Symbols Of Degenerating Surroundings In Itaranta’s Memory Of Water: An Ecocritical Perspective

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Ms. Nidhi, Prof. Sharda Kaushik


The interconnectivity of the various elements constituting the universe, i.e. earth, water, fire, air and space and the negligence or maltreatment of one impacting the other is a harsh reality. The study addresses these related issues in the context of Emmi Itaranta’s literary work of speculative fiction, Memory of Water. Literature, environment and ecology join hands to project the ill-effects of human activities on planet earth through two major symbols in the work, the plastic waste and the scarce water resources. As per the ancient Vedic philosophy on the existence of life at various levels, citta (memory bank) is not merely a storehouse of information but the instrument of all urges and emotional states. Its extension to human-made or self-created plastic waste mounds, and nature’s creation water bodies, shrunken or polluted due to human apathy implies that  such features can also store memories and impact the five elements of life through times and space, amplifying gains and losses. While the aspect of memory, i.e. collection in consciousness can be understood through certain ideas of Jung and the Vedic philosophy, those of ecological impacts can be interpreted in reference to ecocritical theories of material ecocriticism, discard studies, slow violence, and water democracy. The imagery created in the text has a metaphoric purpose and provides a significant insight into the interdependence of the elements of life, within and beyond human existence, i.e. in the environmental surroundings, on a cautionary note.

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