Sustainability in Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer

Subject: Sociology
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 696
Topics: Sustainability, Agriculture, Book, Leadership

Table of Contents

Literature Review

In discussing the concept of sustainability, it is important to start with the identification of what has been sustained. Once the crucial elements of sustainability have been recognized, educators can begin with the process of pinpointing the specific steps. Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer gives various instances in which the concept of sustainability has been explained. For example, the character Lusa is used to illustrate the impact of different farming practices that can affect the environment and influence the viability of the future human generations. Barbara Kingsolver continues to argue that some human activities such as the killing of some insects may cause adverse effects on agriculture (Laughlin). Besides, further studies have shown that the killing of predators may result in an uncontrollable population of pests.

Moreover, leadership and organizational culture are essential requirements in sustaining the concept of sustainability (Marshall 266). The studies argue that a well-structured corporate culture is a catalyst that can ensure that the business and other activities are sustained properly. However, it is advisable to make sure that the concept of organizational culture is well communicated to all individuals within the business or any other organization. Consequently, Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer gives a framework in which the corporate culture can be enhanced in the operations of a firm. While writing a literature review of a novel, it is important to read the text twice, in the first reading, it should be deeper, scientifically based, and aimed at identifying the underlying theme presented by the author. From the agricultural theme introduced by Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, it is clear that farming activities have been recognized as a way in which future sustainability can be improved. Through Lusa, who uses organic farming methods, the author proves the concept of sustainability in which ecosystem is maintained to prevent the deaths of the endangered specifies from becoming extinct (Baumgartner 106). 

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Furthermore, sustainability is not just about maintenance as shown by most of the past studies. It includes keeping up with new practices past the implementation year of the funding (Pretty 453). Therefore, leaders must intentionally nourish and prolong the proposed reforms by extending and adapting it over time. Similarly, the book identifies instances in which leaders have been advocates of change. In particular, Lusa is the face of change in the farming sector through the adoption of agricultural methods that do not threaten the life of insects and animals in the ecosystem.

In bringing out the theme of sustainability, many authors chose to present their arguments in different forms (Hargreaves and Fink 695). Some of the methods include the use of illustrations, interrelated stories, and case studies. In this particular case, the author has used three interconnected stories in presenting different aspects of environmental sustainability; love for conserving the natural environment, sustainable agricultural activities, and protection of the ecological balance. Some authors use novels or other forms of writing to advocate for environmental sustainability (Lawhorne). Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer is an example of how environmentally conscious individuals use literature to express their concern about conservation of the environment.

All in all, it can be summarized from the book that Kingsolver extends the knowledge of sustainability using a novel. Furthermore, many novels present activists who use stories to extend their knowledge towards a particular concept.

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  1. Baumgartner, Rupert J. “Organizational Culture and Leadership: Preconditions for the Development of a Sustainable Corporation.” Sustainable Development, vol. 17, no. 2, 2009, pp. 102-113.
  2. Hargreaves, Andy, and Dean Fink. “Sustaining Leadership.” Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 84, no. 9, 2003, pp. 693-700.
  3. Laughlin, Aubrey A. “Deconstructing Exploitative Systems and Restoring a Balanced Biosphere: An Ecofeminist Posthumanist Reading of Jane Smiley’s “A Thousand Acres” and Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer.”” ProQuest, 2016. 
  4. Lawhorne, Alison E. “Everything we Need is Here:” Restoring Environmental Bonds Through Activism in Solar Storms by Linda Hogan, Potiki by Patricia Grace, and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.” ProQuest, 2012. 
  5. Marshall, Judi. “En-Gendering Notions of Leadership for Sustainability.” Gender, Work & Organization, vol. 18, no. 3, 2011, pp. 263-281.
  6. Pretty, Jules. “Agricultural Sustainability: Concepts, Principles, and Evidence.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 363, no. 1491, 2008, pp. 447-465.
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