A real boy: masculinity, Northwestern Ontario, and Pinocchio
University of New Brunswick
In 2006, the longstanding economic prosperity generated by the natural resource sector in Northwestern Ontario abruptly collapsed. Male dominance over the natural world, a key paradigm shaping socioeconomic ideologies of the region, now had to be reframed in terms of a more passive state of reliance. My research creation project wonders what it means to be masculine in Northwestern Ontario when the everyday requirements of this identity are in a rapid flux. By way of an answer, I turn to the emerging field of academic criticism known as the ecoGothic to reread and rewrite the classic fairy tale of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, placing the didactic tale of what it means to become a real boy in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a hinterland setting in which natural resources have become inhospitable to the men that cultivate them.