Debunking Anthropocentrism for Environmental Justice: An Ecocritical Analysis of Richard Powers’ The Overstory

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Kanza Fatima Mirza
Mehak Arfan Rana
Rehan Ahmad


This article delves into Richard Power’s most famous and acclaimed work The Overstory using ecocritical lens to unfold its intricate representation of human connections with the natural world and the challenge it poses to anthropocentric narratives.  The dominant cultural, philosophical, literary and political narratives of the contemporary modern age have highly been occupied with the notion of anthropocentrism, prioritizing human perceptions, ideologies, interests and desires over those of the natural world. By closely examining the novel's theme and narrative structure, this article highlights how Powers' work convinces the readers to reconsider their perceptions about nature. Through the lens of ecocriticism, the paper dissects the characters' transformative journey confronting the anthropocentric narratives for more equitable and sustainable connections between human race and the natural ecosystem. Through this exploration, the article underscores the magnitude of The Overstory as a stimulus for reshaping outlooks on human-nature relationships. It highlights how the book, by debunking anthropocentrism, calls for a holistic review of the environment and ultimately focuses on the necessity of collective efforts for environmental justice and advocacy. In illuminating the transformative prospect of literature, this analysis underlines the role of ecocriticism in portraying a more harmonious coexistence between humanity and the non-human nature. As Powers' narrative weaves together the fates of its characters with the fate of our planet, it beckons us to re-evaluate our roles as guardians of the planet and promoter of a just, harmonious future.

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Kanza Fatima Mirza, Mehak Arfan Rana, & Rehan Ahmad. (2024). Debunking Anthropocentrism for Environmental Justice: An Ecocritical Analysis of Richard Powers’ The Overstory. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN AND SOCIETY, 4(1), 546-559. Retrieved from