A Postcolonial Ecocritical Reading of Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller

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Phacharawan Boonpromkul

Abstract

Zakes Mda’s novel The Whale Caller (2005) is a story about the extraordinary relationship between a man, a woman, and a whale. Set in the post-apartheid South Africa and involving issues like bestiality, animal conservation, and environmental degradation, the novel invites postcolonial and environmental reading. After laying out some of the relevant scholarly criticisms, this research article will engage four topics of interest to postcolonial ecocritics: the history of agricultural exploitation during the period of colonialism in South Africa, postcolonial tourism, whale conservation, and the challenge of global animal protection in relation to environmental justice. Throughout the study, the overlapping interests, as well as tension and conflicts, between the postcolonial and environmental criticisms will be underlined in order to show the possibility of interdisciplinary collaboration between the two fields. The research article will also shed light on the complexity and inextricability of the environmental problems and the global economic disparity, which have been brilliantly presented throughout this novel.

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