现在的位置: 首页 > 论文范文 > 英语论文 > 正文

Ecofeminist Perspective on

2014年10月24日 英语论文 ⁄ 共 75650字 ⁄ 字号 暂无评论 ⁄ 阅读 3,463 views 次

Chapter One Introduction
   Ian Russell McEwan (1948— ) was born on June 21, 1948 in Aldershot, England, a military family. He is not only one of the most famous writers since 1970s but also a screenwriter, and was admired as “the most technically accomplished of all modern British writer”. Ian McEwan studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a degree of English literature in 1970. At university he developed literary ambitions and wrote plays, adapted a Thomas Mann’s shot story for television. Then received his M.A. degree in English literature at the University of East Anglia. In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.
   Ian McEwan is a prolific writer. His works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. Since 1975 he published two volumes of short stories, First Love, Last Rites(1975) and In between the Sheets(1978) and seven novels——The Cement Garden(1978), The Comfort of Strangers(1981), The Child in Time(1987), The Innocent(1989), Black Dog(1992), Enduring Love(1997), Amsterdam(1998) and a novel for children, The Daydreamer(1995). First Love, Last Rites won the Somerset Maugham Award. The Comfort of Strangers was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1981. The Child in Time, a turning point in McEwan’s writing career, won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1987. Black Dog was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1993, and Amsterdam won the Booker Prize in 1998. Moreover, Amsterdam awarded the WH Smith Literary Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award and Los Angeles Times Prize for fiction in 2003, and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel of 2004. In 2006, he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Saturday. Ian McEwan has been named the Reader’s Digest Author of the Year for 2008, the 2010 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, and in 2011 he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize.
   In accordance with the subject matters, McEwan’s writings have been divied into two periods. Works during 1974 to 1981 were focus on violence, incest, death and transvestitism, from that moment on earned him “Ian Macabre”(Mellors, 1975: 111). Kiernan Ryan, the author of Ian McEwan(Ryan, 1994), summarizes the secret of McEwan’s appeal lay in his stylish morbidity, in the elegant detachment with which he chronicled acts of sexual abuse, sadistic torment and pure insanity. After the publication of The Child in Time, McEwan’s writing themes and style have undergone a great change, many famous novels were published. Most critical responses to The Child in Time note the way in which McEwan has broadened his concerns from the hermetically and luridly psychopathological world of the early fiction to achieve a new maturity in his examination of social issues and his endorsement of the possibilities of redemption.
1.1 Introduction to the novels
   Ian McEwan is regarded as the “most admired English writer of his generation”. His early novels and short stories are usually labeled as “art of unease” or “literature of shock”. Few critics even said that as McEwan’s early works’ morbid subject matters, it is not worthy to study them. In late 1980s, McEwan’s writing subjects have changed from dark and macabre themes to a large sphere of social and political issues. No matter in which writing period, McEwan expresses his worry about human beings’ imbalanced society and environment in many of his novels so as to alert people to pay attention to the relationship between human and nature.
   McEwan’s first novel The Cement Garden published in 1978 was considered shocking and morbid, it is a representative of “literature of shock”. It apparently is a novel about children. But children in this novel are totally different from any other novels’ characters, such as David Copperfield(1850) or Lord of the Flies(1954). The Cement Garden shows a striking picture of four children escape from authority, traditional moral and social standards after their parents’ death, then they slide into anarchy and behave immorally. Meanwhile, this novel is not only talks about children’s indifference to traditional social morality, but also expresses the disruption of ecological balance. Critics have discussed The Cement Garden from many perspectives since it published. They tend to view The Cement Garden with a mixture of fascination and slight horror. Paul Abelman in the Spectator describes this novel as “just about perfect”, and Blake Morrison in the Times Literary Supplement suggests that “it should consolidate Ian McEwan’s reputation as one of the best young writers in Britain today”.
   Ian McEwan is declared as the “the most controversial writers over the past 25 years” because of he is interested in writing dark themes and the edge of human experiences. The Child in Time is one of his landmark works, it marked McEwan’s increasingly mature writing skills. After its publication, the reception of The Child in Time has been quite mixed. Some critics have praised it highly. Such as Martin in the Spectator said it is “a serious novel which has many levels of intention, and provides many sources of pleasure” and “McEwan’s best yet”. But there was opposition however, some scholars like Annan in the New York Review of Books suggested that “The Child in Time is rather a silly novel”. The Child in Time is a much more complex story than McEwan’s earlier novels. On the surface, it is the story of a best-selling author of novels for children, Stephen Lewis, the main character, try to recover from the loss of his daughter and retrieve his marriage. In fact, it is the story about time, dystopia and the way out. Meanwhile, McEwan shows his ecofeminist thought, only “womanly times” can change patriarchy’s control of environment and women.
   McEwan’s latest work Solar, published in 2010, it demonstrates the writer’s consideration over ecological and feminie crisis and indicates that to respect nature and female and keep spiritual harmony is the right way to get out of corner. It was awarded the British literary award for comic writing, Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize in 2010. This novel based on the background of March 2005, McEwan’s trip with other twenty arts, scientists and journalists. This group of people gathered aboard a ship locked in the Arctic ice for the climate change. The trip plays a crucial role in terms of McEwan’s reconsidering of environmentalism. Solar is a satire novel about climate change in short. Michael Beard, an ignoble and all-too-human protagonist. He is a Nobel-winning physicist whose family life and career are both chaotic. In order to get rid of family problems and gain more fame, he copies his student’s academic achievement. With the application of “black humor” displays the increasing serious ecological problems and relations between the sexes.
   In the thesis, The Cement Garden, The Child in Time and Solar will be chosen for researching. In The Cement Garden, steel skyscrapers are seen as symbolism of modernity, also called the cement age. The protagonist Jack’s family is separated from nature by steel and cement, Jack’s father in the cement age changes and destroys natural environment casually as he like, Jack father’s ecological unconsciousness is explored. Although female in this novel have the same fate as nature, after the death of Jack’s father, feminine consciousness is awaking. McEwan’s ecofeminist thought was shown in his early writings, however, in The Child in Time, the transitional work, the redemptive and virtues powers of femininity were expressed objectively and directly. In this novel, McEwan attacks Thatcherism, the government’s economic policies which destroy the environment of economic development, some damage is irreparable. On the other hand, the image of new women come from two problem families vividly in this writing. Julie, a wise woman, Stephen’s wife, she can dare to face the reality of their five-year-old daughter’s disappearance then help herself out of difficulty. In reverse, as a spokesman for the patriarchal society, master of the family, Stephen could not even go out of the pain of missing daughter, finally his family breakdown. Charles Darke, Stephen’s friend, a politician, at the height of his career he left the comfortable government job, sold their mansion in the city center, then moved to the forest and lived happily ever after. A new physicist Thelma, politician Charles’ wife, after back to the forest, she takes care of him like his mother. In addition, she helps Stephen out of the pain of losing daughter. The superiority of new women in this novel was shown completely. McEwan’s ecofeminist thought also reflected in his latest novel Solar, it is obviously seen from the title that this novel talks about ecological problem again. Greg Garrard says that “in the several novels following The Child in Time, environmental problems appear as another point of concern”. In Solar, McEwan creates a Nobel Prize winner, Michael Beard, in the eyes of the public, Beard is supposed to be a model for everybody especially for scientists the. But in fact, Beard is an egoist. McEwan describes Beard as a hateful liar and a cheating thief. He always giving lectures about how to saving energy and protecting the earth in order to get more money. With the purpose of improving his reputation, Beard stolen his student’s research result. Beard is a gluttonous, lascivious and irresponsible person with all bad habits during daily life. It seems ironic that Beard, a social elite who is full of human beings’ shortcomings, takes up the important responsibility of saving the earth. In McEwan’s opinion, he identifies the origin of environmental crisis in the interaction of contingent historical circumstances and the universal psychological tendencies known, for convenience, as “human nature”. These three novels were written in McEwan’s different writing periods, but their common criticism to patriarchal society and yearning for harmony happens to coincide with ecofeminist thought. It is worthy to analyze Ian McEwan, a male novelist’s ecofeminist thought. By analyzing the three novels from the perspective of ecofeminism, McEwan’s disgust for the patriarchal and human-centered society is explored.
1.2 Literature Review
   Many scholars and critics always have not liked McEwan’s novels, but McEwan still has always been taken seriously by them. Kiernan Ryan, Professor of English Language and Literature, summarizes “the received wisdom” about McEwan’s novels as they were: “McEwan started out the seventies as a writer obsessed with the perverse, the grotesque, the macabre. But towards the close of the decade his writing underwent a marked evolution as a result of his increasing involvement with feminism and the peace movement.”(Ryan, 1994: 34) Stories with black themes before are useful because they established McEwan as a young writer of some importance and he does not simply become a right-thinking, social prophet since mid-1980s. English scholarship systematic examination of McEwan’s works starting in the early 1990s. Ever since his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites published, it aroused much controversy, from that on, McEwan’s reputation keeps rising.
   Since the first full-length novel The Cement Garden published, critics tend to view it with a mixture of fascination and slight horror. It becomes one of the most controversial novels of the 20th-century. David Malcolm in Understanding Ian McEwan analyses McEwan’s writing style, black themes, and narrative techniques. Also talks about McEwan’s attitude to female, concern with science and moral standard.(Malcolm, 2002) About the themes, Peter Childs points The Cement Garden is a story about social conventions, cultural norms, and the divisions between the human and the alien, the natural and the artificial.(Childs, 2005: 123) Randall Stevenson thinks that the children in this novel show nearly no progress after their parents’ death and they do not get mature.(Stevenson, 1986) There is little research about it in our country. Zhang Helong discusses children’s sex psychology in Ian McEwan and His The Cement Garden and regards it as the genre of anti-growth novel.(Zhang, 2003) Shen Xiaohong’s doctoral dissertation Ethical Predicaments in Ian McEwan’s Major Novels bases on The Cement Garden, The Child in Time and Atonement three novels’ distinctive ethical predicament in order to reveal the continuity and development in McEwan’s treatment of ethical predicaments(Shen, 2010). Wang Limin’s “The Ethical Wasteland in The Cement Times: An Ethical Study on The Cement Garden” uses ethical approach to explore the ethical problems existing in the modern England.(Wang, 2008) Zhang Min does a close reading of The Cement Garden in “An Allegory of Modernity: Interpretation of Ian McEwan’s The Cement Garden” on the basis of allegory theory. A conclusion is drawn that The Cement Garden is not “a revolting book” as some critics claimed.(Zhang, 2008) As McEwan once said that he was influenced by Freud. Hu Yinan’s “Perverted Psyches and Tragic Growth of Children in The Cement Garden” discusses children’s tragic growth is the outcome of many factors and the adolescence problems in the novel are not just fictional.(Hu, 2010) Yue Maosheng’s “An Interpretation of Psychoanalysis of The Cement Garden” points The Cement Garden is not a morbid novel which does not have value but is under the Freud’s psychoanalysis instruction.(Yue, 2011)
   As McEwan is gradually become a member of the dominant trends in 1980s to 1990s fiction, The Child in Time in 1987 thus considered as “a turning point in McEwan’s career”.(Head, 2007) It has a much more complex story material than McEwan’s earlier novels. Ellen Pifer in Demon or Doll: Images of the Child in Contemporary Writing and Culture believes that what Stephen experiences is a way to maturity.(Pifer, 2000) Malcolm discusses The Child in Time from the point of time, change, dystopia and the way out.(Malcolm, 2002) In terms of time, Jack Slay’s “Vandalizing Time: Ian McEwan’s The Child in Time”(1994) describes the internal link between children and time.(Slay, 1994) Paul Edwards’ “Time, Romanticism, Modernism and Moderation in Ian McEwan’s The Child in Time” treats the novel as “literary critique of British social and political reality”.(Edwards, 1995: 41) In contrast to the abroad scholars, there is not much research about McEwan’s works until 1998 in China. Long Jiang published “The Child Within and Magic Time” to illuminate it is an important turning point in McEwan’s writing career. He also argues that time is the essence of life and people should find their inner child to “fend off the ugliness and alienation of the contemporary adult universe”.(Long, 2005: 70,76) “In Search of True Self” written by Zheng Caixia analysis The Child in Time from the point of psychological time and physical time.(Zheng, 2007) Xin Yingying’s “An Interpretation of the Two Protagonists’ Views on Time in The Child in Time” uses Henri Bergson’s theory of durée for the analysis of time in The Child in Time. It tries to illustrate the determinative influence of different senses of time on the formation of the two protagonists’ different personalities and courses of life.(Xin, 2009)
   Beginning with The Child in Time, McEwan has transformed to touch upon the present social and political issues. Solar has caught the attention of critics and scholars before it published. McEwan is reading his unfinished work Solar at the Hay Festival, says that he may have found a way around the formal obstacles to writing a novel about climate change. Greg Garrad predicted that if it is successful as a work of fiction, it may well provoke a fundamental shift in ecocritical assumptions.(Garrad, 2009) Clark Alex compared Solar to Martin Amis’ The Pregnant Widow, concluded that Solar was a “Flickering with Golden Aura” work.(Alex, 2010) British commentator Jack Kerridge interviewed McEwan, then pointed that Solar was a work with special eye of McEwan to see and portray the progressive maturity of human being. (Kerridge, 2010) In One Ian McEwan’s Climatic Change Related Comedy, William Sutcliff says Solar is a very successful work, much likely to be McEwan’s best one.(Sutcliff, 2010.) Chinese scholar Zhou Yi publishes an article Confrontation between Nature and Human Nature — Interpretation for Solar with the Perspectives of Literary Ethics to analysis Solar from the perspective of sexual ethics, ecological ethics and scientific and technological ethics.(Zhou, 2011:102-109) Zhou’s another article Concern for Ecology, Thinking about Human Nature — Review for Ian McEwan’s New Work Solar deeply discusses the work through the view of ecological ethics under the global warming background.(Zhou, 2011:45-47) Shang Biwu’s Eroticism, Scientific Technology and Psychology — Review for Ian McEwan’s New Work Solar analyses it from scientific technology, emotion and ethics three perspectives.(Shang, 2010:21-23) Wang Rei in her Liberation for Female, Rescuing Ecology — Interpretation for Ian McEwan’s New Work Solar talks about the female image in patriarchal society.(Wang, 2012: 25-28)
   Throughout the academia’s discussion on McEwan, his writing can be divided into three period: from the 70s to the early 80s he mostly wrote short stories. Both of them concern about growth, family, ethic, environment and female problems. The Cement Garden, as McEwan’s first full-length novel is a masterpiece during this period. In the mid and late 80s to the late 90s his writing underwent a marked evolution as a result of his increasing involvement with feminism and the peace movement. (Malcolm, 4) Stories in this period not only pay attention to the growth but also focus on sexual relationship, political issues and climate crisis. The Child in Time written in this period is considered as a watershed in his career. Since 2001 McEwan’s meditation on human nature and ecology are reflected, especially in his new work Solar.
   It attempts to identify the subversion of patriarchy and anthropocentrism in McEwan’s three representative novels of each writing period, to explore his consistent ecofeminist concern, it could be used as a new starting point for interpreting novels and understanding McEwan.
1.3 Introduction to Ecofeminism
   Ecofeminism is a practical movement which convergence of women movement and western environment movement. Rachel Carson, an American marine biologist, ecologist and conservationist published Silent Spring in 1962, showed her attention to the environmental problems and promoted the western environmental movement. The term “ecofeminism” was first coined by the French feminist Francoise D’Eaubonne, in her Le Feminisme ou La Mort(Feminism or Death) in 1974. D’Eaubonne argues that there was a potential connection between nature and women which comes from their shared history of oppression by the patriarchal society. D’Eaubonne was regarded as the originator of ecofeminism. Then the concept of ecofeminism was developed by Ynestra King, the organizer of “Women and Lives in Earth: A Congress of Ecofeminism in 1980s”. Ecofeminism is a multicultural perspective according to the main ecofeminist Karen J. Warren, it can be divied into several schools. But the common point of all kinds of ecofeminists is the recognition of the relationship between the domination of nature and the domination of female, then put an end to the patriarchy and anthropocentrism which cause the exploitation of nature and the oppression of female. The liberation of women, the solution of environmental crises and fighting against the oppression are ecofeminists’ ultimate goals.
   Nature and women are closely related and both of them are controlled by men. An American ecofeminist Carolyn Merchants argues in The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution(1990) that the exploration of nature and the oppression on female can be interpreted as a twin rule under the patriarchal society. The patriarchal value is the root cause of nature and women’s subordinate position. As a literary criticism, ecofeminism pays much attention to the relationship between nature and female presented in literary works. It flourished in the late 1970s and made it presence in literary studies in the 1990s. It adopts the methods of ecological criticism and feminist criticism to study the relationship between human and nature from gendered point of view. Patrick Murphy, ecofeminist literary criticism uses “ecofeminism as a ground for critiquing all the literature that one reads. For literary critics in particular this would mean reevaluating the major works and texts, and calling a dialogue between critical evaluations based on humanistic criteria. This would require, for instance, reevaluate the poetic of the pastoral, which tends to be based on an idealization with it.”(Murphy, 1995: 183) Gaard and Murphy worked together to write a book named Ecofeminist Literary Criticism which is the first collection of ecofeminist literary criticism. According to them ecofeminist literary criticism should involve reading texts through lens of ecofeminist theory and practice and asking questions like: “what previously unnoticed elements of a literary text are made visible or even foregrounded, when one reads from an ecofeminist perspective? Can this perspective tell literary critics anything new about a text in terms of the traditional elements of style and structure, metaphor and narrative, form and content? How might an ecofeminist perspective enhance explorations of connections and differences among characters in a text — between human and animals, between culture and nature, and across human differences of race, class, gender and sexual orientation — connections and differences that affect our relationship with nature and with each other?”(Gaard, Murphy, 1998: 7) It would further explores nature and women’s symbolic association and devaluation in texts.
   Literature and literary criticism cannot be separated from eath other, they are complementary exist. Ecofeminist literary criticism has enriched the meaning of the literary works and also has broadened the perspective for literary study, especially on some classical works before, so as to find numerous literary works were written with ecofeminist consciousness.
Chapter Two Ecofeminism in The Cement Garden
   In the patriarchy society, nature and women are always become the victims of men. Ecofeminist consider human beings, not only men but also women, are part of the natural world and maintain a close and harmonious relationship with it. They are one and the same thing, in addition, influence each other deeply. Patriarchy is the original root for the domination of nature and women. In The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan shows his attention on the oppressed nature and women, expresses his disgust to patriarchal society. In his view, patriarchy is the original root for the domination of nature and women, people and nature’s mutual care is the way to solve this dilemma.
2.1 Men’s domination of nature and women
   As we all know, women are naturally closer with nature. Women and nature have the similar physical functions which are reproduction and creation. Women have the duty to rear and bear the offspring, and nature satisfies all the creatures’ needs as they like. Their same destiny leads up to the close relationship between women and nature. In literary works, nature and women are always connected and compared to each other. Ecofeminists ensure the innate potential connection between nature and women, in which women are more sensitive to find themselves as one part of nature. What’s more, women in the patriarchal society have the same pathetic fate with nature. Both of them are considered to be others or inferior to male.
   The Cement Garden displays many ecofeminism problems related to man. In The Cement Garden, McEwan does not introduce much about the story’s background as usual. Just simply describes Jack, the protagonist, and his family live in an empty street throughout the wildness and no neighbour. The novel named The Cement Garden, the fertile garden is a paradise for flowers and plants according to the common sense. But the male characters such as Jack and his father in this novel would like to build a cement garden and destroy the ecological environment, men’s ecological unconsciousness is shown. Nature and women in this novel have the same fate. The deep connection between them are ecofeminist’s main concern. McEwan also proposes a fundamental question from the perspcetive of human relationship with nature, “how ought we to live”? It is possible to see McEwan’s attitude to nature and women: human beings should have to respect and protect nature and women rather than despoil them.
2.1.1 Control of nature
   As nature and women’s victim images in patriarchal society, Susan Griffin, an ecofeminist author, in her book Women and Nature: The Roaring Insider Her writes “we are the birds, the flowers, the butterflies, the rabbits, the milk cows; we are the caterpillars; we are the leaves of ivy and the branches of morning glory; we are the women and the nature. But he says he cannot hear us”.(Griffin, 1978: 1-2) Ecofeminists have described a number of connections between the oppressions of women and of nature that are important to understanding why the environment is a feminist issue, and, conversely, why feminist issues can be addresses in terms of environmental concerns. Nature in The Cement Garden also controlled by the dominators.
   In The Cement Garden, people live in a castle-like house strands among grim high-rises throughout in a deserted place where all the buildings near it have been pulled down for the modernization of society. Just as Jack mentions: “our house had once stood in a street full of houses. Now it stood on empty land where stinging nettles were growing round torn corrugated tin. The other houses were knocked down for a motorway they had never built.”(McEwan, 1978: 28) With the development of industrialization and urban modernization, the environment and social environment are destroyed increasingly serious. The dominator of Jack’s family, his father, is “a frail, irascible and obsessive man with yellowish hands and face”.(McEwan, 1978: 13) He firmly believes that man can conquer nature and make it serve man forever. He is the king in his family and would like to build a cement garden for himself. In his cement garden, “he had constructed rather than cultivated his garden according to plans he sometimes spread out on the kitchen table in the evenings while we peered over his shoulder. He just plants his best love tulips, he did not like bushed or ivy or roses”.(McEwan, 1978: 19) It is ridiculous that the reason why Jack’s father constructed a garden is not making his house full of life and spring in the air, but making it lifeless, just like a pool of stagnant water. After his first heart attack he could not continue to design garden, then he planes to build a platform surround the house so as to escape from the outside world. He deprives plant’s authority of growing up. Contrary to American ecologist and environmentalist Aldo Leopold’s “all things in the biosphere have an equal right to live and blossom and to reach their own individual forms of unfolding and self-realization within the larger self-realization”(Devall and George Sessions, 1985: 67). The platform in this novel is also a symbol of male’s bondage of the family in patriarchal society. There is no flowers in cement garden but the overrunning weeds. Nature shakes off the fetters of male after Jack father’s illness, “weeds pushed up through the cracks in the paving stones. Part of the rockery collapsed and the little pond dried up. The dancing Pan fell on its side and broke in two, and nothing was said. It’s nature’s unique way to retaliate against man”. (McEwan, 1978: 21)
   The father do nothing at home except calls the shots, not only mother but also children do not like and respect him. At the beginning of this novel, Jack even treats his father’s death as a “little story”. As another male character in this novel, Jack also shows his control of nature and damage to the environment from his subconscious behaviour. When mixing concrete with his father, Jack feels at ease with him for the first time. The large area of concrete round the house appeals Jack because he can play football on it and see helicopters landing there. Jack also considers “mixing concrete and spreading it over a leveled garden was a fascinating violation”.(McEwan:1978: 21) Moreover, He has a proclivity to violence on nature, when he finds a sledgehammer from rubble of neighbour’s house, hammering the concrete path in garden madly makes him feel exciting. In a rainy day, Jack steps on a frog then brings a flat stone down on the small green head cruelly. Theodore Roszak says in his book “many of the oldest ritual are acts of propitiation offered to a sometimes fierce and punishing divinity, an Earth who can been angry mother as well as a bountiful one”, it suggests that our human beings’ ancestors felt not only surprise but also revere at nature and treated themselves as nature’s children. But Jack and his father do not respect and love their mother nature. Human beings’ lack of eco-consciousness had existed for a long time. As Ralph Metzner said, “a core feature of the Euro-American psyche is a dissociative split between spirit and nature. In some versions, spirit is not only separated from nature, but incompatible and opposed. The human spiritual is then always regarded as superior to the animal nature.”(Metzner: 1995: 65) And human beings “do not seem to hear, or see, or feel (our) mother’s presence of living planet and deaf to its voices and stories.”(Metzner: 1995: 159) Ecological unconscious is the study of human beings’ common psychological characteristics, the same as Carl Gustav Jung’s collective unconscious. Human’s disregard to the environment is not their original character, but their suppression on the environment.
2.1.2 Control of women
   Ynestra King focuses on patriarchal culture and the base of resistance in women’s identity in The Ecofeminist Imperative: “a culture against nature is a culture against women. We know we must get out from under the feet of men as they go about their projects of violence.In pursuing these projects men deny and dominate both women and nature. It is time to reconstitute our culture in the name of that nature, and of peace and freedom, and it is women who can show the way. We have to be the voice of invisible, of nature who can not speak for herself in the political arenas of our society.”(King, 1993:78)
   The relationship between male and female is quite strain in this novel. As a spokesman of the patriarchal society, father at home is imperious and dominated. At the beginning of the novel, the parents argues over the bags of cement. Mother uses her angry voice to ask Jack’s father send the whole cement back because they are lack of money. Father holds his pipe, a symbol of masculinity, and uses his pipe against his wife. He “used a penknife to scrape black shards from the bowl od his pipe onto the food he had barely touched. He knew how to use his pipe against her”.(McEwan, 1978:15) He does not consider Tom would soon be needing new clothes for starting at school, so sending the cement back is impossible. Besides, he is very strict with Tom, “always going on at him in a needling sort of way. He used Mother against Tom much as he used his pipe against her”(McEwan, 1978:17) because he does not accept Tom behaving like a baby. As a “semi-invalid”(McEwan, 1978:17), he must dominate his wife so as to maintain his prestige. For Julie, Jack’s elder sister, father never takes her seriously. Julie is good at running and holds the local under-eighteen records for the 100- and 220-yard sprint. Father says “it was daft in a girl, running fast”(McEwan, 1978: 25), and he refuses to come to a sports meeting with family.
   Jack’s control over female verifies he “goes to extremes of behavior of masculinity”(Childs, 2005: 39). He and his father are both the typical representatives of masculinity. Although Jack does not like and respect his father as mentioned above, he has the same ideas to his father in some respects, about the cement for example. (Jack talks like his father through an imaginary pipe.) Jack and his father’s opinion on controlling nature and dominating female present their traditional male characteristics. When mother was alive, she sacrificed all the time and energy to do housework and take care of children, seldom communicated with others. At the age of eight, Jack back home pretending to be ill. She is glad to have someone at home accompany her during the day. But Jack always avoided being alone with her in case she spoke to him. In Sue’s view, Jack never understands anything about their mother and always horrible to mother. After the death of Jack’s mother, he fells “a sense of adventure and freedom”.(McEwan, 1978: 79) Jack does not cry for her, on the contrary, he cries for he does not get the key which symbolizes the authority in family. He wants to grab the key of their mother’s bedroom, only then can show his position of domination. He feels cheated by his mother because “mother had gone without explaining to Julie what she had told me”.(McEwan, 1978: 61) In children’s discussion about how to deal with mother’s dead body, Jack feels good and enjoys himself, proud to say his plan. It makes him think of “the gentlemen criminals in films who discussed the perfect murder with elegant detachment”.(McEwan, 1978: 69) Jack behaves his traditional gender concept that men play the important roles in the society meanwhile women are confined to the family daily chores, and women should obedience to men. When the children are preparing burying their mother by the concrete, Jack “felt entitled to do the shoveling and mixing, but Julie had the shovel and had already made up a pile of sand”.(McEwan, 1978: 70) For he thinks that mixing cement well is men’s exclusive behaviour. Several weeks after mother’s death, Jack feels as the only real male in family, he should act as a father, models himself on his dead father to control and manage other members of family. He tries to interfering the relationship between Julie and her boyfriend as he is Julie’s brother that he has the right to ask questions about her boyfriend. Jack is glad to be a leader, controlling people and making them obedience fulfillment Jack’s eager to masculine power.
2.2 Mild resisters in patriarchal society
   Ecofeminism contains many different branches and theories , however, they are closely related by one point, women have a special connection to the nature through their daily interactions with it and they have the same root cause of being dominated by man. In this novel, nature and women were oppressed by Jack and his father. But as a writer who cares about women’s position and environmental crisis, McEwan also describes nature’s revenge on human for broken natural balance and a new woman image to show the author’s ecofeminism thought.
2.2.1 The revenge of nature
   With the development of science and the rapid expansion of urbanization and industrialization in society, environment pollution has become worse and worse that causes global warming. Vandana Shiva points out that “science is a masculine and patriarchal project which necessarily entailed the subjugation of both nature and women.”(Shiva, 1996: 268) Ecofeminism criticizes the overdevelopment western science and technology civilization and patriarchal ideology.
   Nature always become the victim of men and destroyed seriously in patriarchal society. All the ecofeminists strongly against this kind of behaviour and McEwan is no exception. The Cement Garden takes place in the industrial age, houses near Jack’s family all have been torn down without a blade of grass for modern constructions. The nature’s revenge on man starts. The novel happens in summer, due to the impact of global warming, it is much hotter than the previous years. Jack always complains it is too hot than usual, “it was mid-July, only a week before the summer holidays began, and it had been hot every day for six weeks”.(McEwan, 1978: 50) Influenced by the high temperature, children hermetically seal themselves in home more and more isolation and alienation. “We did not even sit outside because the wind was blowing a fine, black dust from the direction of the tower blocks and the main roads behind them. And even while it was hot, the sun never quite broke through a high, yellowish cloud.”(McEwan, 1978: 79) Staying in home makes children bad-tempered and often trivial bickering. Children quarrel with each other about a rain. The quarrel makes sisters angry but Jack feels calm and glad to make them angrier. He even wants to smack Sue hard on the back of her neck.
   At the beginning of the novel, father constructs his garden according to plans. Nature resist to Jack’s father for breaking the natural order rather than cultivates the garden. Once father brings home two goldfish in a plastic bag, birds eats them quickly. In order to protect the land from growing flowers, Jack’s father intends to build a high wall round his special world before his first heart attack. After his first heart attack, the constructed garden began to decline and “weeds pushed up through the cracks in the paving stones”,(McEwan, 1978: 21) it shows nature’s strong vitality. Jack’s father never gives up the conquest of nature till death. When he died, he was “lying face down on the ground, his head resting on the newly spread concrete”.(McEwan, 1978: 23) An ambulance came, he was covered with a red blanket. The clour red means victory. “Red” implies the victory of the nature in the war of between human and nature.
2.2.2 The rebellion of women
   Jack’s mother is a typical traditional woman in patriarchal society. Her identity was deprived, she always enclosed herself at home and she is an invisible woman in the society. But her oldest daughter Julie is different, she is a maverick girl. The local under-eighteen records for the 100- and 220-yard sprint. In family, father treats Julie as a fool and never takes her seriously. Meanwhile, Julie does not listen and obey to the dominator of their family. She is a strong-minded person, she knows how to arrange her own time and dresses up well according to her wishes. Unlike their poor mother who devotes all the time and energy to family. In the evenings she stays at home to wash hair and iron the pleats in her navy blue school skirt. At school, she is one of a handful fearless girls “who wore starched white petticoats beneath their skirts to fill them out and make them swirl when they turned on their heel”.(McEwan, 1978: 25) She also has some boyfriends at school but she never let them get near her. She does not like other traditional female can be manipulated by men easily. She has her own group, and makes friends with the most rebellions, the ones with reputations. In Jack’s view, Julie sometimes “at the far end of a corridor surrounded by a small noisy group. But Julie herself gave little away; she dominated her group and heightened her reputation”.(McEwan, 1978: 26) Generally speaking, only male can be the dominator and controller in patriarchal society. Both of Julie and her father are dominators in this novel, Julie gets more self-identity and respect than the failed controller, father, dues to her “disruptive, intimidating quietness”.(McEwan, 1978: 26)
   After mother’s illness, Julie in charges of family’s supper and bedtime. Traditional women at home can only obey. Julie sees it differently, she is a girl of action and does not tolerate any sloppiness. She does not do housework all by herself like mother, instead, she calls for Jack and Sue to do together. Tom does not like Julie plays the role of mother because she never obedient to Tom. It makes Tom afraid of her and Jack feels “she was so remote from us, quiet, certain of her authority”.(McEwan, 1978: 39) Julie is good at operating family well in her own way, and enjoys ordering other members of the family gradually.
2.3 Mutual care
   In The Cement Garden, McEwan describes a picture that in order to develop social modernization, human beings destroy nature day after day, finally get natural punishment and retaliation. And in patriarchal society, women are overwhelmed by the power of the masculinity, the relationship between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers are distorted. For McEwan, the key point to solve difficulties in this novel is nature and human beings, female and male’s mutual care. That is to say, the harmony relationships between woman and man, nature and human beings. Nature, female and male are the organic components and they are equal. Male have no right to control and conquer female and nature. The same as ecofeminists’ viewpoint, the mutual relationship of the internal organic components in this unity is quite important.
   Patriarchy is seen as the important root for male’s oppression on female both physically and psychologically. Ecofeminism aims at subverting the patriarchy so as to make female’s liberation. Mutual understanding and communication with each other are the key to shake off the fetters of male ideology and rebuild a harmonious relationship between female and male. Male should not attempt to manage or control female as they are equal to each other. In this novel, the relationship between family are strange because of their lack of communication. Facing the patriarchal discrimination and oppression, McEwan shapes a brave and fashionable new female image, Julie. By Julie’s typical leader temperament, she wins her self-identities and respect. Women and nature have the same status in patriarchal society. Due to the dualistic thinking, nature is the object of male’s exploitation to satisfy human beings’ needs. People’s excessive exploitation and destruction of nature for development, finally got nature’s retaliation and punishment. According to the ecofeminists, for the purpose of making nature and people harmoniously development, it is necessary for people to treat nature as the mother of world creatures and respect for nature. Mutual interdependence is the best way to maintain the relationship between nature and human beings.
Chapter Three Ecofeminism in The Child in Time
   The Child in Time won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1987. At this period, much more thinking about love, environment and interpersonal relationship are reflected in McEwan’s works. As his third novel, The Child in Time is full of love, warm and hope and ends up with the unity of family. Different from his first novel The Cement Garden ends with the destruction of family, the novel got much attention for four reasons as Greg Garrard pointed out: its crystallization of numerous stylistic virtues in McEwan’s earlier novels and short stories in a more substantial and sophisticated narrative; its presentation of a dystopian future as an extension of Thatcherism; its sympathetic exploration of the “new physics” in terms of a “feminization” of science; and its challenge to patriarchal masculinity.(Garrard, 2009) On the surface, The Child in Time revolves around a missing-girl Kate and the breakdown of a marriage, in fact, it is much more than that. By linking Thatcherism and patriarchy’s damage on environment and women in The Child in Time, McEwan shows his concern about the status of environmental crisis and female. In face of such oppression, McEwan does not mean to build a women-centered society, he puts forward a solution in this novel: male should learn from female as male’s fatality of a masculinity, by their harmonious coexistence all the problems will be solved.
3.1 Intellectual women in patriarchal society
   It is known to all, in the long course of human beings’ history male is the head of family and they have the authority over community and society. While female is considered to be subordinate and inferior to the male, the role of female in patriarchal society is centered around the family. It is conventional that female’s status is lower than male. Sebastian Groes in Ian McEwan: Contemporary Critical Perspectives points that“McEwan’s alignment with the feminist movement in the seventies and eighties led to his being co-opted and derided as the male feminist”.(Groes, 2009: 1) McEwan also explained in Groes’ book that he “developed a romantic notion that if the spirit of women was liberated, the world would be healed” which is the same as ecofeminists’ notion. McEwan says frankly that female characters in his novel “became the repository of all the goodness that men fell short of”.(Groes, 2009: 6) Female characters in The Child in Time are the typical representatives of the new women, both of the them have steady jobs, stable income and independent mind. All possessing strong self-consciousness and relatively independent personality. McEwan mainly describes two females in this novel, Thelma and Julie, who have the courage to break the social convention and challenging to the society of male authority and traditional representations of women.
3.1.1 Utopian Ecofeminist —— Thelma
   Virginia Woolf, a forerunner of feminist literature used to say the history of Britain’s is not the history of women, but the history of men. Female has life but has no history. In the patriarchal society, traditional women do not have their own social occupations status, women can only do for their families, husbands and children obediently and silently. This kind of women often be called “angle in the house”. On the contrary, female characters in McEwan’s pen are different. Completely opposite to the traditional “angle in the house”.
   Ian McEwan has wrote the libretto for Michael Berkeley’s oratorio or Shall We Die? in 1983. In this introduction, McEwan says people could display two different world outlooks, the Newtonian and that of the new physics, those two world-views represent the law of male and the law of female. “In the Newtonian universe, there is objectivity; its impartial observer is logical and imagines himself to be all-seeing and invisible.... The observer in the Einsteinian universe believes herself to be part of the nature she studies, part of its constant flux; her own consciousness and the surrounding world pervade each other and are interdependent... She has no illusions of her omniscience, and yet her power is limitless because it does not reside in her alone.”(McEwan, 1983: 19) It shows McEwan’s acceptance and respect to female. Female characters’ existence in The Child in Time is to illustrate the great superiority of “new physics”. “New physics” also named laws of women or feminity. Thelma is a self-independent woman who has a steady job and income, also has her status and power. She is an over sixty lecturer in physics at Birkbeck College with a well-known and respected thesis completed on the nature of time, one of the rare female physicists in society, McEwan said in this novel “for three centuries generations of experts, moralists, social scientists, doctors — mostly men”.(McEwan, 1987: 89-90) As a female whose working environment is full of male and dominated by male’s power, it is a kind of demonstration and declaration to patriarchal society. Thelma also has her own hobby, science. She treats science as her own child, “for whom she holds out great and passionate hopes and in whom she wishes to instill gentler manners and a sweeter disposition”.(McEwan, 1987: 45) She is an honorable tradition of women theoretical physicists, though she modestly claims that “she has not made a single discovery, not even an insignificant one”.(McEwan, 1987: 45) Thelma wants to give up teaching in the university and move out to the countryside to do some academic research, then write a book about her favorite topic, new physics. Traditional woman’s desire to books and knowledge was considered as a behavior of self-indulgence or a chair warmer. While Thelma believes that “quantum mechanics would feminize physics, all science, make it softer, less arrogantly detached, more receptive to participating in the world it wanted to describe.”(McEwan, 1987: 45) Thelma’s attitude to science is exactly the same as McEwan’s faith “men will destroy the world and women will save”.(Malcolm, 2002: 186)
   In the male-dominated society, the most important career of women is dressing and making themselves beautiful so as to please their husbands. Influenced by the patriarchal ideology men always look down on women, meanwhile women used to accustom to their situation, gradually become self-neglected yield to social convention. As a wife, Thelma is twelve years older than her husband Darke, a young millionaire in the kitsch music business. Thelma may not be the best wife for Darke, someone joked that she is more like his mother.Thelma is not a woman who make up herself in order to appeal husband. She always plucks her eyebrows, high cheekbones make her look lively and cheerful. “Grey hair was gathered in a messy bun secured with an antique comb which she claims it is the suitable hairstyle for women physicists which makes her exudes all air of wisdom, competence and stability.”(McEwan, 1987: 48) Female physicist Thelma is the embodiment of wisdom, the outstanding intelligence and rationality glitters between the lines are the performance of female’s superiority.
   Traditional women afflicts by patriarchy always do not have the consciousness of female subject. Female subject consciousness is originated from the social gender awareness, it refers to women’s consciousness of status, role, personal value and influence as the subject in society. The core factor of it is to emphasize female’s independent existence. Thelma in life is an absolutely independent woman. Not only has own identity and special traits but also has the feminine power in family and society. For her husband Darke, she is not just a piece of eye candy. In other people’s eyes, she is more than a successful politician’s wife, she is like her husband’s friend and leader who help him solving problems and out of his dilemma. During Darke running his record company, “Thelma talked her husband into starting a literary book club and the success of this brought him to the dusty firm of Gott’s, which within two years was profitable for the first time in a quarter of a century.”(McEwan, 1987: 31) At the peak of Darke’s career, his fatality of masculinity brings out. He is nearing a mental breakdown and in a fragile state, he and Thelma together determine to give up the politician career. Thelma knows Darke very well, she indicates to Stephen “Charles has an inner life. In fact, more than an inner life — an inner obsession, a separate world. You’ll have to take that on trust. Most of the time he denies it’s there, but it’s with him all the time, it consumes him, it makes him what he is. What Charles desires, if that’s the world — what he needs is quite at odds with what he does, what he’s been doing. It’s the contradictions that make him so frantic, so impatient about success. This move, at least as far as he is concerned, has to do with resolving these.” Darke’s eager to make up his absent childhood was influenced by his childhood experience. “Darke had no political convictions, only managerial skill and great ambition”.(McEwan, 1987: 38) To help Darke, Thelma says to their friend “we made some well-considered decisions. Charles is giving up his career, and I’m resigning. We’re selling the house and moving into the cottage”.(McEwan, 1987: 48) Facing the unexpected turn of events, Thelma does not feeling dizzy as some traditional women, in contrast, she uses her magical feminine quantum magic to solve the family crisis. It confirms “Charles was her (Thelma) difficult child”.(McEwan, 1987: 42) Departure from the administration to the countryside Darke gradually degradation as a child. Thelma is more than a wife, but like a mother caring for him. Thelma’s typical female’s power of redemption is shown.
   Living in the countryside, Thelma and Mother get on well with each other. When Stephen visits the couple, she’s glad to talk to him “how the outer edges of the wood so that there was no visible barrier between the two, and how she had been growing wildflowers for their seeds, which she planned to preserve for what she called the gene pool.”(McEwan, 1987: 119) Thelma enjoys her forest life very much and in a good mood. “Weeks of country air, long afternoons tending her garden, and the chance to work at what she wanted had made her euphoric.”(McEwan, 1987: 133) Thelma has some other friends besides husband and nature, such as Stephen and Stephen’s wife Julie. Different from the traditional “angel in the house” who has no friends, Thelma has her own circle of friends and talks with them not only about life but also influences them to know some theoretical physics knowledge. She is willing to help friends in trouble and her friends are the same. Angela Roger says “Thelma was an interesting character in that paradoxically she embodies science together with the female principle of holism, and we can read her as an antidote to the harsh scientific male principle”.(Roger, 1996: 31)
3.1.2 Integrated personalities —— Julie
   The function of fiction should be mirroring human beings’ life. And as a writer, the best way to deliver his ideas is writing. Beginning in 1980s, McEwan’s novels contain much more confident investment in gender increasingly, as male writer can be reimagined in relation to both time and social space. The Child in Time is a novel which challenge to the patriarchal system. McEwan embodies his concern of female and nature in fiction creation. His special concern can be felt through the description of new women in The Child in Time. New women in this novel are neither the same as what Barbara Welter called True Womanhood, by which “the new ideal of womanhood had essentially four parts, four characteristics any good and proper young woman should cultivate: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness.”(Welter, 1966: 151) Nor similar to the true liberated women in Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, economically and spiritually independent.
   In this novel, McEwan rarely refers to Stephen’s wife, Julie, and her private circle of friends. It does not mean the author deprived Julie’s utterance right on purpose, on the reverse, McEwan delivers the advantage of women in the patriarchal society through Stephen’s mouth. Julie’s female integrated personalities which are capable to accommodating the unexpected changes is fully displayed. As well as male is not born with masculine, Beauvoir is implying that female is not born feminine but is socially constructed to be a feminine in order to fit in to their place as the oppressed or “second sex” with our patriarchal society. The new women possess both feminine and masculine characters, they are not only breeding, tending and easy-going but also aggressive, governing and foresighted. Like all new women who pursue independence and self-fulfillment, Julie has her own career as Thelma. She is a violinist teaches at the Guildhall, and forms a string quarter with three friends. They are getting bookings and have one small, favorable notice in a national newspaper. From that, it is easy to see Julie has a high social position as well as high income. As a wife, Julie is a quiet and watchful woman, also she is “a devoted mother”, “passionately attached to her child”, and “a loving parent” in family life. “They had been married for six years, a time of slow, fine adjustments to the jostling principles of physical pleasure, domestic duty, and the necessity of solitude”.(McEwan, 1987: 9) Their great partnership and strong marriage break up till their daughter Kate’s sudden and mysterious disappearance. When Julie finds there is something wrong from Stephen’s face, “before she scrambled upright in the bed and made a noise of incredulity, a little yeld on a harsh intake of breath. For a moment explanations were neither possible nor necessary.”(McEwan, 1987: 19) Stephen begins desperately looking for their missing daughter around London. “He went everywhere alone, setting out each day shortly after the late winter dawn”. As soon as Julie heard the message, she stayed at home for a few days and “had special leave from the college”. When Stephen was away for searching “she was sitting in the armchair in the bedroom, facing the cold fireplace”.(McEwan, 1987: 21) At first the couple “had clung to one another, sharing dazed rhetorical questions, awake in bed all night”. Time passed, Julie accepts the reality gradually, then she packed Kate’s clothes and toys one afternoon. Julie bravely accepts the absence of their daughter. But it makes Stephen angry, he thinks what Julie has done is a kind of “feminine self-destructiveness, a willful defeatism” and “there was no mutual consolation, no touching, no love”.(McEwan, 1987: 22) One late February afternoon, Julie out of the shadow of daughter’s missing and left home to start a new life in a retreat in the Chilterns. Stephen is still there, in the same house for almost three years then “he wrote an affectionate, undemanding postcard to Julie, telling her that he had thought about her on Kate’s birthday and that, if and when she thought the time was right, she should get in touch.”(McEwan, 1987: 179) After their meeting Julie told Stephen that her leaving is not a kind of escape but facing independently: “I came out here to face up to losing Kate. It was my task, my work, if you like, more important to me than our marriage, or my music. If I didn’t face it, I thought I could go under. There were some bad, bad days when I wanted to die.”(McEwan, 1987: 254) Several years ago, Stephen thinks Julie “took his efforts to be a typically masculine evasion, an attempt to mask feelings behind displays of competence and organization and physical effort”.(McEwan, 1987: 22) Finally, he admitted that the wisdom of Julie that she “had to go on loving, but ... Had to stop desiring her”.(McEwan, 1987: 255) Stephen realizes the limitation of his early opinion on female which he “believed, or thought he ought to believe, that men and women were, beyond all the obvious physical differences, essentially the same, he now suspected that one of their many distinguishing features was precisely their attitudes to change. Past a certain age, men froze into place”.(McEwan, 1987: 59) Stephen gradually changes his traditional patriarchal ideology and accepts female’s wisdom to solve their problem together. Kiernan Ryan points out that The Child in Time is telling a new kind of story about a new kind of experience, the liberation of men from masculinity, and it suffers from all the stumbling and embarrassment one might expect of such a pioneering venture.(Ryan, 1994: 51)
3.2 Degeneration of environment in patriarchal society
   In Writing Masculinities, Ben Knights regards The Child in Time as a “green parable ...in which masculinity, fathering, and gender relations figure prominently”.(Knights, 1999: 208) Ecofeminists calls the patriarchal value, social institution and patriarchy are the root causes of environmental and female crisis. In the development period of social industrialization, human beings can not attend to protecting the environment which leads up to environment problems such as climate change, global warming and so on.
3.2.1 Degeneration of nature
   Garrard says “in the several novels following The Child in Time, environmental problems appear as another point of concern”.(Garrard, 2009: 1) With the development of industrial society, environmental issues are more recognized because of the pollution and destruction of ecosystem resulting from economic development and technological advances. McEwan brings climate change into this novel also shows his concern on ecological and environmental problems. The yell and revolt of angry nature to the greedy human beings is expressed by the unprecedented temperature, the weather undergoes violent extremes from hot and drought to incessant heavy rain in this novel.
   In the beginning of the novel, it is late May about nine-thirty in the morning, the temperature is nearly “nudging the eighties”.(McEwan, 1987: 1) It is well known that spring is the best season to go especially in May. Stephen’s father complains about the high temperature to his son “I don’t remember a hotter summer than this in seventy-four years. It’s hot. In fact, I’d say it was too hot.”(McEwan, 1987: 97) The highest temperature had passed one-hundred-degree Fahrenheit, even higher temperatures are expected. However, “the parched months of what was to turn out to be the last decent summer of the twentieth”.(McEwan, 1987: 5) Most dramatically, extreme weather conditions occur with global warming in this novel. “The rains came at last in late September, delivered by gales that stripped most trees bare in less than a week. Leaves clogged the drains, certain streets became navigable rivers, old couples were helped out of base ment flats by policemen in waders”. Stormy weather is inconvenient but because the hot temperature before “a general feeling of crisis and excitement at least on television”. For this changeable climate weather experts come out in the open to declare that “why there was no autumn, why it was summer last week, winter this”. Experts blame all climate issues on “the encroaching ice age, the melting ice caps, the ozone layer depleted by fluorocarbons, the sun in its death throes”. The government treats such weather not bad as “no one yet knew how to stop the rain” and what government has done were seen by the masses. Natural disasters seem like punishment for humanity’s destruction of nature. “It rained every day for fifty days”.(McEwan, 1987: 142-143) According to the weather forecast “before the first signs of spring, they would have to endure heavy snowfalls”.(McEwan, 1987: 194) Owing to the human actives, too much cutting of the forests, the uncultivated land, okas and beeches in Stephen’s student life “once to discover the trees efficiently felled, the land plowed, and the estuary spanned by a motorway bridge”.(McEwan, 1987: 8) Emissions of greenhouse gases probably are at lease partly to blame for the changeable climate. In this novel, the threat of nuclear war haunts the dystopian future Britain, “in the United States this act was blamed on the prevarications of a docile president,who now silenced his critics by bringing his country’s nuclear forces to their most advanced state of readiness. The Russians did likewise. Nuclear submarines slid quietly to their allotted firing points, silos gaped open, missiles bristled in the hot shrubbery of rural Oxfordshire and in the birch forests of the Carpathians”.(McEwan, 1987: 35) The excessive use of nuclear fuel also destroys the ecological environment. Kinds of environment problems may lead up to global warming.
3.2.2 Degeneration of society
   The Child in Time was written in 1987, during the time of the Thatcherism’s heyday. The novel takes place in a dystopian near future at the end of the 20th century. Thatcherism describes the conviction politics, economic and social policy style of the British Conservative politician Margret Thatcher, who was leader of her party from 1975 to 1990. It has also been used by some to describe the ideology and wider political cultural of the British government while Thatcher was Prime Minister between May 1979 and November 1990. Thatcher increases interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply, claims to promote low inflation, the small state and free markets through tight control of the money supply, privatization and constrains on the labor movement and introduces cash limits on public spending, and reduces expenditure on social services such as education and housing. The dismantling of many social welfare programs leads to the deterioration of both nature and the society. McEwan has written an anti-Thatcherite film named The Ploughman’s Lunch in 1983 and directed by Richard Eyre. The film looks at the media world in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain during the time of the Falklands War. In The Child in Time, McEwan deftly captures the subtle changes in social phenomenon due to the degradation of environment caused by Thatcherism.
   Ecofeminism endeavors to destroy the ossified patriarchal and anthropocentrism dual system and set up a new pattern of relationship of coexistence between man and woman, man and nature. McEwan also regards patriarchal and anthropocentrism are the causes of men’s difficulties and the degeneration of nature and society in The Child in Time. “Insofar as it identifies patriarchal values, institutions, and identities as the root causes of environmental crisis, it might be more accurate to describe the novel as an ecofeminist parable”.(Knights, 1999: 209) In order to improve the society’s economic development, the government in this novel vigorously promote industrialization and urbanization. As a result of the development, people are living a better life apparently. Influenced by the anthropocentrism, ambition of pursing money and material becoming so ambitious with all kinds of increased yearning to future. Everything has its advantages as well as disadvantages. With the continuous development of economy, the welfare state collapsed, a group of licensed beggars walking down the streets. The strategy is the “art of bad government was to sever the line between public policy and intimate feeling, the instinct for what was right”.(McEwan, 1987: 3) The government in order to obtain more benefits, schools have been privatized. Schools were sold to private investors, “the attendance requirements were soon to be reduced”,(McEwan, 1987: 26) directly to there are two thirds of eleven-years-olds in inner-city schools. Monocultures of pine and wheat dominate a degraded landscape in which only tiny pockets are privileged to resemble “what was generally accepted as the English countryside”.(McEwan, 1987: 101) Greedy, rigid Thatcherite rationalization has left no room for newts, birdsong, or even, as a train driver tells Stephen, a beautifully constructed Victorian train tunnel:“It’s too rational, my friend. That’s the problem. Here’s a cathedral in the dark. What’s the point of that? Close it down. Build a motorway. But there’s no heart in motorways. You won’t see kids on bridges taking car numbers, will you”.(McEwan, 1987: 209) Not only the changeable climate but also the degeneration of society are both the revenge on human being from nature for people’s damage to the environment.
3.3 Motherhood and nature
   At the very beginning of the progress of industrial civilization, man’s desire to conquer and control is gradually increasing. Ecological crisis is serious become even more violent. McEwan discusses the threat of nuclear war and challenges the idea of masculinity in or Shall We Die? The Child in Time is a far more complex work of art than or Shall We Die?, and yet its underlying assumption — its philosophical plot, if you like — is likewise that only “womanly times” can save both nature and humanity.(Garrard, 2009:698) McEwan in The Child in Time portrays the human and natural disaster because man’s fatal fault of masculinity and anthropocentrism, it shows McEwan’s inner anxiety and unease. It resonate most strongly with the main idea of or Shall We Die?, to embrace womanly times of shall we die? Kiernan Ryan speaks highly of the novel that it “is telling a new kind of story about a new kind of experience,the liberation of men from masculinity, and suffers from all the stumblings and embarrassments one might expect of such a pioneering venture”.(Ryan, 1994: 51)
McEwan points that the true harmonious in the world is breaking down the male-centered ideology first, then liberation the oppressed woman. However, it does not mean to form a female-centered society to replace the male-centered society Harmonious coexistence is the proper way out of man’s delimma. Ecofeminists does not look for “a gender-based quality of femininity to replace masculinity which would only invert the patriarchal values upon which exploitative hierarchies and based”.(Madsen, 2000: 126) For McEwan, the key point to build a harmonious relationship between human and nature is the acceptance of womanliness. Julie in this novel is able to accommodate unexpected changes and accidents because of her integrated personalities and tries to change Stephen’s disadvantages of masculinity. New physicist Thelma indicates feminine science to come, “the clever boy was on his way to becoming the wise woman”.(McEwan, 1987: 120)
Chapter Four Ecofeminism in Solar
   In March 2005, Ian McEwan and other twenty scientists, artists and journalists gathered together to aboard a ship which locked in the Arctic ice for an interdisciplinary exploration on climate change. Those explorers came and went in the special made Arctic gear, at first all was well, several days later the necessity for each one selfishly to grab whatever was to hand. This experience will prove to have been pivotal in terms of McEwan’s ongoing rethinking of how to protect the environment. It becomes a motivation of writing Solar, a novel about climate change. Nevertheless, Solar is not a simple novel about climate change, it also refers to the complicated relations between both sexes in the rapid development of science and civilization society. Vandana Shiva suggests “(science is) a masculine and patriarchal project which necessarily entailed the subjugation of both nature and women”.(Shiva, 1996 : 268) The anthropocentric value harms the relationship between men and women as well as men and nature. Focusing on human nature may the best way to coordinate the relationship between human beings and nature. McEwan in this novel does not pay much attention to describe the oppressed nature, he wants to show human beings’, especially the talents, scientists’ absurd way to save nature after knowing the consequence of taking natural resources casually. Solar has caught the attention of both critics and scholars since its publication. William in Financial Times asserts that Solar is “a work tremendously well-done, it might be the best one among the works of Ian McEwan”.(William, 2010) The deteriorating relationships in this novel between human beings and nature as well as man and woman point the figure at anthropocentric and androcentrism values. Just the same as ecofeminists’ principle.
4.1 Nature and women as victims of patriarchal society
   Ecofeminists believe that women are naturally closer with nature. They have the similar physical functions: reproduction and creation. The similar position leads them to the similar destiny and the relationship between women and nature is particular close. Rosemary Radford Ruether says women in patriarchal societies are the symbolic repositories for all that should be ignored or cut out of human life, especially nature. In New Woman New Earth she writes “since women in Western culture have been traditionally identified with nature, and nature, in turn, has been seen as an object of dominationally by man, it would be seen almost a truism that the mentality that regarded that natural environment as an object of domination drew upon imagery and attitudes based on male domination on women ... Sexism and ecological destructiveness are related in the symbolic patterns of the patriarchal consciousness ... They take intensive socioeconomic form in modern industrial society”.(Ruether, 1975: 186,196)
4.1.1 Social elites’ lust for nature
   With the speedy development of the civilization and scientific revolution, nature is regarded as the otherness which has no authority to speak and is treated as to be conquered. It is said that because of the appearance of scientific revolution, the notion “nature possesses the center” lost its authority before. In Solar, the over-consumption of coal and petrol in industrialized society cause the global warming and climate change directly. The protagonist Michael Beard, a fifty-three years old physicist who won the Noble prize for “Beard-Einstein Synthesis” twenty years ago. Now, Beard lost his interest in physics and had done no serious science in years, he had nothing beyond his Conflation, or his half of Conflation. Gluttony and alcoholism are Beard’s whole life. Facing the global warming, “the Blair government wished to be, or appear to be, practically rather than merely rhetorically engaged with climate change”(McEwan, 2010: 19). So the government set up the National Center for Renewable Energy. At the same time, Beard is looking for an official role with a stipend attached. Several long-running sinecures had recently come to an end, and his income is never sufficient. Beard assumes the Center’s first head while a senior civil servant named Jock Braby does the real work. Braby is in line for a knighthood. Braby team’s first task is to assist the government to complete “tap the genius of British people by inviting them to submit their own clean-energy ideas and drawings. The nation’s inventors are mostly male as McEwan writes “it was always a he ... ”(McEwan, 2010: 19) All people’s inventions are variants on the perpetual-motion machine. Braby thinks it is waste of time but complaint for his ambitions.
   This new government research center aims at environmental protection, it’s administrative buildings contain asbestos which is a source of environmental pollution but effective in acoustic performance and it contain carcinogen that do harm to people’s health. None of those scientists would like to do some research on the climate change from heart. Fully unfolds McEwan’s satirical techniques. The Center’s first research project comes from Beard’s causal proposal because he was worried about his wife at that time. “In an off-the-cuff way he had proposed right at the start that it would be easier to procure more funds if he could claim for the Center a single eye-catching project that would be comprehensible to the taxpayer and the media”.(McEwan, 2010: 27) So the WUDU, Wind turbine for Urban Domestic Use had been launched. It may solve the power problems. By installing the WUDU on the rooftop to generate enough power to decline people’s electricity bill. However, because of the limited conditions in the city and Beard’s lacking of technology, he realizes the WUDU has no research value at all, but Braby is keen on this for his fame.
   The novel also refers to the risks posed by excessive emission of carbon dioxide. “The last ten years of the twentieth century had been the warmest ten, or was it nine, on record ... The temperature rise associated with a doubling of CO2”.(McEwan, 2010: 41) The excessive emission of carbon dioxide leads to greenhouse effect, climate is becoming changeable and sensitive as results. Tom Aldous, one of Beard’s postdoc who has been developing revolutionary plans for solar power. Aldous says “the planet was in danger”,(McEwan, 2010: 28) overuse of coal and oil will ruin people, and he wants to rescue the planet with Beard and his team. But the Chief is not an expert in the field of solar energy.
   Family is in as big a mess as career. Michael Beard’s fifth marriage is going to end because of his wife Patrice had an affair with a builder Tarpin publicly, in an act of revenge on Beard’s adulterous. Trying to get away from home, Beard calls it “headquarters of his misery”, he accepts an invitation to the North Pole. It is a visit to the Arctic polar with twenty artists and scientists for investigation of climate change. An Italian “international renown” chef will be in attendance, and if it is necessary a guide with high-caliber rifle will shot predatory polar bears. As for the discharge of carbon dioxide, it “would be offset by planting three thousand trees in Venezuela as soon as a site could be identified and local officials bribed.”(McEwan, 2010: 53) (People in the Center says Beard will go to the North Pole to see global warming for himself.) Jesus is one of the twenty climate-change artists and scientists from Majorca, a famous ice sculptor and his speciality is penguins. Beard speaks ironically that Jesus’ profession may be difficult to pursue in Balearic, a hot country. McEwan through Beard’s mouth to suggest that even if the God Jesus is subject to the climatic condition. The elites do not realize this while Beard, the most indifferent to climate finds it. Artists assumes that sculpture, poetry, dance, abstract music aal and conceptual art are art’s highest forms, they could “inspire the public to take thought, take action, or demand it of others”.(McEwan, 2010: 90) Beard was surprised by their blind and arrogant assumption. Being attacked by a pole bear, people’s anthropocentrism showed vividly. Those elites call for protection on environment and animals, on the other hand they treat them as a threat.
   McEwan has said before, human nature is the key point to solve environmental and human beings’ crisis. The boot room in the Eighty Degrees North Seminar is a proper way to reflect human nature. First day everything is in good order, from the second day the disorder appeared, four days later, “finite resources, equally shared” was in a ruins. Human beings habitual take up other resources without shame and embarrassed. McEwan raises a question “how were they to save the earth — assuming it needed saving, which he doubted — when it was so much larger than the boot room”?(McEwan, 2010: 91)
4.1.2 Silent victim
   Rosemary Ruether also writes about the women-nature connections in her New Women/New Earth, she says:“women must see that there can be no liberation for them and no solution of ecological crisis within a society whose fundamental model of relationship continues to be one of domination. They must unite the demands of the women’s movement those of the ecological movement to envision a radical reshaping of the basic socioeconomic relations and the underlying values of this (modern industrial) society”.(Ruether, 1975: 204) McEwan speaks highly of the redeeming power of maternal femininity because it does good for the liberation of men from masculinity. Changing men’s inherent idea of androcentrism so as to coordinate the relationship between men and women. Men’s attitude to nature will change by the influence of womanliness. As a result, the relationship between human beings and nature are in great harmony. On the surface, Beard’s behaviour to women in Solar makes readers think McEwan is a womanize. Actually, McEwan fights against all forms of oppression on woman, and calls for the establishment of a society based on gender equality.(蓝纯,1988:42)
   Beard is a bald, short and fat middle-aged man. Such an average-looking man is still attractive for some women even though he has experienced five marriages. Patrice is Beard’s fifth wife. McEwan’s description of Patrice is rare. Readers get information about Patrice mostly from Beard’s self-centered narration, an unreliable narration. At the beginning of the novel, Beard says his fifth marriage is disintegrating, his wife has an affair with Tarpin, a builder, seven inches taller and twenty years younger than Beard, “flagrantly, punitively, certainly without remorse”.(McEwan, 2010: 3) In fact, the motivation of Patrice’s behaviour is apparently pure revenge on Beard’s frequently infidelities. Patrice looks like Marilyn Monroe, and she is indeed by far the most beautiful of Beard’s wives. Patrice stops pleasing him at all. She wears different clothes and has a different look around the house, never tease or flirt with him, just ignores his presence. Before going to the North pole, Patrice says to Beard, “the cheerfulness she had shown around the house was to conceal her wretchedness; the affair with Tarpin was supposed to save her from humiliation. She demanded to know how Beard was going to explain away eleven affairs in five years”.(McEwan, 2010: 54) Years of enduring can not save their marriage, Patrice is the victim of patriarchal society.
   Angela Beard, Beard’s mother, another victim in marriage of patriarchal’s dogmas. Angela is a emaciated beauty, a middle-class woman, stockbroker Henry Beard’s wife. Shortly after their married, “for reasons that remained private”(McEwan, 2010: 224), Angela does not love her husband. Then Angela begins a series of affairs with seventeen lovers for eleven years. Without those lovers Angela “would have hated herself and gone mad”.(McEwan, 2010: 226) Angela uses the practical action to express her dissatisfaction with marriage and social customs. Even braver than her contemporaries, Angela still in the sanctuary of her marriage. Influenced by the ideology of patriarchal society and customs at that time, Angela keeps the family complete, gives up the right to pursue happiness.
4.2 Resistances to patriarchy
   Ecofeminists have studied the interconnections between the domination of women and the exploitation of nature then concluded that the interconnected domination on women and nature is due to the patriarchal ideology. Ecofeminism regards the patriarchy is the origin of men’s oppression over women and nature, and the ultimate goal of ecofeminism is to break up the patriarchy. With the unbridled development of industrialization and modernization, serious environment pollution and destruction of natural system cause the scientists’ attention in Solar. Social elites gradually realized the planet was sick. They do everything they could to save the earth on the surface, in fact for fame and money, such as Beard and Braby. While women in this novel are different from the selfish and violent male characters. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of female in this novel, tolerant women and new women, both of them treats nature and environment protection as ways to make money and honor, on the contrary, they think nature is sacred. Saving the planet is the most important task for they want to get along well with nature. Their typical womanliness is the key to liberate nature and women from male-domination.
4.2.1 Tolerant women
   Melissa Browne, a beautiful woman, is Beard’s only viable love in his life in English. She is very patient to Beard. Also thinks Beard is a brilliant scientist like other women. Melissa is a economically independent woman who owns three shops in North London selling dance clothes, an economically minded person. Eighteen years younger than Beard but mature enough to tolerant Beard’s absence, because she knows “he was bound to see the matter her way in the end”.(McEwan, 2010: 184) Beard treats Melissa’s dance studio and apartment as harbour of refuge. Melissa’s unplanned pregnancy shocked him because he “privately swore to himself that he would never become a father”.(McEwan, 2010: 206) Influenced by the inner motherhood, Melissa believes Beard could be a loyal husband and responsible father and insists on giving birth to Catriona Beard. For three years old Catriona, her father is hero who is busy on saving the world. In fact, Beard’s refusal to be a father indicates his selfish and irresponsibility.
   On account of nature’s connection with women, women always think saving nature is a great career. One of Beard’s lover in American, Darlene, a waitress, also proud of his environmental protection industry, “but honey, the main news is you. Lordsburg was on NBC last night, and CNN was filming on Main Street yesterday right by the Exxon station, and everyone’s talking about tomorrow. I’m so proud of you!”(McEwan, 2010: 289)
4.2.2 New women
   Maisie Farmer, Beard’s university friend and his first wife, an active supporter of women’s liberation movement. After graduation from university, she gives up her original intention to study for a Ph. D. on Aphra Behn and engages on social security benefit instead of a job in the university library. She could be an active woman at that time. Maisie studies the theory of sociology, attends a group managed by a collective of Californian women and starts up a class by herself. As the raising of female consciousness, “she confronted the blatant fact of patriarchy and her husband’s role in a network of oppression”.(McEwan, 2010: 240) Maisie treats women’s movement as a mirror, everything is different,but Beard’s patriarchal mind does not change. He believes that ‘it (housework) bored him more than it did her”.(McEwan, 2010: 240) Beard always refuses to change then Maisie decides to leave him to join a commune forming in the sodden hills of mid-Wales. She indulges herself in the enjoyment of women and nature.
   Social anthropologist Nancy Temple is the only woman in Beard’s committee. She dares to question the objective of science, in a conference with Beard and other male scientists, Temple considers “the gene was not an objective entity, merely waiting to be revealed by scientists. It was entirely manufactured by their hypotheses, their creativity, and their instrumentation, without which it could not be detected”.(McEwan, 2010: 151) Beard and other male physicists feel embarrassed because of their insistence on the traditional concept. Her calmness statement causes a stir, in order to quell the uproar Beard says “it was true, women were underrepresented in physics and always had been”. Later, there is a debate between Nancy Temple and Beard and others on “Women and Physics”, Beard “shared the platform with various academics from the humanities, most men, all hostile”.(McEwan, 2010: 158) Temple dares to break up the deep rooted patriarchy social bias, male-centered culture and male dominance in the discourse publicly means her endeavor and awakening of female subject consciousness.

4.3 Human nature and solving crisis
   McEwan finds a way to solve the problem as he says to Daniel Zalewski, “global warming suddenly wasn’t an abstract issue, because humans had to solve it — untrustworthy, venal, sweet, lovely humans”.(Zalewski, 2009: 2) McEwan regards the origin of environmental crisis is human nature.
   Solar takes the global environment crisis as the background and regards humanity is the way to solve crisis which caught lots of attention from critics. The development of industrial civilization does tremendous harm to nature, human beings constant desire and selfish intensify the crisis between human beings and nature as well as men and women. Female characters in the novel seemingly controlled by male discourse, male in this novel treat nature and women as their objects of squeeze and oppression, tools of self-realization. Because of female’s natural motherhood they put up with and forgive male’s arrogant and selfish. By doing so, McEwan’s praise to women becomes self-evident. Facing the imbalanced relationship caused by human beings’ wrong. Only fully understanding female’s role in solving crisis and liberating them from patriarchal oppression, human crisis can be remission. By breaking up male’s domination and binary opposition between men and women, men and nature, to establishing harmonious and equal relationship between men and women, science and nature, get rid of human selfness and male superiority, environmental crisis and gender crisis can be solved.
Chapter Five Conclusion
   With the deterioration of the relationships between nature and men, women and men, more critics and scholars pay attention to the research on ecology, feminism and ecofeminism. Ecofeminism is born from the combination of ecology and feminism and the ultimate goal is to eliminate all kinds of oppressions in patriarchal society. Greta Gaard and Murphy describe that “ecofeminism is a practical movement for social change arising out of the struggles of women to sustain themselves, their families, and their communities. These struggles are against the male-development and environmental degradation caused by patriarchal societies, multinational balance, hierarchical and matrifocal societies, the continuance of indigenous cultures and economic values and programs based on subsistence and sustainability.”(Gaard, Murphy, 1988: 2-7)
   Critics and scholars prefer to analyzes Ian McEwan’s works from the point of ecology and feminism. As McEwan is a famous male writer who does great in describing women and nature’s connected position, and also portrays female’s virtues and redemptive power in his novels. Ecofeminism points that there is some link between men’s exploration on nature and men’s domination of women, and the double oppression on nature and women stem from the same source, that is patriarchal ideology. However, it is possible to analyze McEwan’s works from the perspective of ecofeminism. Through the ecofeminism point of view to analysis McEwan’s three representative novels from each writing period, it can be seen that the major theme in all his writing periods is the ideology of ecofeminism and his consistent awareness of ecofeminism is expressed. Meanwhile, McEwan also comes up with the way to solve nature and women’s dilemma in his novel.
   As to the relationship between female and male, McEwan does not support to shape a female dominated society in which female prevails over the male. Mutual care, mutual respect, what’s the important, mutual learning are the best way to form a harmonious relationship. Female’s unique womanhood does good for men’s backing to humanity, then men and women together to rebuilding a harmonious relationship between nature and human beings.
   As a writer with strong sense of ecofeminism, mutual care, mutual study and pay attention to human nature is the proper way to coordinate the relationship between human and nature, male and female. It is also an appropriate method to resolve ecofeminism problems in real life.


本文地址: http://www.diyilunwen.com/lwfw/yingyu/2706.html