Ecocritical Hues in Christy Lefteri’s “Songbirds”: The Dissolution of the Human/Nonhuman Distinction
Keywords:Christy Lefteri, human/nonhuman, Philip Larkin, ecocriticism, community
The human/nonhuman distinction is a significant theme in ecocriticism, which tries to undermine this dichotomy and make us rethink the human relationship with nature and other creatures. This paper argues that Christy Lefteri’s latest novel Songbirds (2021) dispels this hierarchical dualism through the portrayal of a golden mouflon ovis, a wild sheep native to the Caspian region and an extremely meaningful animal in the story: it comes to represent nature and eventually leads to the assimilation of the human and nonhuman spheres. By comparing the description of the mouflon ovis with the hedgehog in “The Mower” (1979) by Philip Larkin, I will attempt to bring to the foreground the similarities between both animal representations and the strong ecocritical hues in Lefteri’s description. Furthermore, the paper aims to show how the author depicts an interspecies and inter-elemental community – in which not only the animate dimension, but also the inanimate sphere is given value and importance – through the representation of the mouflon ovis, the motif of gold and specific passages in the novel.
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