Love as Water:
Environmental Ethics in Ponyo and The Shape of Water
Keywords:water, ecocinema, elemental ecocriticism, material ecocriticism, anthropocentrism
Analyzing two films, Ponyo by Hayao Miyazaki and The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro, this paper studies the portrayal of humanity’s complex relationship with water that refuses to present itself as static, simple, and reducible. Attending to water as a dynamic entity, it investigates the dynamics of value and agency of water in its manifested ally, rebel, and love. Engaging in the discussion of reciprocity as a way forward to a world of harmony, the paper argues how water as an equalizer can inform humans to shun their anthropocentric hubris and can help recognize the shared materiality between the human and the non-human world. Drawing on references from the recent scholarship on elemental ecocriticism, material ecocriticism, and environmental ethics, the eco-aesthetics of the films will be studied to evoke an ethical position about water’s fluidity and omnipresence that demand our respect and our recognition of the agency of the non-human world.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Shibaji Mridha
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