Breaking New Barriers: A Study Of How Natural Boundaries Usurp Divine Boundaries In Modern Post-Apocalyptic Literature
Contributor(s)Hurh, John Paul
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AbstractIn recent years, science fiction novelists have increasingly focused on how humanity spells its own doom. This raises the question of what human decisions result in such disaster. My research operates under the premise that authors tend to point to broken boundaries as the root cause of human self-destruction. Human defiance of divine barriers has been a portent of doom in western literature since biblical times. In science fiction, however, we find a more secular iteration of this parable. In God’s stead, Nature fills in. This research argues that natural boundaries currently fill the same role that divine boundaries did in prior eras. This project performs a close study of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake in order to demonstrate this concept. Atwood depicts a society overrun with both nihilism and human hubris. While not entirely neglecting the old notion of divine boundaries, Atwood creates a world in which natural boundaries now largely determine human safety. On the other hand, the violation of these boundaries leads to inevitable self-destruction.