A Decaying Oikos: A Unified Ecological Tradition In Faulkner And McCarthy

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Karle R. Stinehour (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Zackary Vernon

Abstract: This essay adopts an ecocritical lens to explore the major similarities in ecology in the works of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. Much of the scholarship involving both of these authors either compares them in regard to their philosophical structures or their Southern Gothic themes, or examines the ecology of each author individually. However, both Faulkner and McCarthy address environmental issues concerning landowning, anthropocentrism, and imbalance in the relationship between humans and the land. Each author also depicts what human society looks like when the Oikos—the Greek root word of ecology, literally meaning household, but on a larger scale, habitat or environment—disintegrates. In Faulkner’s text Go Down, Moses, and in McCarthy’s works Child of God and Suttree, the decaying moral quality of human society mirrors the destruction of the environment. The findings of this essay conclude that Faulkner and McCarthy’s ecologies match in ways too similar to consider them members of entirely separate ecological traditions in southern literature. Based on this conclusion, when employing an ecocritical theoretical framework, a comparative approach to Faulkner’s literature and McCarthy’s southern works effectively addresses the environmental and socioeconomic concerns of the American South.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Stinehour, K. (2017). "A Decaying Oikos: A Unified Ecological Tradition In Faulkner And McCarthy." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Ecocriticism, Faulkner and McCarthy, Oikos, Ecology, Communal Health

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