• Environmental Aesthetics, Ethics, and the Land-Community: An Ecocritical Reading of Flannery O’Connor’s “A View of the Woods”

      Atkins, Hunter; Katherine Reese Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Armstrong, Rhonda (2015-09-25)
      The human impact on the environment is more relevant than ever, but comparatively little attention is given to the way cultural media such as literature, film, and art have shaped our ideas about how we interact with the land and its inhabitants. Ecocriticism is literary theory that examines representations of the environment in order to better understand our attitudes toward the natural world. This presentation is an ecocritical analysis of the 1957 short story “A View of the Woods” by southern female author Flannery O’Connor. In “A View of the Woods,” O’Connor portrays a tension between the agrarian landscape and the changes brought about by economic progress and urbanization. Published in 1957, this story predates a great deal of American cultural media that would later address this same tension. O’Connor’s agrarian orientation gives her a uniquely advanced perspective for her time, and in this presentation, I examine the ways in which O’Connor’s narrative presages those later environmental theories and attitudes popularized by writers including Rachel Carson and Allen Carlson. In doing so, I argue that careful analysis of a literary narrative can help lead us to clearer understandings and articulations of our environmental values and attitudes. Begin Time: 07:35 End Time: 34:05