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The theme of ecocriticism in The Rabbits by Shaun Tan and John Marsden

Discuss About The Practice Of Ideological Apparatuses In Lois.

The Rabbits by Shaun Tan and John Marsden has environmentalism as the theme and the environmental consequences that are brought about on account of the advancements made in the field of technology. The Rabbits act as colonizers and they enter within Australia and start shaping it so that it can fit their image. Nature is destroyed and houses are built on accounting of the invasion by the Rabbits. In this essay, it is being stated that ecocriticism is evident in “The Rabbits” and how the destruction of the natural environment can prove to be disastrous for the environment.

The marsupials state during narration that the rabbits were responsible for eating the grass and chopping down the trees. This helps in highlighting the negative effect brought about on the environment on account of colonization (Huggan & Tiffin, 2015).  The rabbits start changing the landscape by the building of houses and cutting down trees. Marsupials described the land and called it “bare and brown”. The damage wrought on Australia was immense and helps in highlighting the consequences in relation to colonization. Modern living can have a detrimental impact on the environment. The native culture used to care about the environment and it was a kind of value that was not prioritized by the Western society (Iovino & Oppermann, 2014).  The Rabbits has brought to limelight the damage that was caused by constructing the modern landscapes and how the introduction of non-native animals can be hazardous for an area.

Ecocriticism helps in analysing the texts that can help in setting forward environmental concerns and it helps in examining the different ways by taking recourse to which literature evaluates aspects of nature. Economics helps in pointing forward the relationship that exists between literature and physical environment (Garrard, 2016).  Ecocriticism is more than that of study of nature but it helps in bringing about change by the analysis of thematic, social, and ideological aspects of the environment. The Rabbits in the text stand for the British people who have colonized Australia and the brown marsupials are indicative of the native people who live there. The concept of Ecocriticism has been suggested in The Rabbits and it talks about the disrespect in relation to native culture. The Rabbits are involved in disrespecting the marsupials and they set forward a lot of environmental havoc. The settlers colonizing the country act in an insensitive manner and they act in a cruel manner with that of the native people. The rabbits have been shown to build houses that heralded the beginning of a modern city (Cohen & Duckert, 2015).  The buildings have been drawn in a stylized manner that shows that the modern buildings are not part of that of nature. The Western culture thinks a lot about things that are perfect along with being systematic. The vying for perfection destroyed the natural elements that were in the civilization.

Analysis of the negative effects of colonization on the environment

There is an image in the text book “The Rabbits” that shows the rabbits building the houses that are depicted having wheels along with legs. The text shows the lizards being killed by the rabbits and some have been shown to be eaten by the rat. These lizards help in portraying the wildlife of that of Australia that is being destroyed on account of the invasion by the rabbits. The natural habitat of Australia being destroyed points forward to the theme of eco criticism that have been put forward by this text. The text book has helped in highlighting how the changes brought about by the advent of modern civilization proves to be disastrous for that of nature (Tsai & Zhou, 2015).  The idiom “might=right” has been often used in the textbook that helps in bringing out the fact how the strength of a nation proves to be crucial in relation to colonization. The British used their might in order to overthrow Native Australians instead of peaceful negotiation with them. Power can help an individual in subduing other nations and they have an opinion that native culture is vulgar and uncivilized. The ecocritics has associated wilderness to be associated with natural beauty and how the onset of modern civilization can serve to destroy the natural principles.

Identity is indicative of the qualities along with beliefs that make up an individual or that of a social group. The identity of an individual can be defined as totality pertaining to one’s self-construal and it helps in analysing how one is construed in the present. This essay talks about the question of identity pertaining to the three books of Lois Lowry- The Giver, Gathering Blue and The Messenger. In this essay, I argue how the identity of an individual are often threatened by the forces prevailing in the society.


The novel “The Giver” by Luis Lowry portrays a dystopian world where the characters are stripped of that of memory which in a way takes away the identity of an individual. Jonas has got certain attributes that is not possessed by other people and this helps him in setting him apart from the other characters and creates a separate identity for him. Jonas learns about the two feelings- happiness and love in the beginning (Marcia, 2017).  He starts to feel for a girl called Fiona and this suggests how the different circumstances can relegate a separate identity to an individual. The following lines highlight the importance of memory in “The Giver” :

The importance of caring for the environment in native culture

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

The character Kira in Gathering Blue has got a deformed leg and the only option for her survival within the society is by exerting her identity. The ability of embroidery that Kira was endowed with helped her in getting a prominent position in the society. Her mother tried to embolden her by saying:

“Take pride in your pain," her mother had always told her. "You are stronger than those who have none.” 

 She was provided with the task of repairing the robe of the Singer. Kira wants to bring improvements to the society in which she lives in. Matt returns with a man who is blind from that of distant Village of Healing. He turns out to be the father of Kira and his identity of being the Council of the Guardians earned the wrath of other hunters who were jealous of his potential. In the end of the book, Kira is told by Matt that since she is impaired hence she would not be given a rightful position in the society (Ridley, 2015).

  The Messenger has talked about the character of Matty who had come to the village because he was looking for blue dye that can act as a gift for Kira. He emerged to become the messenger of the Village on account of the fact that he could enter the forest unharmed. This has been brought out with the help of the following lines from The Messenger:

 The village is a foreboding realm and the people who enters the forest have chances of being killed. The people in the village undergoes changes from being compassionate to becoming one who is always angry. The Villages decide to close the borders and they wanted to stop the entry of the displaced people. The village was thus acting as a barrier for these people that stopped them from exerting their individuality (Rajchman, 2014).  Matty was sent to travel in the forest so that he could retrieve Kira. The journey becomes perilous on account of the fact that the Forest was trying to entangle Kira along with Matty. Kira has ability of weaving prophecy like patterns and she used her gift so that she could contact the Leader. Matty possessed the gift but he did not understand it completely. This helps in pointing forward to the idea that being aware of the actual identity of an individual can help in the restoration of important aspects within the society. Jonas acts as the leader of the village and the gift that he had in relation to future sight helped in creating a distinct personality for the person.

References:

Cohen, J. J., & Duckert, L. (2015). Elemental ecocriticism: Thinking with earth, Business-law, water, and fire. University of Minnesota Press.

Garrard, G. (Ed.). (2016). Teaching ecocriticism and green cultural studies. Springer.

Huggan, G., & Tiffin, H. (2015). Postcolonial ecocriticism: Literature, animals, environment. Routledge.

Iovino, S., & Oppermann, S. (Eds.). (2014). Material ecocriticism (pp. 1-408). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Lowry, L. (2006). Gathering blue. Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

Marcia, J. E. (2017). Ego-Identity Status: Relationship to Change in Self-Esteem. Social Encounters: Contributions to Social Interaction, 340.

O’SullivanJi, S. (2005). Depictions of evil in Lois Lowry’s Messenger. Call for Manuscripts 4 Diane Tuccillo In Memory of James Cook 5 Toby Emert Zigzag to ‘Zines, A Conversation with Ellen Wittlinger 6 Mary Arnold Get Real!@ Your Library—Teen Read Week 2005 14.

Rajchman, J. (2014). The identity in question. Routledge.

Ridley, S. (2015). A question of identity: Mirrors as a tool for self-reflection. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 10(2), 130-148.

Setyorini, A., & Idris, S. (2017). The Practice of Ideological State Apparatuses in Lois Lowry’s The Giver. NOBEL: Journal of Literature and Language Teaching, 8(2), 83-93.

Tsai, S. F., & Zhou, X. K. (2015). Study on ICT Industrial Integration in New Industrial Revolution: A Survey of Chinese Mainland and Taiwan. International Journal of Business and Management, 11(1), 95.

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