Essence of Technology and Ecological Disaster: A Heideggerian Reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood


  • Lanxiang Wu Southeast University, Nanjing 211189
  • Xiaolin Zhou Southeast University, Nanjing 211189



Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood, Martin Heidegger, technology


In his criticism about modern technology, Martin Heidegger etymologically examines the word “Technē” and points out that, technology, as a mode of revealing, does not solely refer to the bringing forth of truth through machine-based experiments and exploration, it also contains the poetic revealing inside which a saving power can be found. Following this argument, this paper conducts a textual analysis of Margaret Atwood’s 2009 novel The Year of the Flood and argues that the Compound elites are so delivered over to technology that they have turned everything into standing-reserve, and thereby have fueled the impending ecological disaster in their pursuit of bioengineering innovation. By contrast, a Heideggerian meditative person – Adam One, the leader of God’s Gardeners, illustrates the practice of “arts of the mind” by his words and his deeds, exemplifying the possibility of poetic revealing in an emblematic way. Although the trajectory of environmental deterioration cannot be reversed, the ending of the novel does strike a promising note by referring to music, an old form of fine arts.


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