Postmodern Issues in Janette Turner Hospital's
Nature-Dominated Short Stories [The End-of-the
line End-of-the-world Disco] and [Our Own
Donna J. Davis
In exploring Janette Turner Hospital's use of nature imagery in her two short stories, [The End-of-the-line End-of-the-world Disco] and [Our Own Little Kakadu,] readers can identify numerous often overlapping postmodern issues, including diversity, ecofeminism,1 and postcolonial concerns. In this chapter I shall attempt to show how in her use of nature imagery Hospital touches on these postmodern issues while addressing and subverting a variety of imperialist agendas, including European techno-capitalist dominance, white-male monoculture and dominance, European linguistic dominance, and European versions of history and ways of knowing (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 33).
The landscape of Australia contains much more than the European mapmakers saw, according to Hospital, because those mapmakers were blinded by their own cultural biases (qtd. in Connolly 88–89). To Aborigines, as with peoples of many other cultures, the land, not humankind, is central. T C. McLuhan writes in The Way of the Earth: Encounters with Nature in Ancient and Contemporary Thought:[In Aboriginal Australia there is no geography without meaning or sacredness. Life is lived out in a constellation of relatedness anchored in the land. The whole of Aboriginal countryside is one living ageless family tree] (40). Indeed, W.E.H. Stanner [had seen an Aboriginal lie down and embrace the earth he walked on] (qtd. in McLuhan 42).2 Further, in reporting on her studies of the similarities and differences in the views of the nature of six cultures, McLuhan explains that for the Aborigines of Australia [perhaps more than in any other society, land is a fountain of energy that invigorates their world] (42). Indeed, the land is perceived in that culture as a living, sentient being; says one Aborigine, [That country knows who is walking about in it. It can feel who is there. It knows if a stranger comes. And it can get angry—start a bush fire, or