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1) Background information The seminar is called “Ecocriticism” and I already ha


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1) Background information The seminar is called “Ecocriticism” and I already handed in a short comment on Callenbach’s novel Ecotopia during the summer term. The instruction for this comment was the following: “Overall, Callenbach’s dramatization of sexuality is marked by a sort of infantile fantasy of cost-free, complication-free gratification of desire.” (Jacobs 1997: 322) With the help of an example from the book, discuss how gender relations are represented by Callenbach, including representations of women, homosexuality, sexual relations, etc. I handed in the following comment: “In Callenbach’s Ecotopia, women are represented as being independent and equal to men in many respects. At the same time, they reveal a strong relationship with the natural environment both physically and mentally.
The protagonist William Weston describes the way in which Ecotopians deal with sexuality and with what Jacobs describes as a „complication-free gratification of desire“. When William encounters Marissa Brightcloud for the first time, William characterizes her as an independent woman. He points out that Marissa is “strong, warmly physical” and part of the “elected committee that runs [the forest] camp and tens of thousands of acres of forest.” (Callenbach 50) Shortly after Marissa has guided William to the camp, she asks him: “Do you want to make love with me?” (Callenbach 52) and the two of them “made love for hours” (Callenbach 53). Furthermore, Marissa “has somehow arranged” with her “regular lover in the camp” that “she can be with [William] during [his] stay.” (Callenbach 53) When looking at this passage in isolation from the whole text, the Ecotopians’ sexuality in fact seems to be “marked by a sort of infantile fantasy of cost-free, complication-free gratification of desire.” However, the notion of sexuality in the novel seems to be more complex. William’s early attempts to sexually engage with “these independent Ecotopian women” fail, because they “don’t react to [his] signals” and he “can’t get . . . to any real action.” (Callenbach 42, 34) After close analysis of the text as a whole, one can identify several passages and comments portraying a society whose understanding of sexuality is different to what we understand of it in our capital oriented society. For example, William envies the Ecotopians’ “comfortableness in their biological beings” (Callenbach 30) when reflecting about their natural way of dealing with sexuality and their natural way of life in general. Ecotopia depicts a form of sexuality that is part of a whole different way of life in general, a way of life in which men and women live in accordance with the natural environment in every respect. In fact, Marissa emphasizes her strong connection to nature when she says, “[t]his forest is my home” (Callenbach 50) and William himself points out, “[w]hat we do sexually is different from anything that has ever happened to me.” (Callenbach 54)
2) Instrucctions – In the essay, please include Jacobs paper and her statement quoted above and critically discuss it. – Focus on the character Marissa Brightcloud and her deep connection to nature and the natural environment. – please use an ecofeminist approach.
– there is no table of contents needed. – the paper should include an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. – the introduction should include a thesis statement, the approach used in the essay and an outline/ overview of the essay.
– citation: MLA style – Bibliography at the end of the paper – length: 3.000 words 3) sources I have uploaded Jacobs article “Failures of the Imagination in Ecotopia” (where you can find the quote above) as well as some other articles that Jacobs referred to in her essay. You do not necessarily need to use these particular sources in the essay (except the article by Jacobs). I have also uploaded the primary text Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach. Thank you!


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