Past the summit: Metaphors and environmental ethics in mountaineering narratives
Mountaineering narratives, non-fiction accounts of climbing expeditions, are ripe for ecocritical study. Climbing narratives address human action in the wilderness, often ending in heroic success or miserable tragedy. It is only natural to ask the question, how do mountaineering texts envision the environment? In mountaineering narratives, metaphors reveal attitudes towards the environment. Many metaphors visualize the mountains as objectives, enemies, and arenas for human competition. However, recent mountaineering texts offer a wider range of metaphors, some of which construct more sustainable environmental ethics. These sustainable metaphors of goddess and spirit encourage participation in an interconnected relationship between earth and humanity. This interconnectedness in turn creates a more humane society. So, by understanding the inherent assumptions in language, we can choose to resist metaphors that allow us to harm the world and instead choose metaphors that will help us keep the entire biotic community beautiful and stable.
0295: Comparative literature