Real Life and Magic
: An Inquiry into the Expression of Deep Ecology in Children’s Literature

  • Melanie Newman

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


For centuries, the significance of storytelling in developing the way we see the world has been acknowledged and analysed. In a time when we are facing such huge global issues as climate change, resource depletion and species extinction, what sort of stories should we tell our children? The truth is that adults have little idea of how to tackle the issues and it seems clear that our attitude towards the natural world has contributed to many of the problems that their generation will inherit.
In recent years there has been a call from many environmentalists to find a new approach to story: one which will help us to form a more life-sustaining relationship with our natural environment. Deep ecology as a worldview offers one way of developing such a relationship through reconsidering anthropocentric viewpoints and extending the sense of the self to encompass the whole of life in all its many forms.
In light of David Abram’s call for writers to reconnect the written word with the land, this thesis explores the practice of creative writing in order to express some of the concepts of deep ecology in children’s fiction. Specifically it draws out issues of developing a stronger connection with the natural world as reality and of reconnecting logic with intuition. The thesis is comprised of two elements: the first part is a novel for children aged between ten and thirteen years as an experiment in putting theoretical ideas into practice and the second part is a critical reflection on my own experience of deep ecology in relation to the writing of the creative piece.
Date of Award30 Jul 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorAndrew Melrose (Supervisor) & Gill Coleman (Supervisor)

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