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Walls, Rachel (2007)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
This thesis explores the global, local and regional intersections of Douglas Coupland’s Vancouver fiction. Observing that Coupland’s generation came of age during the most recent and most intense phase of globalisation, I postulate that Coupland’s work shows how globalisation has affected his and subsequent generations by radically altering relationships to place including nation and region. I also argue that the rapidity of changes in the era of globalisation has led to anxiety about apocalypse and ambiguity about the idea of home. I examine evidence of this in Coupland’s Vancouver situated texts, Life After God, Girlfriend in a Coma, and Hey Nostradamus. Chapter One begins with a survey of recent writing on globalisation, arguing that an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to fully understand the ramifications of globalisation, its relationship to culture, and its effects on nation and region. I then move towards a focus on literary criticism and the changing and overlapping connotations of region and nation in literary studies. Chapter Two investigates Coupand’s visions of apocalypse, arguing that they are a product of geographical and generational anxiety. Geographical anxiety is illustrated by Coupland’s literary mapping of the Northwest Coast and Vancouver as an apocalyptic space, and the generational anxiety stems from an upbringing in the Cold War and the instability brought by globalisation. I suggest that Coupland ultimately rejects the notion of the apocalypse in favour of prophetic eschatology which demands the revision of the existing world. Chapter Three looks at ideas of home, how these are changing in the globalised world and how Coupland’s work draws attention to this. I argue that although he advocates alternative, non-place based conceptions of home, he also he simultaneously reinforces the idea that home is attached to place by mapping Vancouver and the Vancouver suburb in which he was raised in much of his fiction. I conclude that he emphasises family and community throughout his texts and is consistently forward looking, imagining and envisioning the future locally and globally.

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