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Green Canada


Oriana Palusci

This book explores environmental issues in Canada employing an interdisciplinary approach. It adopts several reading frameworks, encompassing the fields of literature, ecocriticism, linguistics, tourism, social sciences, architecture and geography. It investigates the keyword ‘green’ from a multiplicity of perspectives, including the voice of Cree writer Louise B. Halfe/Sky Dancer. Thus, green should be seen as one of the main symbolic colours which define contemporary Canadian identity.

Its six sections address intertwined issues such as the preservation and annihilation of the green landscape, the re-rooting of indigenous worldviews, the impact of Italian rural traditions in urban Canada, the influence of contemporary literary landscapes, the language of green in tourism and linguistics. At the end of the volume, Margaret Atwood’s recent writings are considered as playing a crucial role in the new consciousness of green Canada.

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Introduction. Shades of Green: Exploring Environmental Issues in Canada


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Shades of Green: Exploring Environmental Issues in Canada


“It’s not a matter of one tree after another, it’s all the trees together, aiding and abetting each other and weaving into one thing. A transformation, behind your back” (Munro 2009: 245). This is what Roy, the protagonist of Alice Munro’s short story “Wood”, realises after crawling in the bush on hands and knees like an animal towards his truck because he has fallen abruptly and sprained his ankle. In “Wood”, first published in 1980 and revised in 2009, the male protagonist, “an upholsterer and refinisher of furniture” turned into a semi-legal woodcutter, is obsessed with wood. However, his keen knowledge of the names of trees and of their intrinsic features has not resulted in the recognition of trees as a living entity. Roy walks self-confidently across the woods with his axe and chain-saw without perceiving any danger as he believes that nature is predictable and can be easily subdued. His failure proves him wrong. Nobody should give the Canadian bush for granted. “Wood” is an apt example of the recent turn in the Canadian literary imagination as it reveals the ever-growing environmental awareness and ecological involvement, but also the changing Canadian perception of the representation of the complex and intriguing relation between the human and the natural world.

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