English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-6-2021


This dissertation examines how key environmental texts from the late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries portray animals and the changing conception of animal lives. Beginning with short stories by Sarah Orne Jewett and Jack London, the first chapter examines how early environmentally-minded writers developed animals' independent subjectivity. The second chapter analyzes how Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac (1949) and Sarah Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) promote ecological awareness by paying attention to animal time. Chapter three argues that Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire (1968) develops a layered understanding of animal consciousness. Chapter four contends that Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge (1991) merges the genre of memoir with scientific writing to chronicle animal memories. Chapter five analyzes Dan Flores’ Coyote America (2016) and Nate Blakeslee’s American Wolf (2017) as examples of animal texts that utilize history, mythology, science, and decades of wildlife watching to create a new kind of literary animal presence that accurately conveys what animals have experienced and continue to experience alongside humans.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Jesse Alemán

Second Committee Member

Melina Vizcaíno-Alemán

Third Committee Member

Jesus Costantino

Fourth Committee Member

Dan Flores

Fifth Committee Member

Mario Ortiz-Robles




environmental, animal, animals, West, ecology, subjectivity

Document Type


Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025