The Detrimental Impacts of Poppy Monoculture on Indigenous Subjects, Plants and Animals in Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Foreign Languages, Kharazmi Universiity, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of English Language and Literature, North Tehran Branch,Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Critically reading Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, the present paper attempts to explore the impacts of colonization on indigenous subjects, plants and animals. To trace the detrimental effects of colonialism on both environment and people in Sea of Poppies, this study foregrounds the reflection of the obligatory cultivation of poppy under the rule of British colonizers in India. Sea of Poppies is indeed a portrayal of the catastrophic policies enforced in India by British colonizers in the nineteenth century. In his seminal novel Ghosh deals with the changes brought about by the lucrative cultivation of poppy in the exacerbation of the financial status of indigenous subjects. Environmental devastation and the changes in the normal behavior of animals are also dealt with. Focusing on the theoretical frameworks proposed by Graham Huggan and Helen Tiffin, this paper explores the convergence of postcolonialism and ecocriticism in Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies to indicate that not only were native people impoverished during colonialism in India, but also the ecosystem was severely damaged.


Abdoli, Saeed, and Leila Baradaran Jamili. “Double Colonization of Indian Women in Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies.” Journal of Novel Applied Sciences 3, 1 (2014): 1524-1530.

Bhushan, Ravi. “Deconstructing Human Society: An Appreciation of Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies.” Language in India: Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow 10,1 (2010): 131-142.

Buell, Lawrence. The Future of Environmental Ecocriticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2005.

Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2004.

Ghosh, Amitav. Sea of Poppies. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Glotfelty, Cheryll and Harold Fromm, Eds. The Ecocriticism Reader Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Georgia: the University of Georgia Press, 1996.

Gupta, Ashish, and Siddharth Pandole. ‘‘Sea of Poppies: A Socio Cultural Evolution of Indian Diaspora: A Saga of Struggle.’’ The Creative Launcher. 1,1 (2016): 12-22.

Huggan, Graham, and Helen Tiffin. ‘‘Green Postcolonialism.’’ Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. 9,1 (2011): 1-11.

Maral, Priyanka. “Portrayal of Women in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies.” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention. 2,5 (2013): 46-48.

Rai, Pajesh, and Andrea Marion Pinkney. "The Girmitiyas Journey in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies." History, Narrative, and Testimony in Amitav Ghosh’s Fiction. Ed. Chitra Sankaran. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2012: 65-78.

Sowmiyalatha, R., and M. Kalaiarasan. “Colonial History in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea Of Poppies.” Language in India. 18, 4 (2018): 358-361.

Sreehas, S., and Santhosh Kumar. "The Voices of the Voiceless: A Study of Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh". Language in India. 18, 3 (2018): 398-403.

Vankar, Gopal. “Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies: A Historical Perspective.” Research Guru: Online Journal of Multidisciplinary Subjects. 11, 2 (2017): 120-124.