Spiralist Interconnection and Environmental Consciousness in Caribbean Literature
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This dissertation addresses the politics of interrelation between living beings and the natural world within Caribbean literature, and the underlying dangers inherent in modes of existence that deny such interrelation. Spiralism is a chaotic and pluralist literary movement emerging from Haiti in the 1960s, and this project features René Philoctète’s Spiralist novel Le Peuple des terres mêlées (1989) as its literary center, joined with two other Caribbean novels: Jacques Roumain’s Gouverneurs de la rosée (1944), and Mayra Montero’s Tú, la oscuridad (1995). In my comparative reading of these novels, I argue that their representations of environmental consciousness, social collaboration, and all-inclusive modes of interacting with the natural world provide models of co-existence in the context of the many socio-environmental injustices that threaten the continuation of many life forms on Earth, including humans. These novels evoke empathy and imagination, and add vital perspectives to the understudied field of environmentally conscious literature. Each of these three novels emotionally engages and reconnects humans as members of ecosystems – a move often lacking in the objective presentation of environmental studies. Given that the Earth is our only home, the continued ecological devastation caused by the human species increasingly deserves our full attention. I argue that the all-inclusive Spiralist imaginary and the related literatures are apt ideological tools to help address the cognitive dissonance currently preventing sufficient social change.