This past week I read the book The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch. In this blog I will address the similarities I have seen between the actions that were taken to prevent the Terminus and the proactive actions we see people taking today to try and prevent the existential threat of climate change. It says in The Gone World that the Terminus was “a shadow that falls across the future of our species. Every timeline we’ve visited ends in the Terminus. And it’s moving closer” (Sweterlitsch 8). Throughout the book we learn that the Terminus is moving closer and closer to the terra firma and will keep increasing as a detrimental threat to the entire world unless actions are taken to stop it. As we read, we learned how Shannon Moss had to make sacrifices and crucial decisions in order to get herself in the position inside the Libra ship to end the Terminus. As I read about the Terminus and the actions that were being taken to save humanity from it, it reminded me of the climate change threat that we all face right now on Earth. The danger of climate change could pose many lethal threats to humanity in our future. On the website, https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/ , it says that temperatures will continue to rise, the frost-free season will become longer, hurricanes will become stronger and more frequent, the artic will become ice-free before the mid-century, the sea level will rise, the amount of precipitation will increase, but then there will also be weeks at a time with droughts and heat waves. On the website, https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20181218.278288/full/ , it also talks about the potential for a rise in diseases that are an result of the natural occurrences as described before. Some diseases are suited for hotter temperatures and some are waterborne as well. The potential for these deadly changes on our Earth coupled with the potential for widespread disease shows the severity and seriousness that we as humans should have about combating climate change. Just like we see in The Gone World with the characters not knowing exactly when the Terminus will show up in terra firma, we do not know exactly when the deadly effects of climate change will become super prevalent in our lives. I see a similarity between the urgency of Shannon Moss and the U.S. government to prevent the Terminus and the urgency that the scientific community has towards combatting the potential effects of climate change. From what we see in the sources I have found, climate change could create a future that could be deadly for many humans on Earth. Just like how Shannon Moss did everything she could to stop the Terminus, we as humans should be doing everything we can to prevent the harmful effects and outcomes of climate change. Do you think you have done enough to help prevent climate change?
Source for Image: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/yes-im-feeling-bad-about-climate-change-lets-discuss/
This past week I read the book Zone One by Colson Whitehead. In this blog I will address the theme of death and the racial bias that Colson Whitehead shows the reader they could have had when they read the book. Throughout the book Whitehead explores how the survivors of this plague view death and their belief that they controlled their own future. The characters saw this plague as a chance for them to escape having to relive the mistakes they have made in their life in what would be the afterlife. “The death of the afterlife was not without its perks, however, sparing Mark Spitz the prospect of an eternity reliving his mistakes and seeing their effects ripple, however briefly and uselessly, through history” (282). This shows how characters such as Mark Spitz saw the plague, that caused humans to become stragglers or skels, as way for humans to avoid having to die and relive their mistakes for eternity in the afterlife. Also, since the plague happened, Mark shows us how the characters view their future as something that they can control now. “The future was in the clay in their hand” (81). Whitehead showed us how death became an important factor in the lives of the characters and how it helped them continue to survive and believe they were in more control of their future rather than causing them worry as it can in the lives of individuals in our society today. Also, Whitehead showed us how the average reader can have racial bias without even realizing it. Near the end of the book, Whitehead informs the reader that Mark Spitz, the main character, is an African American male. Based on our class discussion and my own personal experience reading this book, it exposed a racial bias in a lot of my classmates and myself because we assumed that Mark Sptiz was white male. I thought it was very interesting how Whitehead can make the reader step back and re-evaluate themselves and examine why they may have a racial bias. On the website, https://theundefeated.com/features/black-americans-overwhelmingly-say-unconscious-bias-is-a-major-barrier-in-their-lives/ , it says that people can have racial bias and “they might not realize they’re giving more attention to one person than the other, because they’re more accepting of who they are or naturally gravitate to that person”. Also, on the website https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2019/10/uncovering-unconscious-racial-bias-lecture-examines-stereotypes-and-their-impacts , it says “research has shown that biases buried beneath our awareness can powerfully shape how we see”. This made me really think about how when I was reading this book I could have thought Mark Spitz was a white man because I could be more accepting of who I am personally and may gravitate towards that without even realizing or being aware of it. Do you think you could have an unconscious racial bias that changes the way you see things without even realizing it?
Source for Image: https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/practice/beyond-colorblindness-addressing-racial-trauma-and-racial-bi/
This past week I read the book American War by Omar El Akkad. In this blog I will address the theme of violence throughout the novel, how humans can be blinded by the need for revenge, and how we see the ways these ideas are played out in our country today. In this book we see Sarat from a young age let her anger towards the Blues begin to consume her. It began with her dad dying in the Blue country and then progressed when Gaines recruited her and then her mother was killed along with her brother becoming seriously injured from the attack on Camp Patience. After the attack on Camp Patience we see Sarat finally blinded by the revenge she wants to let out on the Blues when she tells Gaines “I want to kill them” (209). The craving for violence against the Blue country leads to Sarat killing the Blues top General and eventually releasing the Quick and beginning the Reunification Plague which would lead to over 100 million American lives lost. These themes of violence and revenge can be seen in our society through various actions taken in our country recently. A recent act of violence in response to frustration and the need for revenge was the attack on our American Capital on January 6th. Found on this website, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2021/politics/trump-insurrection-capitol/ , this attack and riot took place because former President Trump told his loyalists that “we’re going to have to fight much harder” in retaliation for the election he felt was stolen from him and his followers. This reminded me of Gaines and how he influenced Sarat to feel anger and want vengeance against her enemies. We saw that these riots and storming of the capital took place because former President Trump convinced his followers that they had all been wronged and cheated out of a victory by their enemies. The need for revenge and the violence that follows shows how terror can take place and how people can lose their lives because of it. Another example I have seen of these ideas being played out in our society actually occurred a couple days ago during the Atlanta Attacks against Asian Americans. Found on this website, https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2021-03-18/asian-americans-grieve-organize-in-wake-of-atlanta-attacks , these attacks were caused by a white gunman influenced by a “year of pandemic-fueled racist attacks on Asian Americans”. We see how close to a year of the COVID-19 virus being referred to as the “Chinese Virus” and other racial terms by some of our country’s leaders to describe it has caused a negative and hateful attitude towards Asian Americans. This attack in Atlanta led to eight people losing their lives with most of them being Asian women. In this example we see how the violence committed has been caused by the need for revenge by the white gunman for this virus that they have been lead to believe has been caused by Asians. This terrible event was caused by intolerable hate because the gunman was blinded by their need for revenge against Asians. This also reminds me of Sarat where she is so blinded by her hate for the Blues that even when she gets out of prison and the war is over, her first initial instinct when she sees a Blue soldier at the market is to kill them without hesitation. Do you think there is any way that our country can stop or decrease the amount of violence caused by the desire for revenge that is blinding various radical individuals?
Source for Image: https://www.rollcall.com/2021/01/15/interior-watchdog-to-examine-jan-6-capitol-riot-events-before/
This week I have furthered my knowledge in apocalyptic literature by reading the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. In this blog, I will address the theme of fear and the comparison of the Georgia Flu to the COVID-19 virus we deal with today in our world. Mandel explores the theme of fear through many outlets such as the ways the characters handle the initial outbreak of the Georgia Flu, how the world handles the infected, and how the characters adapt to surviving. In the initial outbreak of the Georgia Flu we see people exit the city in such a fast and massive way that it clogs up the roadways and main exits out. People show the fear they have with potentially catching the virus and the anxiety it can cause them. For example, we see how fear can lead to anxiety with the character Jeevan in this story. When Jeevan is talking to Hua on the phone and learning about the initial outbreak of the Georgia Flu, Hua says “I know how paranoid you can get.” (19). The book explores the idea of how people can develop terrible levels of anxiety from an pandemic and the powerful influence it can have over their actions. How the people can act towards the infected is explored in this novel as well. In the book at the Severn City Airport, Clark talks about the Air Gradia 452 flight and how everyone had decided to “keep the jet sealed rather than expose a packed airport to a fatal contagion.” (249) Fear of the virus and death showed why the characters in this book made an unspeakable decision in order to survive. This example explored how humans can make some of the most radical decisions when faced with fear and survival. Also, we see how characters like Tyler use fear to create a cult in order to survive and gain power. Tyler, or the prophet, uses the fear of individuals and convinces them that their survival was for a greater purpose and reason. He then uses his followers to gain power and take over towns. This use of the theme of fear shows how the absence of hope in that fear can lead people to wanting a greater purpose and reason to survive. Do you think fear has been used as tactic in our country to attempt to control the behavior of individuals during our COVID-19 pandemic?
The Georgia Flu in Station Eleven and the COVID-19 pandemic in our world today have some connections in the way they have affected the world. The first connection I saw was the increase in anxiety among the characters in Station Eleven and the adults in our country. In the book, there was fear created by the Georgia Flu and the anxiety that came along with it because of the fatality rate. Found on this website, https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/ , it talks about how four in ten adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic and this has increased from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019. These symptoms have been increasing in our country due to the stress over coronavirus coupled with the negative economic and health effects that have been caused by it. Also, I thought it was interesting how Station Eleven addressed people with disabilities during a pandemic. In the novel Clark has a brother named Frank that is disabled and he eventually takes his own life because he knows he will hold Clark back from being able to survive outside of the apartment. The additional difficulties that come along with being disabled during a pandemic have been discussed on this website, https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/everyone-included-covid-19.html. In this website it mentions how people with disabilities in the world today cannot practice safe social distancing or isolation guidelines as easily as others because they need help and support from other people for every day self-care tasks. This shows people with disabilities can be disadvantaged in staying healthy and surviving throughout a pandemic.
Source for Image: https://www.wired.com/story/first-denial-then-fear-covid-19-patients-in-their-own-words/
This blog will addresses the idea of de-evolution causing the violation of reproductive rights in Louise Erdrich’s book Future Home of the Living God and how that can relate to what I have seen taking place in our country today. Throughout this book we learn of an apocalypse taking place due to a disease and the government has decided to regulate females and their reproductive rights due to concerns of de-evolution. The belief among scientists in this book is that humans may “skip straight back to a previous hominin” or “homo erectus perhaps” (55). This causes the government to capture women and either inseminate them or help them give birth in order to take their babies and study them. The government believes this is the best thing for all women and expects all citizens to help in the effort to capture pregnant women for the protection and greater good of humanity. This reminds me of our country today in a way because of the attempt of certain politicians and their partisan policies of restricting family planning and health services for women. Found in this website, https://www.thirdway.org/memo/talking-about-reproductive-rights-in-2020 , there is evidence that shows state legislatures have been steadily decreasing the amount of family planning providers found in the state and they make state funding dependent upon these providers not offering abortion services. I can see similarities here on how governments can restrict and control women and their bodies along with their reproductive rights based on the belief that it is for the greater good. In the book it is for the greater good of the human race to control and study the de-evolution of the human race through the women and their pregnancies and in our country today many politicians believe and push policies that it is for the greater good to regulate the bodies of women who are pregnant to protect the fetus. Found on this website, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20443281/ , we can see why some politicians argue for these type of regulations because they say “the fetus is a person”. Overall I see a connection between the government in this book and how they control women and their reproductive rights and how the government of our country can in ways do the same. Similar to the control on women’s bodies in Future Home of the Living God, do you think our government in the United States already has too much influence and control over women’s bodies and their reproductive rights? I think it was interesting how Louise Erdrich used reproduction rights to show the influence and control governments can and already have over their citizens. Louise Erdrich also did an amazing job showing how humans tend to view the best solution to problems they do not understand is through the process of eradication. This idea can be applied to both the capturing of women in this book and the prevention of reproductive healthcare in times that women need it in our country.
Source for Image: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/emer-o-toole-science-and-sociology-are-on-the-side-of-pro-choice-1.2294754
This blog addresses the use of religion in Margaret Atwood’s book The Year of the Flood. This book covered so many different themes and topics that relate to our world today. The topic that I wanted to cover is the book’s use of religion and how the characters used and viewed it throughout the story. People often feel the need for community and purpose in times of their life when they are facing hardships and crises. In the book we see characters such as Toby, Ren, and Amanda who all faced hardships and did not have anywhere to go. These characters found a type of acceptance, home, and family in the God’s Gardeners group and they were all influenced by the group’s teachings whether they realized it or not. Found on this website, https://news.osu.edu/the-psychology-behind-religious-belief/ , researchers have identified 16 basic desires that we all share that religion helps people to fulfill. Some of these desires include, acceptance, curiosity, family, independence, order, social contact, tranquility, and more. I have grown up in a Christian household and throughout my life I have seen many people come to my church while only staying for a short time. They come to our church for a short time because they need help and community through a hard time in their life and they do not know where else to go. I really liked how Margaret Atwood implemented the idea that the God’s Gardeners offered people such as Toby a place that allowed her safety, acceptance, community, social contact, and more. After Toby had experienced the abuse by Blanco and physical harm she encountered trying to survive, the God’s Gardeners offered a new safe place to live. Also, when the waterless flood hits, Margaret Atwood shows us how people can use religion and what they learn from it to survive. I thought it was interesting how Toby would consistently feel sorry and pray before eating animals to survive. Throughout most of the book, Toby would constantly think about how she did not believe in most of what Adam One taught to the God’s Gardeners, but when she needed to survive during the waterless flood, she would use a lot of what she learned to guide her and her decisions. I thought this was interesting because it showed how humans can use religion and cling to it in the most trying times in their life. Do you think Toby knew how much she actually believed in the teachings of the God’s Gardeners before she was faced with the waterless flood and survival? I think it’s very interesting how Margaret Atwood used religion and showed the influence it can have on people even in the midst of an apocalypse such as the waterless flood.
Photo source: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-all-people-welcome-church-sign-57400246.html