Life in the Ruins: Post-Apocalyptic Narratives of Survival
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This project argues that climate fiction plays an important role in resisting defeatist attitudes to global warming and in teaching how to live in an Anthropocene era. Specifically, the thesis investigates how diverse climate fiction novels, Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People and Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, model methods of resistance and survival in an Anthropocene era of ecological crisis. Framed by ecofeminist and environmental humanities theory, the central argument of this thesis is that the apocalyptic plot in Sinha and Butler’s texts exposes and challenges the capitalist structures of violence and exploitation that produce catastrophes in the novels. As such, it functions as a catalyst for change and explores new ways of creating a sustainable future. The thesis is divided into three chapters. “Fiction and Theories of the Anthropocene” provides an overview of different understandings of the Anthropocene as a narrative concept; “Whose Apocalypse?” offers an analysis of the competing framings of the apocalypse; and, finally, “Life in the Ruins” explores strategies of resistance offered by each novel.