Mayer, Sylvia (2019):
"Oil Fiction as Risk Fiction: Inhabiting Risk in Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit." Green Letters 23.2: 168-178.
Journal Article

This essay discusses Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit as environmental risk narrative. The novel contributes to the literary history of oil in the United States by exploring from a risk perspective an infamous period of Native American history in the 1920s, the catastrophic events that developed from the discovery of oil in Northern Oklahoma’s ‘Indian Territory.’ Reading Mean Spirit as risk narrative provides a specific way of knowing about oil, about its economic, social, and cultural meanings. The novel’s focus on how oil-related risks shape its characters’ lives shows that oil cultures must be regarded as risk cultures in which various risks unfold their shaping power – risks that are voluntarily taken and risks that must involuntarily be endured. Through its focus on risk, Mean Spirit draws attention to the fact that uncertainty and instability have always marked the cultural history of oil in the United States.