Capitalism's Little Shop of Horrors: Human Desires and their Ecocritical Consequences in Climate-Fiction Literature

Keni Brown Wilmington College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Bonnie Erwin Wilmington College
Little Shop of Horrors’ duality of funny climate-fiction and 1950s-horror-spoof provides a satirical narrative to the heliotropic dystopia that awaits after neoliberal capitalism has overgrown its toxic roots. Little Shop challenges audiences’ ethics and values by focusing on caricatures of human desire as metaphors for the working-class America that governmentality, or specifically the biopolitical manipulation spread from corporations and the government itself, is exploiting through marketing and brand culture. With Little Shop as my lens, I claim that biopolitics are the main catalyst that keeps the Capitalocene* in motion, which then systemically destroys the environment from the side-effects of mass consumerism that initiate severe human-induced climate change. Nature itself then adapts to this threat and imitates the same biopolitical methods of sovereignty, government management, and discipline that the Capitalocene utilizes. Audrey Two (A2), a supernatural plant that evolves its plant biosemiotics into human semiotics and spoken language through the deliberate absurdity of drinking human blood, is the symbol of vengeful biopower sent forth to reclaim the planet’s environment from the parasitic Capitalocene. This redeems Little Shop not only as a hidden work of satirical merit and biopolitical relevance, but a new step forward for ecocritics in determining what qualifies as canon within environmentally themed fictional writing.
* As a focused time within the Anthropocene, or “age of humans,” author Jason Moore describes the Capitalocene as the “age of capital,” or the emergence of modern states with capitalist economic policies that reap obvious ecological consequences.
English Literature & Creative Writing
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:30 AM
Jordan Hall 303