Rao Na is a PhD candidate at the Department of English, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She is also a Lecturer at Guizhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Guizhou, China. Her research is related to the ecocriticism of young adult literature.
Florence Toh Haw Ching (PhD) is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of English, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She has undergraduate background in English Language Studies and postgraduate research experience in children’s literature, Shakespearean texts, and interdisciplinary literary studies. She supervises candidates in literature and translation.
Hardev Kaur Jujar Singh (PhD) is an Associate Professor at the Department of English, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her research interests are African and Caribbean literature and trauma studies.
Diana Abu Ujum (PhD) is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her most recent journal and book chapter publications delve into local popular romance fiction and social networking. Her research areas encompass postfeminist fiction, young adult fiction, popular fiction, and digital humanities.
Hasyimah Mohd Amin (PhD) received her doctoral degree from the University of Sydney, Australia in 2020. She teaches at the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her research interest is African American women’s contemporary fiction.
Non-anthropocentrism and Environmental Ethics in Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet (1986)
Abstract: Young adult books serve as important resources to educate the young on moral values, implicitly or explicitly. Young adult literature with a focus on nature presents various interactions between the human characters and the nonhuman entities within the fictional texts. Due to the simplicity of their vocabulary, however, these texts are often ignored in literary studies, particularly in the scholarship of ecocriticism. The American author Gary Paulsen’s young adult wilderness survival fiction, Hatchet (1986), presents insightful human-nonhuman relationships between the protagonist, 13-year-old Brian, and the environmental entities he encounters in the green woods of North Canada. This study interprets the manifestations of non-anthropocentric human-nonhuman relationships and investigates the rules of non-maleficence, non-interference, and fidelity in environmental ethics in the selected text. Drawing on Paul Warren Taylor’s concepts from Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics (1986), the study reveals Brian’s weakened human superiority when placed in a vulnerable position among the nonhuman entities within the environment where he temporarily dwells. The paper argues that, while most of Paulsen’s books portray the common struggle of man against nature, the selected text depicts how man is forced to follow the laws of nature rather than fight against them. This study aims to contribute to the critical appreciation and understanding of Paulsen’s Hatchet, as it adds to the scholarship of young adult literature in the field of ecocriticism.
Keywords: Gary Paulsen, Hatchet, young adult literature, non-anthropocentrism, environmental ethics