Väderkontraktet: plats, miljörättvisa och eskatologi i Astrid Lindgrens Vi på Saltkråkan
Astrid Lindgren’s children’s novel Vi på Saltkråkan (1964) which is set in the outer archipelago of Stockholm is an ideal case for the study of a variety of eco- or “environmental critical” (Buell, 2005) themes and motifs. There is for instance, the ideo-historical motif of the representation of a number of positions on nature and the physical environment generally, from the most anthropocentric one of Vesterman over the “sociocentric” (Buell 2005) view represented by the Grankvist family, to the eco- or biocentric stand of Pelle, which is epitomized in his love and defense of all kinds of animals including the most threatening and irritating ones. There is also the ecocritical generic problem of the idyll. More themes could be named. What will be at the centre of attention in this article, however, is the motif of weather as connected to that of locale, or place, and the Melkersons and the islanders’ defense of place. I suggest that part of the novel’s environmental relevance lies in what could be understood through the metaphor of contract: the characters enter a contract of dependence through the category of weather. This contract is deeply place-related and existentially loaded. The motif of weather cuts into the idea of environmental justice (Adamson, Evans and Stein, 2002), through the Melkersons’ struggle to save Snickargården, a struggle which is shared by the islanders themselves. The weather always serves to underscore the Melkersons’ attachment to place which is one of deepest solidarity, and to home. The novel contains an escathological undercurrent related to place and to weather. In the emphasis on this, the novel offers a profound environmental insight into the dependence of human existence upon environment.
Keywords: ecocriticism; environmental criticism; Astrid Lindgren; Vi på Saltkråkan; environment; nature; landscape; place; weather; eschatology; environmental justice.
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