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Environment and Fiction

Critical Readings

Edited By Özden Sözalan and Inci Bilgin Tekin

The essays in this volume engage with questions concerning the relationships between fictional texts and environmental issues in their various articulations, and offer critical readings that display the theoretical diversity in the current reconsiderations of the place of human in relation to nature and the environment. Written by scholars working in separate yet closely related disciplines in the field of humanities, the essays present analyses of literary and cultural texts, performed with the critical tools provided by studies in ecology, ecofeminism, urban studies, posthumanism and animal studies as well as genre-specific approaches.

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The Cat, the Cock, the Maid and Zeberjet: The Animals of Motherland Hotel (Ayşe Beyza Artukarslan)

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Ayşe Beyza Artukarslan

“Soiling yourself was beyond your control.” (2017, p. 42)1

Motherland Hotel, narrating the hotel clerk Zeberjet’s last days is one of the most influential novels of modern Turkish literature of the 20th century. The unfortunate tale of Zeberjet begins and ends in the hotel he works as his father did before him. The novel begins three days after a mysterious customer’s – “the woman off the delayed train from Ankara” (2017, p. 9) – departure after spending a night in the hotel. The woman has such an impact on Zeberjet that on the hope of her return Zeberjet leaves the hotel next day, buys new clothes for himself and has his moustache shaved. When he gives up on that hope, he ends up killing the maid and the cat of the hotel then himself in the same room he was born in thirty-three years ago. The novel invites many-folded readings of the place, psychoanalysis and feminist studies. However, I intend to discover the animality of Zeberjet along with the other animals, both human like the maid of the hotel, and nonhuman like the black cat of the hotel and gamecocks, in the novel. Read in this way, Motherland Hotel introduces us to ourselves as the subject of the ecological crisis in the world. It is undeniable that the current environmental problems has only one subject, humans. Humanity is like a virus systematically killing its host at all costs, which I believe stems from...

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