The Lack of Transnationalism in All Over Creation

In a sub-point within Heise’s “Ecocriticism and the Transnational Turn in American Studies,” she asserts that novels such as Ozeki’s All Over Creation “tend to rely on the assumption that cultural and biological diversity refer to analogous structures in social and ecological systems” (400).  She also claims the narrative device of equating humans and plants “is ultimately not an environmentalist one” (399).  As we discussed the novel in class, some biblical comparisons were drawn to Ozeki’s narrative devices.  These comparisons beg the question whether the metaphors and characters within the novel should be interpreted allegorically.  Yumi, for instance, is characterized throughout as taking a cavalier and self-indulgent approach to crucial responsibilities.  However, Yumi’s part-time narration of the story reveals no truly wicked intentions.  Rather, her judgment is disastrous leading Cass to reproach her behavior and neglect: “…I just can’t stand to watch you treat such a blessing with such…such carelessness” (390).  This hubristic carelessness leads to numerous undesirable predicaments.  Yumi eventually realizes the trick is “to accept the responsibility and forgo the control” (410), and she and her surrounding cast regain harmony.  Yumi in this instance is an allegorical everywoman who is able to overcome her fatal flaw.  Her careless handling of her loved ones naturally equates to a careless handling of plants and nature in the novel.  Ultimately, this ethical resolution of environmental complications through allegorical representation remains problematic according to Heise’s main argument calling for a transnational turn within ecocriticism.  Specifically, the failure to include “(a) more sustained engagement with theories of culture globalization and a finer-grained analysis of the conflicts and confluences between cultural, economic, political, and technological globalization process” (401)by Ozeki discredits the ecological logic behind the text.

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