‘Violence against the Earth is Violence against Women’: The Rape Theme in Women’s Eco-Narratives

by Deborah Saidero

The metaphorical connection between women and the Earth is a recurring literary trope which is often articulated through the theme of rape. In many narratives the sexual abuse of women is, for instance, equated with the colonial penetration and conquering of the land. Today many women writers have undertaken a plight to subvert destructive colonialist and capitalistic attitudes that have normalized violence against women’s bodies and against the Earth. This essay analyses the theme of rape in the works of three Canadian novelists (Maracle, Brand and Atwood) whose eco-narratives summon environmental justice by retrieving an ethos of respect for the woman-land connection.