The Nurturing River in Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s You: An Ecocritical Reading
Arguing that critical approaches to urban literature have often undermined the role of rivers, the present analysis will look at the emotional power that the river Liffey brings about in Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s debut novel You (2010). Informed by ecocritical theory, the discussion will tackle issues connected to the effects of urban and semi-urban habitats on the shaping of the individual mind, in a way that will challenge the traditional divide between city and countryside. It will consequently contend that the protagonist’s perception and relation to the places she inhabits can be explained in terms of the notions of topophilia and ecophobia, with the sole purpose of subverting them. The analysis will finally suggest that the comforting sound of whirls, the lulling effect of the current of the river, is the nurturing element that stands between the laws of nature and those of society, blending life with death and allowing the possibility for rebirth.
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