A Mercy

On Motherhood and Mother Earth-hood: Ecological Constructs in 'A Mercy' and 'Silent Spring' 12th Grade

Environmentally conscious writing can depict gender constructions in so many different ways depending upon what point the author tries to make. For instance, in Silent Spring, Rachel Carson focuses on how the environment impacts women much more than men. In Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, the environment acts as a symbol and a metaphor for many different aspects of womanhood and motherhood throughout the novel. Perhaps these authors chose to focus on women so explicitly because, due to the fact that women carry children and are often the primary caretakers, the state of the environment and environmental concerns affect most women more than most men. Motherhood brings about an entirely new set of environmental issues for women that Morrison and Carson are careful not to overlook.

In the article “The Place of Women in Polluted Places,” author Lin Nelson sets up a valid argument about motherhood’s importance in terms of those who become most concerned about the environment. At this point in time, it may seem obvious that environmental health and women’s health are inextricably linked. For instance, Nelson elucidates that, “there are many poorly researched, unanswered questions regarding the impact of environmental contamination on breast...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1179 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9122 literature essays, 2378 sample college application essays, 399 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in