UBC Theses and Dissertations
Dousing the flame : an ecocritical examination of English-Canadian love stories Kuchta, Carolye
This thesis is written in three segments: a novel excerpt, an introduction to the genre of English- Canadian love stories; and a critical reflection on the creative process. The introduction to the genre is written in the style of a book introduction and is intended for a general audience. My ecocritical examination of love stories in English-Canadian fiction concludes that these stories tend to be banal subplots that are nonetheless deeply engaged with nature. In this thesis, “love” always refers to the intimate love shared between two lovers or would-be lovers, be they married or unmarried, gay or straight, very young or elderly. Western culture often posits marriage as the pinnacle of accomplished intimate love, though the books researched for this project profoundly object to this viewpoint. Furthermore, the tendency toward scant, emotionally-impotent, and distinctly un-sexy depictions of love doesn’t register indifference; it registers disillusionment. I assert that a meaningful, distinct, and supportive correlation exists between love stories and nature-human stories in these texts. Where more nature is present, more love is present and vice versa. Where nature is less visible, love is less visible and vice versa. I use the term “ecology of love” to address these instrinsic links—the in between—between humans and nature. The first section of the thesis explores this phenomenon through the story and characters of an original novel excerpt. The second section discusses the reasons for banality, which involve social ennui and disillusionment, geographic obstacles, moral propriety, and the unique conditions that arise in a nation of immigrants.
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