M.A. in English Language and Literature
University of Kerala
Ecocriticism is a slowly yet steadily developing literary theory that gained prevalence in the early 1990s. Ecocriticism is the study of the relationship that literature shares with the natural environment. Easterine Kire is a prominent writer from Nagaland, India and her novel, When the River Sleeps, narrates the story of Vilie, a lone hunter, who undertakes a dangerous journey in quest of a river that frequently appears in his dreams. This paper is an attempt at an ecocritical reading of this novel which is set in the beautiful hills of Nagaland. The forest is home to a lot of characters in the novel and nature is presented as an empowered, benevolent provider which protects all those who take refuge in it. Nature is also presented as a place of retreat and sanctuary and it becomes almost like a character in the novel as it helps Vilie overcome the fear of not just people but also spirits.
Keywords: Ecocriticism, Pastoral, Wilderness, Personification, Sanctuary.