The Power of Storytelling in Ecofeminist Change
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.
6. Magical Realism—“Defiant Magic" 151
aCHAPTER SIX Magical Realism “Defiant Magic” Perhaps as far as possible from the scientific enquiry evident in the memoirs included in the previous chapter, is magical realism, but it is, nonetheless, an effective way to disseminate ecofeminist ideals. Magical realism has become more and more difficult to define inclusively since, as Stephen M. Hart acknowledges, it has “crossed national, linguist, and genre boundaries,” (115), but a working definition viable for this study is literature that “portrays a world in which the everyday and supernatural coexist” (Hart 118). This use of the supernatural, of course, aligns easily with the spiritual side of ecofeminism, in which the acknowledgement of a collective soul—whether real or allegorical—has been very important to the movement. The idea of a goddess figure and the pagan origins of ecofeminism have been controversial at times, but spirituality is a significant aspect of ecofeminism. Believing that the earth and all its inhabitants have a spirit or a soul is monumental because it implies that the earth and everything on it is alive and therefore has a right to live. In the ecofeminist literature of the Americas, a mythology— Catholicism, Spiritualism, or other Christian belief systems—very often blends the normally accepted tenets of the religion with the native religions that were practiced by the populations long before missionaries arrived in the New World: “The Caribbean of the Black African slaves combined with the pre-Colombian natives and the Scheherazade’s Daughters 152 missionary-converted Catholics in Latin America” for example (Hart...
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