Environmental Narrative in Fiction

Environmental Narrative in Fiction

Authors are those who can reflect on what is happening in our world and the problems that people face. Issues related to ecology have been worrying people for many years. Accordingly, authors have also thought about these problems and addressed them in their works. Moreover, some of them proposed ways to solve environmental problems that have arisen in the face of humanity. This article will talk about several classic works that raise the topic of ecology and two utopias where the authors propose ways to solve the global problems of humanity, including those related to sustainable development. Thus, you will have something to read in your free time! 

 Boris Vasiliev “Do not shoot the white swans” 

This novel is set in a remote village with picturesque nature. Fyodor Buryanov, an energetic entrepreneur, comes to the village to work. He becomes a forester, but he does not protect nature at all. Buryanov turns a blind eye to poaching because he strives to earn more money. His family moves with him, including his wife’s sister and her husband Yegor Polushkin. He (Polushkin) is a talented carpenter but cannot find a place for himself in the village because he used to produce quality work, but quantity is required of him. As a result, he gets a job as a tour guide on a boat but doesn’t stay there for long either - it hurts Yegor to see how irresponsibly tourists treat nature. The main theme of the work is the relationship of man to nature. In the novel two different attitudes to nature collide: Buryanov lives by the principle “man is the king of nature,” and Polushkin, who loves nature and wants to preserve it. Being a representative of the Soviet school of writing, Vasiliev reveals environmental problems through the social conflict of several characters, which is extremely interesting to read about. 

Jack London “White Fang” 

This story tells the fate of a tamed wolf during the Alaska Gold Rush at the end of the 19th century. At the same time, a large part of the story is shown through the eyes of animals, in particular, the White Fang who is the wolf. The story describes the different behaviors and attitudes of people towards animals. In his early stories, which include “White Fang,” Jack London makes a comparison between man and nature. The writer shows what awaits us if we do not stop the merciless persecution of all living creatures. In a hidden subtext, London urges people to stop destroying nature. At the time of Jack London, the word “ecology” was still unknown, but the author even then described the consequences of human activity as if he could foresee several decades in advance. 

Antoine de Saint-Exupery “The Little Prince” 

The storyteller, who is a pilot, makes an emergency landing in the Sahara Desert and meets an extraordinary and mysterious boy - the Little Prince from another planet - asteroid B-612. The little prince talks about his adventures. He takes care of the planet and its few inhabitants. It is not for nothing that he tells the narrator: “I got up in the morning, washed my face, put myself in order - and immediately put my planet in order.” The author is sure that people need to learn to live differently, he knows that everyone needs clean water, fresh air, and a clear sky dotted with stars. However, for a person to have all this, he needs to think about his actions, which can have a detrimental effect on the state of the planet.  

Herbert Wells “Men Like Gods” 

This is a science fiction novel, by H.G. Wells, about a civilization of people on a planet called “Utopia”, in a parallel world where several Englishmen accidentally end up. The social structure and technological achievements of the people who built a noocratic society on Utopia are shown. The book addresses the issue of ecology and the social development of humanity. On the planet utopia, people coexist peacefully with nature: it is very beautiful, and people treat it with respect. People on this planet do not suffer from inequality and the need to work hard, unlike our world. In this novel, Wells shows what humanity should strive for in its development and how this can be achieved. 


In conclusion, literature acts as a poignant reflection of our world, with environmental concerns prominently featured nowadays in our lives. Writers addressed ecology through different stories and proposed solutions, particularly through stories about utopias. By delving into these literary perspectives, readers are invited to contemplate sustainable development and global problem-solving. So, as you delve into these classic works, they may inspire thinking about humanity's pressing environmental challenges.  

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