’. She rediscovers the White English – Canadian construction of identity, charting a distinctive New World positioning in relation to history, geography and culture suggestive of continuity between immigration narratives and a contemporary awareness of psychic location. Environment holds a very significant place in her portrayal of Canadian identity. She personally holds a bitter experience of Colonialism and its outcome on Canada and Canadians in the post-colonial era. Her fiction comprises of several post-colonial themes such as survival, hybridization, isolation, hegemony, displacement, loss of identity, banishment, multiculturalism, homelessness, colonization of the mind and of the natural world. Thus this paper seeks to analyze the different shades of ecology and ecocriticism exploring the organic unity between the man and the environment. This theory has gained a great importance since last few years. The ecological balance between the human and environment is shattered. People have deviated from their moral duties towards nature. Thus as a sound observer of ecology, she finds out the misuse and colonization of the natural world.


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Atwood, Margaret, ‘Surfacing (Virago: London, 1979)

Ashcraft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin: The Empire Writes Back (London: Routledge, 1989)

Greg, Garrard, Ecocriticism, London/ New York: Routledge, 2007, print

Ingersol, Earl, G, ed. Margaret Atwood: Conversations (London: Virago, 1992)




How to Cite

Baranwal, D. R. . (2020). Margaret Atwood: A Sound Ecologist. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 8(9), 74–83.