“The Ecology of Paradise”

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In “Rushing to Paradise,” through the main protagonists, Dr. Barbara and Neil Dempsey, Ballard tells the story of a pseudo-ecofeminist group on Saint-Esprit, a Pacific atoll located 600 miles southeast of Tahiti. Dr. Barbara campaigns on television for environmental protection and saving the island’s albatross population, but her ultimate goal is the construction of an ecotopia on Saint-Esprit. She eventually succeeds in attracting people from around the world to join the environmental movement. However, over time, Dr. Barbara euthanizes the men who have emigrated to Saint-Esprit; hence, the island is transformed into a republic for women only. Dr Barbara conceives men as a “male race,” the elimination of which will result in a biological enhancement of the island’s human population. In the novel, men are a metaphorical representation of an inferior race. Echoing French social theorist Michel Foucault’s views, she wields her influence over male residents through racism and what Foucault termed biopower, to the subjugation and control of populations. Drawing on a Foucauldian perspective of biopolitics, this article explores the correlation between the ecotopia of Saint-Esprit, Dr. Barbara’s environmental protection campaign, and her practice of euthanasia.