“There's a Storm Coming!”: Reading the Threat of Climate Change in Jeff Nichols's Take Shelter

Agnes Woolley

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This essay identifies an imaginative impasse in relation to our cultural understanding of the climate change threat, and argues that narrative fiction is well-placed to explore the historically situated experiences of, and vulnerability to, a changing environment. In dramatising what Mike Hulme describes as the “psychological dissonance” engendered by the environmental crisis, Jeff Nichols’s 2011 film Take Shelter suggests alternative ways of knowing our environment to the empirical modes within which contemporary discourses of climate change operate. The tension between metaphor and materiality in the film presents a challenge to the rationalist discourses that have shaped humanity’s relationship to nature historically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-191
Number of pages18
JournalInterdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
Issue number1
Early online date22 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • climate change
  • film

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