Writing the Ethics of Water in Michael Ondaatje, Thomas King, and Anne Michaels
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In July 2010, the United Nations declared access to water and sanitation a human right. Certainly a success for water rights advocates worldwide, this resolution also poses a number of questions, such as how to find and distribute this water on a planet that is running out of fresh water (Barlow et al, Blue Gold xi). With this question in mind, this thesis looks at the treatment of water management projects in Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion (1987), Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water (1993), and Anne Michaels’ The Winter Vault (2009). More specifically, it examines the ways competing visions of the common good and of what development should (and should not) look like are imbricated therein. In so doing, my discussion focuses on the inextricability of social justice from water justice and it suggests that narrative can play a key role in connecting the two.