Madness as Ecological Consciousness in Bole Butake’s Lake God and John Nkengasong’s Black Caps and Red Feathers
This paper seeks to demonstrate that madness is not perceived in its strict sense but it can equally stand for ecological sensitization as indicated by Butake and Nkengasong’s dramaturgy. The plays of these playwrights indicate that environmental advocacy is a strange phenomenon in the universe and is welcomed by a few persons in the community who are regarded as strange beings in the midst of destructive and domineering humans. The paper argues that modernity and technological development have blinded humanity to an extent that anyone who still holds to environmental conservation is seen as a mad person. Madness is a complex word and the root cause of stigmatization, whose existence and concreteness can be seen in its interpretation. Its paradox lies in its existence or complexities when analyzed. According to Sueellen Campbell, madness is an aspect of the society which humans do not want to accept. Wild, on her part, sees madness as the strange behaviour or frenzy state in man. Madness exposes some realities of man’s true self which he does not want to acknowledge in his life/ society. The methodology adopted for this paper is a comparative and an analytical study of the texts. The article is predicated on the hypothesis that madness is not often regarded in its pure state but often incubates a certain reality when analysed.
The theoretical framework used for the analysis of this paper is ecocriticism that addresses the question of ecological consciousness. Ecocriticism is a theory of literary criticism that studies the relationship between literature and the physical environment as defined by Glotfelty Cheryll and it is relevant in treating the issues discussed here. This work is based on Sueellen Campbell’s tenet which holds: “From the Middle Ages on, in different ways at different times, we have called mad what we do not want to acknowledge in ourselves, what we do not want to acknowledge in our society […]” Glotfelty & Fromm, 128). It considers madness as a means of societal escapism from environmental truth. Campbell’s view is of interest as he evokes the term madness which is in light with the objective of the paper. Only abnormal people dodge from societal obligations and stigmatise the just as they are called mad. The conclusion arrived at is that environmental protection is still observed by a handful of persons as a reality. Humans have a long way to go and need sensitization talks in order for it to be understood. Those interested in ecological conservation are termed mad and end up with name calling/ stigmatized as mad.
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