Imagining Care brings literature and philosophy into dialogue by examining caregiving in literature by contemporary Canadian writers alongside ethics of care philosophy. Through close readings of fiction and memoirs by Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Michael Ignatieff, Ian Brown, and David Chariandy, Amelia DeFalco argues that these narratives expose the tangled particularities of relations of care, dependency, and responsibility, as well as issues of marginalisation on the basis of gender, race, and class.
DeFalco complicates the myth of Canada as an unwaveringly caring nation that is characterized by equality and compassion. Caregiving is unpredictable: one person’s altruism can be another’s narcissism; one’s compassion, another’s condescension or even cruelty. In a country that conceives of itself as a caring society, these texts depict in stark terms the ethical dilemmas that arise from our attempts to respond to the needs of others.