The World Slowly Dies for Profit: The Portrayal of Environmental Issues in Drama

  • Ellen E. MooreEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


This penultimate chapter addresses how a genre so focused on realism represents environmental struggle. After outlining the complex lineage of the drama genre, analysis focuses on three films: The Road , The East, and Promised Land. Attention is given to how each film attributes responsibility for the environmental problem in each film as well as potential solutions. While The East and Promised Land have clearly defined environmental issues, the conditions that precipitated disaster in The Road remain tantalizingly obscure.


  1. Adams, Susan. 2013. Trust in both Business and Corporate Leaders Plummets. Forbes, January 22.Google Scholar
  2. Ashford, Joan Anderson. 2012. Ecocritical Theology: Neo-Pastoral Themes in American Fiction From 1960 to the Present. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.Google Scholar
  3. Barillas, William. 2006. The Midwestern Pastoral Place and Landscape in Literature of the American Heartland. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baron, Zach. 2012. A Star on a Trip Back to His Roots. New York Times, December 21.Google Scholar
  5. Brereton, Pat. 2015. Environmental Ethics and Film. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Bullard, Robert D. 2000. Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality, 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cusick, Marie. 2013. State Impact: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Down Controversial Portions of Act 13. National Public Radio, December 19.Google Scholar
  8. Dickinson, Tim. 2014. Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire. Rolling Stone, September 24.Google Scholar
  9. Donnelly, Brian. 2009. "“ Coke is it!”: Placing Coca-Cola in McCarthy's THE ROAD." The Explicator 68, no. 1: 70–73. doi: 10.1080/00144940903422990
  10. Eller, Donnelle. 2014. Corporate Ownership of Iowa Farms Jumps 11% in 5 Years. Des Moines Register, May 2.Google Scholar
  11. Esslin, Martin. 1976. An Anatomy of Drama. 1st American ed. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
  12. Gandy, Matthew. 2006. The Cinematic Void: Desert Iconographies in Michelangelo’a Antonioni’a Zabriskie Point. In Landscape and Film, ed. Martin Lefebvre, 315–332. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Godfrey, Laura Gruber. 2011. ‘The World He’d Lost’: Geography and ‘Green’ Memory in Cormac McCarthy’s the Road. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 52 (2): 163–175. doi: 10.1080/00111610903380113.Google Scholar
  14. Goldman, Michael. 2000. On Drama: Boundaries of Genre, Borders of Self. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jarrell, Melissa L. 2007. Environmental Crime and the Media: News Coverage of Petroleum Refining Industry Violations. New York: LFB Scholarly Pub.Google Scholar
  16. Jurgensen, John. 2009. Hollywood’s Favorite Cowboy. Wall Street Journal, November 20.Google Scholar
  17. Kaplan, E.A. 2015. Climate Trauma Foreseeing the Future in Dystopian Film and Fiction. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Katakey, Rakteem and Rajesh Singh. 2014. Toxic Pool Creeping Across India Kills Thousands of Kids Day by Day. Bloomberg, December 5.Google Scholar
  19. Letwin, David, Stockdale, Joe, and Robin Stockdale. 2008. The Architecture of Drama: Plot, Character, Theme, Genre, and Style, edited by Joe Stockdale, and Robin Stockdale. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.Google Scholar
  20. Li, Dasheng, Dong An, Yunsu Zhou, Jie Liu, and Michael P. Waalkes. 2006. Current Status and Prevention Strategy for Coal-Arsenic Poisoning in Guizhou, China. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition 24 (3): 273–276.Google Scholar
  21. Magill, Bobby. 2015. Water use Rises as Fracking Expands. Scientific American, July 1.Google Scholar
  22. McGrath, Charles. 2008. At World’s End, a Father-Son Dynamic. New York Times, May 27.Google Scholar
  23. Meinig, Donald William. 1979. The Beholding Eye. In The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays, ed. Donald William Meinig, 33–48. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mottet, Jean. 2006. Toward a Genealogy of the American Landscape: Notes on Landscapes in DW Griffith. In Landscape and Film, ed. Martin Lefebvre, 61–90. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Pfister, Manfred. 1991. The Theory and Analysis of Drama. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Phillips, Dana. 2011. He Ought Not have done it: McCarthy and Apocalypse. In Cormac McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road, ed. Sara Spurgeon, 172–188. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  27. Ramanujan, Krishna. 2012. Study Suggests Hydrofracking is Killing Farm Animals, Pets. Cornell Chronicle, March 7.Google Scholar
  28. Sargent, Epes Winthrop. 1913. The Technique of the Photoplay. New York: Moving Picture World.Google Scholar
  29. Vos, Jacob. 2009. Actions Speak Louder than Words: Greenwashing in Corporate America. (Symposium on the Environment). Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 23 (2): 673–697.Google Scholar
  30. Watson, George J. 1983. Drama–an Introduction. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Washington TacomaTacomaUSA

Personalised recommendations