A Literary Perspective on the Environment: Rethinking Development through Art

Davi Silva Gonçalves


Due to the environmental crisis that chokes contemporaneity, it is of paramount importance for society to rethink our physical and abstract behaviours towards nature. Ecocriticism, providing a bridge between literature and nature, allows us to reorganise proven problematic notions, such as progress and development, which tend to gradually separate human beings from the space they occupy. Such separation results in a detachment that hinders our ability to transcend metropolitan, narrow-minded, biased judgments regarding the future of developing countries like Brazil, and perhaps artistic tools like literature are the only ones capable of broadening our reflections for inviting us to go beyond preconditioned perspectives. This article aims at showing how Milton Hatoum’s novel The Brothers (2000) implies that we must look for distinct possibilities of developing our spaces, more specifically the Amazon, and, through the analysis of the book as well as the impact of development on the region, the dialogue between literature and nature is proposed. First the theoretical approach on both nature and literature is delineated, followed by a discussion on how important it is to (re)connect subjects and environment, and then by analysing the novel’s characters which evince the side effects of “progress” and “growth” in the Amazonian region. The result is a problematisation of normative dichotomies such as savage/civilised, past/future, subject/space, underdeveloped/developed, and the conclusion that, for development to stop being detrimental to nature, we shall avoid believing in a “faceless environment” (Campbell, 18), that is, one needs to start observing the impact of such development on the lives of those inevitably and automatically marginalised by it.


literature; development; environment.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5380/dma.v29i0.31902

Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente. ISSN: 1518-952X, eISSN: 2176-9109

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