Representation of Protagonists in Geographic Literature and Media.


In literature and media, protagonists are often the characters who drive the plot and are at the center of the story. It is through their journeys, experiences, and perspectives that the readers or viewers are able to understand and engage with the world around them. In the field of geography, the representation of protagonists in literature and media plays a critical role in shaping our understanding of human-nature interactions, landscapes, and cultures.

One of the most significant ways in which protagonists are presented in geographic literature and media is through their experiences and relationships with the physical environment. This can be seen in works of fiction, such as adventure novels set in remote or exotic locations, or in travel documentaries that showcase the diversity and beauty of different landscapes. For example, in Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild,” the protagonist, Buck, is a dog who is forced to adapt to living in the harsh terrain of the Yukon. Through his trials and triumphs, readers are introduced to the natural features of this region and the challenges of survival in a remote, wild environment.

Similarly, protagonists in media, such as television shows or films, are often portrayed as adventurers or explorers who embark on physical journeys. These journeys not only highlight the beauty of different landscapes but also shed light on the human-environment relationship. The popular television series, “Planet Earth,” features protagonists such as wildlife photographers and conservationists who bring the audience closer to the wonders of the natural world and the need for its preservation.

Moreover, protagonists in geographic literature and media can also represent cultural and social landscapes. This is particularly evident in works that explore the lives and experiences of marginalized communities. For instance, in the novel “Purple Hibiscus” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the main character Kambili is a young girl from a wealthy and Catholic family. Through her struggle to break free from her oppressive upbringing and find her identity in the tumultuous political and cultural landscape of Nigeria, readers are exposed to the complex interplay between religion, politics, and culture in the country.

In the media, protagonists representing cultural landscapes are also portrayed in various forms, such as news reports, documentaries, and reality TV shows. These mediums can offer deep insights into different cultures, traditions, and ways of life. For example, the award-winning talk show, “Parts Unknown,” hosted by Anthony Bourdain, showcases the diversity of global food cultures and the underlying socio-political dynamics of each country he visits.

Furthermore, protagonists in geographic literature and media also have the power to challenge stereotypes and redefine societal norms. In recent years, there has been a push for diverse representation in literature and media, and geographers have played a key role in this movement. Through their works, protagonists from underrepresented groups and marginalized communities have been given a voice and a platform to share their unique perspectives and experiences. For example, in the novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, the protagonist, a Native American teenager named Junior, navigates the challenges of growing up on a reservation while attending a predominantly white school. The novel challenges stereotypes about Native American communities and highlights the complexities of their cultural identity.

In conclusion, the representation of protagonists in geographic literature and media is multifaceted and holds significant power in shaping our understanding of the world. By portraying protagonists with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and relationships with the environment, these works offer practical examples of the diverse and complex interactions between humans and their surroundings. As geographers, it is essential to critically analyze and engage with these representations to deepen our understanding of the world around us. Additionally, more efforts must be made to include diverse perspectives and representations of protagonists in geographic literature and media. Only then can we truly capture the full richness and complexities of our world.