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Climate Change and Resilience in Blaze Island

The capacity to bounce back from adversity is what we mean when we talk about resilience. Anger, grief, and pain persist despite your ability to keep operating (physically and mentally) in the face of hardship, difficulty, or trauma. Changing weather and temperatures throughout time are what scientists call “climate change.” This paper analyses the novel Blaze Island by Catherine Bush from the perspective of its characters, namely how those characters may exemplify or remark on topics that extend beyond the novel’s plot and characters’ individual experiences. This study will explore two main issues, resilience and climate change.

Catherine Bush’s novel Blaze Island examines resiliency and climate change, with people demonstrating and remarking on topics that extend beyond their own lives to present a glimpse of the global situation as it stands right now. It’s set on the rocky coast of Newfoundland in a small fishing village called Dory Harbour, and it deals with themes of resiliency and climate change. Bush provides a realistic picture of a planet experiencing severe effects of climate change yet still finding joy and optimism through the strong characterization of its residents and his detailed descriptions of that environment. The novel thus comments on the resiliency of people hardest hit by the current global scenario while also speaking to the situation itself. The tale describes Dory Harbour, a fishing community threatened by climate change and rising sea levels. This establishes the novel’s immediate context and mood.

The novel’s protagonists and antagonists are presented to the reader; they are all impacted by climate change in some way. Bush illustrates the effects of climate change on regular people by sharing their tales. The novel’s central themes—resilience and climate change—are explored via the experiences of the people of Dory Harbour. (Badia et al.,2). Despite the challenges and sufferings brought on by the changing climate, Bush demonstrates through his and his family’s experiences that individuals may still find hope and joy. The novel follows the lives of two protagonists, both of whom are 19 years old: Miranda, who lives with her climate-scientist father, Milan/Alan, and Caleb, who lives with his mother, Sylvia. The parent in either situation is the primary educator for their child. For instance: In Miranda’s example, her father imparts the survival skills and the abilities he was trained for, mostly researching the weather through lessons on managing a home powered entirely by solar panels and a wind turbine. Similarly, Caleb relies on Sylvia’s teachings in areas such as foraging, gardening, shearing sheep, rearing goats, storing fish and meat, and interpreting the weather based on changes in wind speed and cloud patterns (Bush,24).

Milan Wells, the father of Miranda Wells and a climate scientist, plays a pivotal role in Bush’s novel, which is based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and has an adaptation of Prospero. Prospero, the magician, is noted for being fixated on mastering the elements because he wants to rule over his entire world. (Badia et al.,4). However, Milan is wholly preoccupied with controlling the weather and resisting transformation. Managing the environment in Milan is a metaphor for how humans would like to work their world.

Simply put, Wells and Prospero are driven to keep their children safe. Both characters have extraordinary abilities; Prospero utilized his magic to defend the island he saw as his sanctuary, and Miranda could manipulate time. Milan, with his background in science and technology, might counteract the effects of global warming and shield Miranda from harm.

The concept of overcoming adversity, or rather resilience, is central to Blaze Island. Frank tells Miranda she should fight for what she thinks is right. Bush cites Miranda’s epiphany about resilience’s worth to stress the need for generations to stick together and the possibility of harnessing young people’s energy in the fight against climate change. Bush uses Caleb to repeat the narrative of Caliban to stress the significance of rebelling against slavery, being an outcast, and being deprived of things that are rightfully yours, like the land (Bush,25). A revolution is required to secure freedom and tranquillity. Prospero for the Anthropocene, climate change fugitive, and prisoner of conscience Alan (Milan) Wells has taken his daughter Miranda and fled to Blaze Island. They create a beautiful tension with one another. Like the weather, the effects of his choices on her are arbitrary and beyond her control. For example, consider Frank, who has a prominent father who is a compelling leader.

The protagonist, Miranda, is forced by her father to spend her life indoors. He’s not letting either get on a plane or leave the island. They live in a home that is not connected to the power grid and grow most of their food. For a while, Miranda’s father refrains from sending her to school, instead opting to spend time with her teaching her about the land and instilling in her the value of hard work and perseverance as means of preparing her for the future. Frank and his father have just arrived on Blaze Island when a violent storm hits, cutting off all communication with the outside world and isolating everyone on the island (Bush,24). As the climate crisis makes him desire a jetpack and a trip to Mars, Frank’s dad Roy wants nothing more than to go away. While this is going on, the islanders rely on their ingenuity. Even though Miranda’s horizons have broadened thanks to Frank, she knows that she has merely replaced her island perspective with a more expansive one.

Climate change and its effects on regular people are also addressed in the novel. The novel’s central conflict revolves around a father and daughter relationship: Miranda must learn to assert her independence from her irritable, recently widowed father, a climate scientist, who tries to shield her from the deteriorating state of the world by isolating her in a bubble that ends up being a prison. (Badia et al.,10). The activist son of a millionaire venture capitalist, Frank, must do more than just react negatively to his authoritarian upbringing. Then there’s Caleb Borders, who has his confrontation with the past, present, and future alongside Miranda while growing up with a father-sized hole where his absent, never-spoken-of father should have been.

The novel is relevant because it emphasizes the significance of resilience and hope in the face of climate change, which is a significant factor in the current world situation. Bush illustrates the strength of the human spirit via the stories of Rachel, Ember, Michael, and Charlie, all of whom suffer misfortune and hardship but ultimately discover happiness and optimism. This reflects the worldwide situation we find ourselves in right now because it demonstrates that it is possible to find grit and resilience in the face of the challenges we face due to climate change. In sum, Catherine Bush’s Blaze Island reflects the urgency of the current international crisis while also paying tribute to the fortitude of those who have suffered the most. Through vivid descriptions and great characterization, Bush provides a stunning picture of a planet facing severe repercussions of climate change yet still finding joy and hope. The story emphasizes the need to take climate change seriously and seek solutions while highlighting the significance of resilience and hope.

In sum, Blaze Island’s focus on fortitude in the face of adversity and the effects of climate change are remarkably prescient. As climate change’s repercussions become more apparent, people are compelled to face the sobering reality of the situation. Those who make their homes along the seaside are going to feel the effects of rising water levels first and foremost.

Work Cited

“Blaze Island by Catherine Bush is Hamilton’s must-read novel for 2021.” CBC, 2021. Accessed 8 December 2022.

Arvay, Emily. In Care of Thee. Canadian Literature. 2021. Accessed 7 December 2022.

Badia, Lynn, et al. “Climate Realism: The Aesthetics of Weather, Climate, and Atmosphere in the Anthropocene.“ Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities. University of Nebraska Press, vol. 7 no. 2, 2020, p. 1-12. Project MUSE It was accessed on 8 December 2022.

Badia, Lynn, et al. “Introduction to Climate Realism: The Aesthetics of Weather and Atmosphere in the Anthropocene.” Routledge, 2021.

Bush, Catherine. “An Artist and a Scientist on Writing and Glaciers.” Interview by Arnaud, Emmanuelle.Guelph Institute for Environmental Research. Accessed 13 December 2022.

Bush, Catherine. “Blaze Island, Catherine Bush” Interview by Dragonfly. Dragonfly, 11 October 2020. dragonfly. eco/blaze-island-Catherine-bush-2/. Accessed 11 December 2022.

Bush, Catherine. “Catherine Bush: No woman is an island — then along came COVID-19.” The Toronto Star. 2020. Accessed 9 December 2022.

Bush, Catherine. “Writing the Real.” Canadian Notes & Queries. 2020. Accessed 7 December 2022.

Bush, Catherine. Blaze Island. E-book, Goose Lane Editions, 2021.

Ghosh, Amitav. “Amitav Ghosh: where is the fiction about climate change?” The Guardian. 2016. Accessed 7 December 2022.

Grubisic, Brett Josef. “Catherine Bush’s ‘atmospheric and dramatic’ new novel “Blaze Island” offers a stormy future.” The Toronto Star. 2020. Accessed 6 December 2022.

Hood, Andrew. “Review: Blaze Island.” Bookshelf. 2020. Accessed 7 December 2022.

Larry, happy. “Islands and symbolism in literature .” Accessed 12 December 2022.

Marr, Ruth. “Blaze Island, A Journey Through Fiction, Science, and Art to Place.” The Thoughtful Rower. 2021. Accessed 7 December 2022.

Portman, Jamie. “Blaze Island, a sizzling ecological thriller set in Newfoundland.” Postmedia News. 2020. Accessed 8 December 2022.

Singh, Jyostna. “Postcolonial reading of the Tempest .”16 March 2016. British Library. Accessed 11 December 2022.

Sullivan, John.”Blaze Island offers a take on ‘The Tempest,’ with a touch of tilting .”Saltwire. Accessed 11 December 2022.

Woodbury, Mary. Wild Authors: Catherine Bush.” Artists and Climate Change. 2020. Accessed 7 December 2022.


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