Rhetorics of Resistance and Revelation: Reading Daly, Woolf and Silko as Ecofeminist Literature

Ecofeminist theory can be said to privilege the idea of immanence over transcendence in order to promote a philosophical shift towards understanding ourselves as part of nature, as fundamentally connected to all living things and the earth itself (Starhawk qtd. in Gaard 3). Restructuring society to reflect this egalitarian and ecological viewpoint necessitates a radical shift of consciousness, one that will require persistent critique of existing hierarchal structures. Religion and spirituality come under intense scrutiny in this transition, as seen in the texts I will discuss here. Daly, Woolf and Silko revive ancient and indigenous tradition in order to offer a powerful alternative to mainstream Christianity and the Western patriarchal tradition. My purpose here is to further movement towards reversing the deeply ingrained dogma of female inferiority that continues to haunt women, and to join the many feminist thinkers, philosophers, and theologians who consider Christian patriarchy a linguistic and symbolic system that no longer serves the needs of society. The concept of Goddess is a particularly useful rhetorical strategy in imagining an alternative to the status quo, as Goddess is embodied in the world and in all living things. Goddess is not simply a replacement for the noun God; rather, reviving Goddess symbolism is an act of linguistic activism designed to inspire a more reverential attitude towards women and the earth itself.