Retelling Nature: Realism and the Postcolonial-Environmental Imaginary in Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide
Placing itself at the interface of ecocriticism and postcolonial studies, this article seeks to explore how the realist narrative of the “environmental imaginary” acts as a conduit for multiple overlapping accounts of colonialism in Amitav Ghosh’s novel The Hungry Tide. The novel explores the lived praxis of decolonization, wherein a shared experience of the landscape offers its characters the agency to contour the gap between human and non-human, indigenous and scientific knowledge, Hindu-majoritarian citizenship and displaced refugees (from Bangladesh). The literary post-colonial novel thus offers us a meditation (and mediation) of the most challenging environmental and political questions of our times, renewing both the novel-form, as well as allowing a dramatic imaging, as well as critique, of environmental discourse (both state and subaltern). This article examines the narrative techniques of realism, historical fiction, myth, intertextuality, and linguistic texture that best express the heterogeneity of the post-colonial moment in The Hungry Tide.
Amitav Ghosh, Ecocriticism, The Hungry Tide