Guerrilla Gardening

When we get to reading The Year of the Flood, we’ll find this link to “guerrilla gardening” of interest.    Gardens have a long history of utopic possibility.  One of the spaces of resistance and possibility is the garden, which impossibly emerges in the otherwise blighted, dangerous, post-industrialized scene of the novel.  How does the garden evoke utopic possibility in the novel?  What does the idea of garden evoke to you?

For one, as the rise of guerrilla gardening suggests, the garden in postmodern life can be seen as representing resistance to the enclosure of public space, a “taking into our own hands” of the systems of production and consumption (i.e. subsistence) that modernity has otherwise taken out of our hands.  The industrialization of food production that accompanies postmodernity has served to exacerbate gaps between wealthy and poor, the global north and the global south, and communities of color (often urban) and whites, for instance.    Around the theme of “food”, then, we can articulate the contours of modern injustice, which the novel’s focus on the garden may be attempting to do.

How did the garden become a leitmotif of ecological resistance?  With the increasing real-life loss of public spaces in which to protest, debate, speak freely, perform, etc.– a loss that Atwood dystopically dramatizes in the novel–  the real-life “guerrilla gardening” movement has “cropped up”, so to speak, in resistance to the industrialization of food and as a reclamation of civil society vis-a-vis public space.  

How does Atwood address this tension between lost public space and resistances to that loss through her focus on the garden?   How does this relate to the Biblical “garden” to which she is also clearly referring?  How can we bring all these typologies of “the garden” to deepen our reading of the novel?


One Response to “Guerrilla Gardening”

  1. CJ Reeves II Says:

    Is it just me, or does it seems like the idea of an impending apocalypse is the hot topic of conversation now days? Everywhere we turn the notion of proleptic danger looms steadily closer to our stratosphere. To put it bluntly, the phrase “The end is near” doesn’t hold a candle to the extensional melt-down that we seem to be facing in our sooner rather- than- later future. Gone are the days of scholars and academia burrowing into their books to crack the long encrypted code of our earths end. This is something everyone (and I mean everyone) is talking about. From movies, books, YouTube videos, essays, and media coverage, the apocalypse (also known as 2012) is exploding faster than our planet. But where does this mass mania come from? When and how did we even begin to think of an end to our planet?
    Author Greg Garrard has one possible answer. In his fairly recent book Ecocriticism, Garrard makes it clear that some of human’s most ancient text are to blame. He claims widely accepted religious works (such as the Bible) helps enforce the idea of a rather violent apocalypse. This in turn causes the veil of social psychology to become rent and the magnitude of believers of this crisis thrives.
    So why not save ourselves from a whole lot of headaches, and simply come to terms with not believing. This answer is not as easily done as it may sound. In Earth First: Environmental Apocalypse by Martha F. Lee, she references another critic whom states it is because America was built around the very notion that we were chosen by God that faith in such religious aspects persist. We can then assume that it is in our very nature to hold accountable some form of that faith, and use it to map out the continuation of our world.
    Though many scholars debate the idea of religion blazing the trail of apocalyptic studies, it is not up to debate that some sort of dynamic change of our solar system will enviably take place. Whether it is 2012 or later; the world at large is cautioned to fasten our seat belts in hope to survive this bumpy ride.

    *To check out some YouTube media on the apocalypse click these links below*

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