Environmental Text: Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl Essay

Environmental Text: Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl Essay

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Nature writing can be found in numerous genres and each can portray different opinions, thoughts, examples, solutions, etc. Therefore, setting up a general set of guidelines allows people the opportunity to define what is meant by nature writing. Defining genre can be highly influential when readers are trying to capture the essence of what they are reading. Lawrence Buell’s four criteria for what constitutes an “environmental text,” provide a basic set of understandable guidelines. However, as the criteria stand they are too directed at the factual context and overlook the “experience” or emotional resonance of reading such works.
Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, is a great example of an environmental text that addresses both the usefulness and limitation of Buell’s criteria. This climate fiction or cli-fi novel sets the tone and raises awareness about the major threats of climate change. It is set in the future when globalization fell apart and the world is in a genetically engineered nightmare where the oil based market has failed. Bacigalupi’s book is a great novel to emphasize the blind spot about emotional experience that is created by the close symbiotic relationship between the environment and people and how this relationship resonates. This novel also provides a perfect example of work that fits in line with each of Lawrence Buell’s criteria and certainly qualifies as an “environmental” text.
Lawrence Buell’s four criteria are easily embraced as they are highly applicable to what we consider nature writings. For instance, one of the criteria suggest it should provide evidence that the consequences of the environment affect the interests of other aspects of the world beyond just human interests. For example, in ...


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...s and provides supporting evidence that the novel shows that nature is ever changing, the nonhuman environment is relevant, there is human accountability, and that human interest is not exclusive. Bacigalupi’s narrative also provides evidence of the overlooked aspect of the reading “experience” within the criteria. When you read this gut wrenching novel of constant turmoil and unease it creates an awareness of the potential for environmental destruction. To omit the emotional experience of this book would eliminate the potential to emphasize the consquences of certain behavior by introducing connections.


Works Cited

Nordquist, Richard. "Grand Style Rhetoric." About.com Grammar & Composition. About.com, 2014. Web. 04 May 2014. .

Bacigalupi, Paolo. The Windup Girl. San Francisco: Night Shade Books, 2009. Print.

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