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Scheherazade’s Daughters

The Power of Storytelling in Ecofeminist Change

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Barbara Bennett

Scheherazade, the storyteller of 1001 Arabian Nights, recounts stories literally to save her people, and in Scheherazade’s Daughters, Barbara Bennett explores how contemporary female authors attempt to save their own world by telling compelling stories that disseminate ideas of justice and equality for all living things, a philosophy called ecofeminism. Bennett examines how ecofeminism works in works by Margaret Atwood ( Surfacing, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Oryx & Crake), Barbara Kingsolver ( Animal Dreams, The Poisonwood Bible, and Prodigal Summer), and Ruth Ozeki ( My Year of Meats and All over Creation).
Bennett also analyzes ecofeminism in autobiography and memoir in Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge, Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, and Sandra Steingraber’s Living Downstream. Lastly through Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits, Ana Castillo’s So Far from God, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Bennett investigates how magical realism can spread the positive ideas of ecofeminism.
This groundbreaking book dissects the power of literature to convert minds and hearts in a direction that has the potential, like Scheherazade’s stories, to change our world for the better.

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CONTENTS

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1. The Power of Storytelling..................................................................... 1 2. Margaret Atwood—“Up Through a Roaring and Confusion” ..... 17 Surfacing ................................................................................................ 18 The Handmaid’s Tale ............................................................................. 34 Oryx and Crake ...................................................................................... 43 3. Barbara Kingsolver—“The Faultiest of Human Presumptions” .. 55 Animal Dreams ...................................................................................... 58 The Poisonwood Bible............................................................................. 68 Prodigal Summer ................................................................................... 82 4. Ruth Ozeki—“Truths That Alter Outcomes” .................................. 93 My Year of Meats ................................................................................... 94 All Over Creation................................................................................. 105 5. Memoir and Autobiography—“Grace Among Spiders” ............. 115 Refuge: A Unnatural History of Family and Place.............................. 116 Ecology of a Cracker Childhood............................................................ 130 Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment............................................................................ 140 Scheherazade’s Daughters viii 6. Magical Realism—“Defiant Magic”................................................ 151 The House of the Spirits ....................................................................... 153 So Far From God .................................................................................. 162 Beloved.................................................................................................. 172 Conclusion ................................................................................................ 183 Works Cited .............................................................................................. 187 Index .......................................................................................................... 191

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