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“I Am the Eternal Green Man”: Holistic Ecology in Reading Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8894-6911
2019 (English)In: Children's Literature in Education, ISSN 0045-6713, E-ISSN 1573-1693, p. 1-14Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Holistic ecology considers nature and society as a whole, viewing humans and the environment as interdependent and interconnected. This article takes the lens of holistic ecology to examine the representation of human–nature relationships in Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls (2011) and explores how the novel guides the child reader to an environmental mind-set beyond overt didacticism. The article focuses on two aspects of the bond between the magical tree and the human characters in the novel: how the powerful tree empowers humans and how the human characters contribute to the tree’s expressions of power. The eternal Green Man—as the tree introduces itself—embodies this bond by being simultaneously tree-like and human-like, a complex merger of “the Green” (nature) and “the Man” (humanity). The monster-tree fulfils several powerful and empowering roles, such as monster and storyteller, destructive force and powerful healer, savage and philosopher, nightmare and escape. Importantly, it always keeps the shape of a yew tree. As such, A Monster Calls can contribute to children’s environmental education by illustrating the connection between the natural environment and humans: the eternal bond between “the Green” and “the Man.”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019. p. 1-14
Keywords [en]
A Monster Calls Children’s literature Trees in fiction Environmental education Holistic ecology
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Social Sciences Languages and Literature Didactics
Research subject
English and Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-75582DOI: 10.1007/s10583-019-09388-3Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85068196126OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-75582DiVA, id: diva2:1343728
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Narrating Humanity: Children's Literature in Global Citizenship EducationAvailable from: 2019-08-19 Created: 2019-08-19 Last updated: 2019-08-22

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