Cormac McCarthy’s fiction has been widely studied through the lens of Ecocriticism, probably because nature plays a prominent role in his novels in which the setting is often a decisive narrative element. The most relevant environmental analyses concern The Trilogy Border novels, Blood Meridian and, of course, The Road, a post-apocalyptic novel fundamentally centered on the environment issue.
The aim of this study is to investigate Child of God, the writer’s shortest novel, from an ecocritical point of view, despite the apparent absence of environmental characters in the book. Child of God could be actually seen as a McCarthy’s early concern with the twentieth-century industrial development’s impact on the environment: the early dissolution of the protagonist’s family farm, taken away by the State, for instance, coincides with the start of the human dissolution of the protagonist, a psychopath murderer. Here, McCarthy’s defiance of the environmentally reckless present is equated with the mental illness of the protagonist, Lester Ballard.
By investigating one of McCarthy's most significant early novels through an ecocritical approach, it will be possible to better understand the author's environmental turning point in his late novels as well
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