UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pastoral, satire, and ecology in the modern memorial park : Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One and Forest Lawn Ohman, Carmel


This thesis studies pastoral, satire, and ecology in Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One (1948) and in the site that it satirizes: Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Forest Lawn, which Hubert Eaton founded in 1917 and Waugh visited in 1947, self-mythologizes as a pastoral garden. Its foundational myth promises that, “Filled With Towering Trees, Sweeping Lawns, Splashing Fountains, Singing Birds, Beautiful Statuary, [and] Cheerful Flowers,” Forest Lawn will be “As Unlike Other Cemeteries As Sunshine Is To Darkness, As Eternal Life Is Unlike Death.” This thesis uses insights gained from Waugh’s satire of Forest Lawn to show that the myth of the pastoral garden contributes significantly to ecological damage in the Los Angeles region and enables that damage’s subsequent forgetting. Through an ironic attention to pastoral representation, The Loved One exposes the mechanisms of environmental obfuscation and despoliation in Forest Lawn’s doctrine and environmental history. Forest Lawn’s relationship to natural resources emerges, in the light of Waugh’s satire, as ironic, exploitative, and deeply unstable. Ultimately, this thesis represents a step towards illustrating the usefulness of satire for ecocriticism; despite ecocriticism’s resistance to both studying satire and using its methods in environmental discourse, the satiric mode can productively expose and destabilize environmentally-dubious representational traditions.

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