Author Archives: Stevens Jean

Class Notes 12/12/17

  • The last day of class is on the the 19th of December. This is also the due date of our reflection papers
  • Essay extension, deadline due on early afternoon Friday.

The differences between The Handmaid’s Book, Movie and Hulu series.

Hulu Series:

  • Somewhat close to the book
  •  Contains large amount of violence and religion.
  • The visuals/cinematography themselves are able to bring more emotion and feeling to a scene.
  • Intro place emphasis on your typical nuclear family which is a bit of a generic big money Hollywood trope. This sort of emphasis isn’t seen in the book.
  • The series is influenced by modern day ideologies. mixed race families for example like Offred’s is a good example


  • Luke is straight up killed in the first scene. He’s dead, and i mean like, dead dead. So now any sort of dillema Offred had in the book when it came to Luke potentially being alive is squashed.
  • Offred runs after Luke when he is shot dead but for some reason leaves her child to wonder off
  • Woman are overtly being treated as livestock. Subtlety seemed to be lost in the move (or at the very least, from what we’ve seen so far of the movie)
  • The whole atmosphere of the woman who were going to be trained from bus to training facility seemed like a stifling prison
  •   Scenes of importance:
    • Offred and Moria’s first meeting in the training facility (The Gym)
    • Supermarket Scene when Offred is picking oranges
    • The ceremony
    • Hospital scene where a baby is kidnapped (27:00)
    • When Offred meets the commander for the first time


  • The women weren’t allowed to talk to each other in the gymnasium but they found ways to circumvent that rule without being caught.
  • The first word of the book says “we” The we is supposed to be offred and the woman of Gillead.

At the end of the day. They’re all prisoners.

The commander seems to be one of the few commanders that somewhat feels sorry for the the handmaids that are put under his steed. He seems like the kind of person that sees the handmaids in a more human perspective than many of the other characters in this book. We were also taught that the handmaid that was ordered there before serve the commander before Offred came had the same sort of meetings that Offred is currently having with the commander. Although, the previous handmaid’s meetings with the commander were cut short the second Serena found out about their meetings. The following event of the handmaid killing herself brings a specific question in mind. What exactly are these colonies and how are the women and unwomen treated in them? I mean, i get that woman who are not useful in the Gilead empire are sent to them but we are rarely given a detail description as to what happens inside of them. But, whatever the colony truly is, we know full well that it clearly isn’t something good. Even for the woman who have given birth. The fact that the handmaid that served before Offred was so scared of being sent their that she would rather take her own life then potentially suffer. Also, how did the Gilleads officially come into power? we already know of the U.S’s downfall but we were never given an explanation as to how the Gilead kingdom came to be. Were they a small time religious cult that took the opportunity to take over the second the government collapsed? or were they were they created during the collapse by a group of like minded individuals with a lot of political influence and or money? So many things about this world are still shrouded in mystery. Which makes it all the more exciting when you’re try predict what might happen next. Our knowledge is very limited because of the fact that we’re seeing the story play out through Offred’s eyes. Also, i kind of have to ask. Is Offred morally wrong in seeing the commander’s guilt as a point of exploitation to use for her own goal of escape? This sort of question would usually (I assume) be met with a unanimous NO and, i can see why. The Gilead empire have women treated as nothing but objects to be used as a means towards an end. Offred using a weakness in the system should be seen as a work of cunning and intelligence with a side of comeuppance but, let me ask you this (and please bare in mind, that i’m going to act as a pseudo devil’s advocate. I say pseudo because i wont be fully committing to the role, just using it as a starting point for a somewhat specific argument). The commander, in his own way is actually seeing the handmaid’s as actual human beings with emotion. In this empire, woman are constantly pushed ad forced to do things with out their own opinions or feelings being accounted for. The commander seems to be the main person (as of now anyway) to actually go out of his way and endanger punishment to give his current handmaids some respite in their gray and dreary lives. The commander, just like offred, seem to be a slave to the system and can’t exactly leave or act outside of their own roles with out swift and harsh punishment from their totalitarian leaders. Sure, he may be given more power to act on than the other handmaid’s do but, he is also a prisoner in his own right. So, I’d have to ask again. Is Offred, taking advantage of the commander’s kindness and guilt morally wrong? morally right? or is the question of morals irrelevant as a whole?

Sheppards: “It’s for your own good. Do as we say” Cattle: “Yes, sir”

The story is now starting to give me a good idea as to what kind of society The story takes place in. And from what i can tell. This place seems to be no different than any other “pure religious” society or dictatorship. The main difference being is the fact that women are considered cattle. Cattle to be bread, grown, wed, over and over and over again. It’s the kind of society where it is common belief that the cattle known as women should be happy because of the fact that they are considered safe from the troubles that reality would throw at them. You know, now that i think about it. In this society. Woman are considered too frail to handle to Their environment on their own. Which is why they are constantly guided to act, speak and even think in specific ways. It’s extremely condescending. A group of people being treated as unthinking animals that have to be forced to live in a specific way for their own good. This society seems to think that they know what’s best for the woman who live in it while also completely missing the point of what they think when it comes to their own personal purpose in life. The worst part (in my opinion) is how most of the woman just accept such a change. I mean, don’t get me wrong, i understand why they did it. They have to follow regardless of what they personally think because of the heavy and deadly opposition they would likely be met with if they were to resist. The doctors who are are being retroactively punished for performing abortion and the 3 men who were hanged for committing homosexual acts are proof of this. And knowing that this is becoming the norm is what really truly hurts me. Offred having her child taken away from her because the authorities thought that she was for some reason “unfit” to care a child which, somewhat sounds like a group of people forcing their own ideologies of how things are supposed to be on to others. And not being able to do anything about it Is the most frustrating thing about these sorts of societies. In current day U.S. We’re able to speak our minds, fight out against perceived injustices and live lives in ways that we see fit but, in a society during the Gilead era, that sort of personal freedom is stifled completely. And the reasoning for it is to create a peaceful and wholesome which is where the problem inherently lies. This society is being run off of the ideology of a specific group of people. And that group is the Republic of Gilead. Honestly my stance on this sort of world stands completely and utterly against its values. You can’t just create a society under one specific ideology and force everyone else to go with it as if your perspective Is supposed to be in the definitive right over anyone else’s. It’s that sort of hubris that honestly not only annoys me right down to the core but also has me wanting to tear these kinds of societies down straight to its very foundation. A city built on one groups ideologies is not a society for the people at all. It’s just a world that only groups like The Gilead’s can feel happy and safe in. And their perspective, like many others like them (like communist leaders/dictators for example) Seem to be justified by the craziest and downright one sided reasons. Reasons such as religion, birthright rulings, deluded sense of perceived knowledge or intelligence, etc. It’s just not fair to see these kinds of societies exist. It’s because of this society that offred is basically reduced to an animal that needs to be cared for guided and ultimately controlled. It’s because of this society that she has lost her husband, her child and later her very own freedom. So now, as i see it. This story can go in one of two ways. There can either be an insurrection led by the oppressed to overthrow their current rulers then later create a society in their own image or, everyone slowly grow more and more complacent to the point where they end up completely accepting their current predicament. I honestly hope that the second route doesn’t come to pass. But, if the first major coup d’etat doesn’t happen before the next two generation of children are born and grown to later replace the first generation Gilead age citizens then all hope will likely be lost. The kids that grow in this age be it boy or girl will recognize their current world as the norm and any chance of resisting will later die with the first generation’s natural passing. It’s the natural circle of mindless cattle. You raise them, teach them, guide them, bread them then repeat with the newer generation.

P.S: There really isn’t much of a thesis to this response. Just my opinion of the society and nothing else

Unyielding Progress

Unyielding Progress. This seems t be the very thing that defines the of Station Eleven. Regardless of the obstacle that might get in there way or mistake that might stunt them or an uncontrollable incident that sets them back to the very beginning, The human beings of this world and, in reality seems, they never stop improving progressing and Living, In the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (good lord, this is a long name) There have been countless scenarios where humanity have proven themselves capable enough to survive in their new post flu environment but, survival isn’t where they stop at. Survival may be mandatory, but as human beings, we also deem it as nothing but a stepping stone towards our unending yearning for progression. In this essay, i’m going to argue that the multiple groups in this story like, the symphony, the airport settlement and even Tyler’s religious group are considered symbols of the multiple facets of progress and improvement in their own right.

First, let’s talk about the symphony. The symphony represents the more artistic and creative yearning that humanity tends to crave. This craving comes from our deep seated yearn to be able to express ourselves in ways that we personally enjoy. This form of expression may differ from group to group i.e the actors and the musicians, and even person to person Like Kirsten and August. The form of yearning can even differ in intensity from one to another. For example. Kirsten Has had a lifelong dream (or a life long drive if you want to look at it another way, it that way)to on on stage for the enjoyment of others. From being a no named child actress playing a small forgettable role in a Toronto play titled King Lear to a young woman who can only feel truly alive while on stage by pouring her heart and soul into her theatrical performances, This is also true when it comes to her caravan mates, Sure, each one of them joined decided to join the symphony with their own reasons in mind but, the collective goal of everyone to put on performances that would wow crowds which should be considered there own enjoyable forms of expression such as Theater and music. August is another prime example. August has played the violin ever since he was little. He played the violin anytime he could. Haven’t played it while watching star trek if you could believe it. The entirety of the symphony are comprised of people that do what they love which is why they are considered the symbol of expression when defined under the category of human progress.

The Next group are Tyler and his religious group of post apocalyptic worshipers. This part of the thesis is going to talk about religion so..i apologize for any awkwardness or anger you may feel during this paragraph. I am by no means trying to belittle or insult a religious group of any background…

(Sorry..can’t think of anything else to type..Midterms have been taking their toll on me in the past few days.) I’ll definitely be able to type much more than this when midterms are fully over.)

Humans are a pretty powerful race now that i think about it

It seems like the human race even in stories such as these seem to be pretty darn resourceful regardless of the cruddy hand reality decides to give them. They’re able to survive in almost any scenario be it world ending or not and somehow rebuild their ideal society from the ground up. Tenacious progress seems to be the term that rightfully describes the human condition and this book does not spare a moment to drive that point home at every turn. From the beginning, i’m sure many readers thought that the human race would practically be finished the second they found out about the flu virus but, like almost every other post apocalyptic story, the human race finds a way to survive regardless of the odds. In part two, after the flu pandemic passed, we see people, making small communities in places such as restaurants, gas stations etc. People helping each other for the sake of survival. In part 7 (which takes place a few years before the beginning of part two) at the airport, we see a community of people who are comprised of individuals who don’t even speak the same language. And yet, somehow, they’re able to each each other their own languages to better help them communicate(obviously) The new found skill of communication also helped them conduct search parties and also hunt with one another. Believe it or not, humans are societal creatures, and the the multiple group of communities such as the post incident settlements, the symphony and the religious post apocalyptic group which is lead by the prophet (who we later find out is actually Arthur’s son, Tyler) and many others groups in this makes this point loud and clear.

Humans can do a great many things when it comes to surviving but, That isn’t all they’re able to do. Heck, Surviving is like, step one of the the Human agenda when it comes to Living. Surviving is important mind you but as The symphony’s motto goes “Survival is Inefficient”. Survival on it’s own isn’t what human beings ultimately work to obtain. They go out of there way to express themselves in ways that they see fit. The expressive and artistic sort live their lives through art, music, philosophy, religion. The more curious individuals try to understand the world they live in be it from past or present. Science, history, archaeology and more are their ideal way to live. The inventive sort go out of there way to figure out how they can use knowledge to improve their society for the better. All of these ideologies are present with in groups like the symphony, Tyler’s religious group the museum of civilization and even the city of lights that we see at the very end of the book.


OK, now that i got my main thoughts out of the way, i kind of want to go into a small rant here. Why in god’s name am i still hearing about Arthur? I mean, don’t get me wrong, i know why the story has to bring him up. He’s basically the central figure in the web of stories each important character has. He ties everyone together which is why he comes up as often as he does but…. Why did the author decide the central figure to be Arthur of all people. In my honest opinion, Arthur has to be one of the least interesting characters of the whole entire story. He’s basically a person who rose from his humble beginning of being a no named actor to being a super famous movie/TV star. His story is as generic as they come when it comes to celebrity life stories, be it from reality or fictional stories. Most of what he’s gone through is the kind of thing you see other celebrities go through all the time. And it’s because of this generic life story he leads that makes him into an extremely uninteresting person. I mean, Here’s a brief synapse of Arthur’s life. He grew up in a small island off the coast of Vancouver. He then moves to Toronto to study in a university then dropped out to become an actor. He then meets Clark who later leaves to go to England and (OK, well this part isn’t all that important so let’s just move on) Arthur then moves to New York, gets a part in law and order, then gets more parts in small movies. He later faces the dilemma of dealing with fame. At first he doesn’t like all the attention he gets then later get’s used to it. He then meets Miranda, marries her than divorces her, then he marries another woman has a kid and divorces her and, yadda, yadda, yadda. His story isn’t anything special or interesting. If anything, He just seems like another generic celebrity whose main purpose was to show us what being famous was is like. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate. Arthur because he’s a generic celebrity. I honestly don’t care all that much about the fact. What i am annoyed with is the fact that he’s basically the central character of the entire plot of the story. he’s always being mentioned in almost every single chapter. The story tries it’s hardest to make it seem like he’s this very interesting, important and deep character when in reality, he very much isn’t. Heck, i’d even go as far as to say that Miranda was more interesting than him and that’s only because of her graphic novel, Station Eleven. I personally would have loved it if Jeevan, Frank or even Kirsten were the main central figures of the story.Now, as of this point you may be asking to yourself, “why? Why choose these three characters?” Well, this is simple. Jeevan seems to have had a pretty varied and somewhat hectic life when it came to him deciding what he truly wanted to do in life. Frank’s character from his potentially interesting back story right down to his priorities when it comes to how much he values his own brother over himself. And Kirsten? Being told in great detail on how she managed to grow and adapt to her current environment from a lonesome child to a fearsome woman actress traveling with a caravan of musicians and actors would have been such much more of an interesting backstory than Arthur’s. Now, i know that none of these characters can fit the role of central character in a story such as this because of the different characters there are and the relationship that each holds. This is because of the fact that the one person connecting all of the characters together is Arthur but, if the story was somehow told in a way where one of the previously 3 mentioned characters were considered central plot devices and therefor have story be told around of them then, I would have personally liked the story much, much more. Oh, also. The prophet was Arthur’s son!? Come on! The author can’t just shoe horn Arthur’s decedents in our face as well. Why couldn’t the Prophet be someone else. The Prophet could have been some guy who had parents who died during the flue pandemic. Honestly, his character would have been much improved if he had no relation to Arthur whatsoever. Now that i know that he’s Arthur’s son, i can only see him as another forced link to Arthur so the whole “Everyone is connected” theme can be solidified even more than it had.

PS: This ended up becoming a much longer rant than i had previously thought. Sorry.
PSS: I know i made a rant about Arthur before but, that prophet identity reveal left a somewhat sour taste in my mouth.

The reason why i write

I don’t exactly know how to go about this but, i’ll definitely try to put this in the most concise and somewhat succinct way possible. The reason i write has to stem from the fact that writing to me is complete freedom stuffed into a single past time. Reality can be somewhat stifling to me. There are many things you can’t do or say. You’re always somewhat forced to abide by the rigid and somewhat arbitrary rule set that the majority of the your society’s population creates. And whoever dares break any of these rules are usually met with great scrutiny and to a certain degree, treated as a social pariah by the normalcy abiding citizens. It’s the banner of normalcy that the population that holds majority use onto anyone and anything that breaths. Arbitrary rules such as what’s OK to say and what isn’t OK to say. What’s OK to do and what isn’t OK to do. Can limit one’s ability to express themselves in a way that they see fit So, when i want to express myself writing becomes my creative medium. Being able to say what i want how i want whenever i want on dead paper is one of the most liberating activities that i can ever partake in. Writing in a journal about anything that comes to mind can really take a load off your shoulders when saying it in person isn’t much of an option. Creating stories that incorporate worlds that operate on a set of rules that you yourself can create. Writing is a medium that can liberate your very soul in ways that no one else can. And, also, if i can be really honest with you all. Writing is one of the main ways i learn about who i am as a person. For those who may not know. There are many things about ourselves that you we may not even be aware of. Interests, Pet Peeves, perspective etc. These sorts of things can be somewhat hard to find on your own. We can only learn so much about ourselves by how we behave on a day to day basis. When it comes to writing be it in a journal, a diary or even by writing a story, you’re able to constructively figure out what makes you tick. This all stems from the fact that when you’re writing (especially when you’re alone). You only have you and your own thoughts to keep you company. No distractions from the outside world and (if you’re writing at a time where you don’t have many responsibilities to worry about) a whirlwind of ideas that cloud your head (i don’t mean this as a bad thing the term “cloud” just came up for some reason so i just typed it as is). These thoughts stem from your inner self and believe it or not but, it’s crying out all of it’s worries, fears, hopes and even precious dreams. Understanding yourself can be somewhat scary to some though. Some people may be afraid to write because of what they may drag out from deep within themselves. Depressing, or scary ideals can be one of those aspects that individuals may want to keep hidden deep, deep within themselves. The very idea of letting these ideas surface is what terrifies many people. And if you (the reader) are seeing this and consider yourself as one of these individuals then i only have this to say. Denying yourself isn’t going to help anyone. You’re certainly not doing yourself any favors by doing so. The road to understanding and acceptance can be somewhat frightening. But, denying what makes you, you isn’t going to make you feel better about yourself and doesn’t exactly help you understand why you think the way you do. Or act the way you do. I mean, sure. Denial is almost always the easier path that requires less effort but, In my opinion. You’re just being a coward to yourself. The harder path which is will lead to a much happier future. Or, at the very least to a much more clear and not so confusing future. am i going to end this… I think I’ve already said everything i wanted to say about the subject……………………………………. Okay, i know what to say. EVERYONE! start writing! If you don’t know what to write about then just jot down anything that randomly comes to mind! Those free writes our professor makes us do isn’t Something she uses just to kill time! There’s an actual reason to them! And that reason is in the previous paragraph! So, just Write! Write about how your day went, write about something/someone you like, write about something/someone you hate. Hell, write a story if you so choose. And to those who think that this a bit of a silly thing to ask, trust me when i say that you will definitely learn at the very least a little bit more about yourself. I mean, worse case scenario you’ll get somewhat bored doing it. Best case scenario, you’ll learn a heck of a lot more about yourself in a few minutes of writing than you ever could in like, a month of just living! You have so little to lose and potentially sooo much to gain!

Memories can be painful but, that does NOT mean that they should be forgotten.

Parts 4-6 seem to talk a lot about the past and the individuals who want to forget them but, sadly, isn’t as easy as many wished to be. Kirston for example is the main reason i started writing about such a topic. She tells Francois after he questions her about the reason for her knife tattoos that, the memory in of itself was too unpleasant to explain to him. She then tells Francois at the end of part 5 that some memories are better left lost or forgotten because the more you remember them, the more you lose. That line made me thing long and hard about what a harsh memory may mean to me and if it should really be considered the best course of action to just forget it all just because of the fact that it is painful. And, i have to say that i have to disagree wit h this statement completely and wholeheartedly.

Memories regardless of whether or not it’s good, bad or just an indifferent memory that makes you go “meh” should never be forgotten. memories on their own serve as a constant reminder of who you are and what you have experienced from your earliest memory to now. Painful memories to be a bit more specific are the ones that you should definitely try your hardest to not forget. The painful ones usually, serve as a snapshot of one of the most important experiences that you could have be it as a kid,as a teen or as an adult. Going out of your way to forget such important parts of your life is almost the same as casting off a part of your self. In my honest opinion. Casting away horrible, painful memories ( most of the time, mind you) is nothing short of cowardice. the unwillingness to remember nor face the unpleasant memory head on and acknowledge it for what it signifies isn’t something that i can agree with. Our past shapes who we are as people. I can understand Kirston’s point of view when it comes to painful memories. I can’t fathom the countless amount of harsh events she personally had to experience against her will. Experiences like losing her beloved family during the flue outbreak, losing symphony members via disease and other. I wont deny that living in a post apocalyptic world where order isn’t the norm and, unpleasant and downright painful events are about as common as seeing the sun rise and set but, those events shaped her into who she is today. And from what i can see, she seems to be a confident and strong young woman that has the know how to survive in her environment.

Now, i have to admit that I, have memories that i sometimes wish i could forget. Memories that can sometimes be painful for me to recollect. This is also true for many of us. Some of us have harbored way more unpleasant memories than others. But, if we were to look at these memories from a somewhat optimistic angle then, you can view many of these events as important turning points that have molded who we are as individuals. I guess what i’m trying to say is that, I nor any of us are perfect We all try to forget things and would rather leave them behind to later disappear, I myself am no different in this regard. So, I’m not here to speak for everyone when it comes to how memories should be determined as my view on what’s considered a bad memory is obviously enough different than others. Each and everyone of us have a somewhat different set of rules that we go by when it comes to to deciding whether a past event is either bad, good, meh etc. And for those who may think i’m bad mouthing and attacking specific individuals then, let me say this. I definitely don’t think that my view on the subject of memories will ultimately determine if i consider someone as morally good or bad. Everyone have different opinions when it comes to memories and what each one means to them. I do, however want to ask you, the reader something. Do you think it to be OK for someone to just forget or throw away a memory just because it’s painful? do you think it’s OK to just run away or avert your eyes from a memory that you personally don’t want to confront?. Kirston’s answer (If she were somehow reading this) would likely be “yes” but, i for one consider such an act as a betrayal to what her memories signifies. A horrible memory can help you learn about the world around you and help you better prepare yourself for the future. They’re a constant reminder that life isn’t always Jovial and fun with sunshine and lollipops being a blissful norm.

So, to put in succinctly, Memories regardless of good or bad, should not be forgotten. they signify the events that have molded you in to the person you are today. Throwing them away would be the same as throwing away a part of your very own identity. Kirsten of all people should know that the harsh events she went through made her stronger for it. And those memories serve as proof that her personality and ideals aren’t just things that she half assedly created.

The “apocalyptic arc” and the “backstory arc”

Part 2:

Part two is basically the beginning after the end arc. And’s not really all that special when compared to other post apocalyptic arcs. Society seems to have converted from a largely packed filled with people to pockets of smaller pocket communities who are formed in places like restaurants, gas stations, markets, etc.  Scavenging for materials have become the norm and the constant fear of other people who might want to hurt you and the ones you love for selfish gains have become a common thing. The overarching story was somewhat boring but  I will, however, admit that i liked being able to see Kristen, one of characters from part one after the 20 year time skip.  I’ve always liked those kinds of transitions. Kirsten was just another no name, and somewhat shy child actress but now, she’s a young woman who is part of a traveling theater group called The Symphony.  She’s now seen as a somewhat strong willed woman who has followed her dream to be an actor even after the apocalypse. Oh, and before i forget to mention. I still don’t understand her weird fascination with Arthur. He isn’t really much of a stand up or interesting guy when you compare him with the myriad of different other extremely famous actors you can compare him to. Why exactly is he considered extremely special to her anyway? The only reason i could think of would have to be because of the comics he gave her before he drew his last breath which she liked enough keep with her after all of these year.

Part 3:

Part 3 seemed to be a somewhat boring back story arc. It’s main story was about Arthur and his life to stardom from his humble beginnings. I’m sorry to say this but, this part wasn’t exactly interesting. Nor was it captivating. It basically went on about how Arthur and the people he met on his way to being a famous actor. One of the more interesting characters i somewhat liked had to be Miranda (she wasn’t interesting in the least but she at the very least was a tad more interesting than Arthur). She was a woman who lived a life that she was actually proud of. She had a job working at a shipping company which she genuinely liked and was creating a graphic novel called “Station Eleven” on the side. Miranda, however, didn’t have the best of luck when it came to the men she dated. Her first boyfriend, Pablo,  was an aspiring artist who constantly lambasted her for being part of the corporate system.  That relationship didn’t really last all to long before she ended up going out with Arthur who, at first, seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He even talked to her about her graphic novel. This relationship lasted for about 3 years until Miranda finds out, on her third wedding anniversary that Arthur was having an affair with Elizabeth (these two are still alive after the apocalyptic disease took hold and wiped out a good amount of civilization which, forebodes potential issues they both may have in the future. I really hope this doesn’t end up being true because it’s just going to lead down an annoying side story about two woman being annoyed by Each other because of Arthur and his bad choices. I’ll be extremely displeased if it boils down to “two woman have issues with each other because of past baggage and, because of this past baggage, either an argument happens or a full on fight happens” I really do hope it doesn’t come to this. I really don’t want to revisit a part of the past that i genuinely don’t care all that much about.


(after rereading my response, I’ve come to the realization that i sound really jaded about the story so far.. If this response annoys or puts anyone off from the story in anyway then i sincerely apologize.)


The Post God Era

        First, I’m  going to give a short introduction so i can get it out of the way and go right into the response. There Will Come Soft Rains is a post apocalyptic world of an unspecified year in the future where there are nothing left but the creations that withstood the initial cataclysmic events that lead to the destruction of a race of beings who, to anyone looking in from an outsider’s perspective, were gods who transformed the entire world for both better and worse.

       From what i can tell by this story’s imagery alone (and there is a lot of imagery to be read), it seems that the world, as of now has gone through a drastic change. And with that change came a newly  formed environment and the loss of an almost godly race who did amazing things but, sadly as of now, are nothing but a memory that will soon enough be long forgotten through the test of time. The only thing that have been left behind by this race were their creations. Their large steel and glass structures, concrete pavements that covered almost every inch of ground, Their gruesome markings left on the animals who were unfortunate enough to live through the cataclysmic event and now have to suffer and struggle to survive in their new post god home. And last but not least.  the autonomous machinations that go through their daily routines time and time again out without end. This story kind of hits me in a weird place now that i think about it. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that there will be a time where the human race will sooner or later cease to exist. It’s that kind of depressing feeling that gets even weirder when you realise that once they’re all gone. Time will go on without them. As many of us know, time waits for no man or thing. Days go by, nature goes on and the and things that once were, such as the things we leave behind will sooner or later be gone by deterioration . This gets driven home even more when the story talks about the house that keeps running and the machines that were created to serve still continue on with their duties even with the absence of the masters who created them. We are even given a mention of a dog who we can assume belonged to the ones that used to live in the story’s main setting which is the house because of this excerpt:  “A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch. The front door recognized the dog voice and opened.”  I guess, the theme of this story is the fact that everything has to come to an end. There is always an expiry date to everything that gets created. And this rule  is no different for our race as well. The whole theme of ending is shown in many different ways but, the two main ways are the dog who was  “once huge and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores,” which later dies because of the horrible condition it is left in after the event. And soon after is later cleaned up by the house’s cleaning system, never to be seen again. And, the machinations who soon cease to function because of the a psychotic and destructive fire which is further personified. Oh, i guess it’s should be important to tell you that there is quite a bit of personification in this story. Most of the personification is given the the automatons which makes a bit of sense considering the fact they’re pretty much the closest thing to the race that created them. Personification itself is used to further make the ending of the machination more disturbing. Lines such as “the voices wailed Fire, fire, run, run, like a tragic nursery rhyme, a dozen voices, high, low, like children dying in a forest, alone, alone. And the voices fading as the wires popped their sheathings like hot chestnuts. One, two, three, four, five voices died” which explains  explains what happens to the almost living creations who are burned and later destroyed by the fire.

       So, all in all.. You know what? I don’t think i have have much of a response to this story ( i personally don’t think that this is even a great and succinct response) other than the fact that everything has an expiration date. Everything has a big fat END to its lifespan  that anything or anyone will inevitably reach.  And as that time comes, time goes on without them regardless. 

  You know, it would be a good idea to end this response here but i don’t really like leaving these things off at a very depressing finish such as this so, I’m going to end it on a somewhat positive note.  Sure, everything has an end but, Everything DOES have a beginning. Destruction is bound to happen regardless of who or what you are but, destruction is always followed by creation. Forests that are burned down later regrows into a stronger, more lush environments. Trees whose autumn leaves fall off and die later grow new ones as a new spring arrives. Sure, sooner or later, the human race will cease to exist but In our place, new things will grow.  I mean, who knows, maybe a new race of intelligent beings will sooner or later,  find our remains and preserve them as a long lasting memory that will serve as a symbol of the race who once ruled their world as gods. 

The Cruel truth many of us wish we didn’t know but All too well understand

Reality in of itself is large, full, and sometimes overbearing. There are a multitude of information that are ingrained in us every single day from the day we are born till the day we die. How many of us comes to said information differs wildly from one individual to the next. As a society, we have similar ways of viewing certain things such as, acceptable behavior, acceptable ways of reacting, acceptable ways to discern. Many of us don’t know it but a large part of how we think and act are largely thanks to the society that taught us whether it be from our family, our teachers or even our friends. Many of these teachings ingrained in us are taught to us when we’re young and constantly taught to us until we’re old enough to make our own decisions. This is how a culture is farmed and cultivated over and over and over again. There are many things in our culture that we don’t fully understand or we may even find a bit..disturbing but, many of us learn to deal with it because that’s just what it takes to be part of a society.  This is how reality is in a nutshell which is why looking at it from an outsider’s point of view can be pretty difficult and sometimes, outright impossible. This is also a reason why when specific facets of our reality (or a specific society if you want to localize it) is brought up and intently focused on in a story, our opinion of said facet ends up changing. We get the “outsider looking in” point of view and can really understand and contemplate it. For us, The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin is that story.

The story (as I’m sure all of you know well by now) Is a jovial town of jolliness and wonder. There is no sadness, there is no suffering, just a never ending paradise. Or so it may seem at a first glance, however, as we get to know the town more through a narrator  (who is  never  given a name or  a gender) we come to learn more and more about the city.  Now before i continue I have to give this narrator a name. I really don’t like talking about character or any living story set piece  without any sort of name of its own so, I’ll just call it Ukno. Ukno (from what I can tell) seems to be at the very least a resident of Omelas. Throughout the story, he talks about the city and it’s people. As he regains us about the city and it’s people. He’d sometimes talk about the people such as “merry women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked” and the “old people in long stiff robes of mauve and grey.” He’d talk about horses who wore know gear and ran and were ridden all with very little hindrance. The narrator acknowledges the fact that the city is something of a fairy tale, a wondrous place that he himself can’t describe as well as your imagination would be able to if it were up for the task. So, as the story goes on the narrator asks the reader one simple question “Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No?” As many of us know, these kinds of places can’t possible exist in reality. The very concept of a place where there is happiness and joy. The very concept of a place where there is no suffering, no sorrow. Is outright impossible. Such a place couldn’t possibly exist because of the very thing it’s supposed to represent. Which is an all compassing paradise. So, the narrator goes on to explain to you why this city is perceived at a glance to be a perfect paradise. In a basement under a beautiful and magnificent public building, there’s a basement. A cold, dark and grotesque basement with no light, no warmth and no hope, there’s a child. The child has no name, it’s age, nearly ten years old. This child has very little to eat, very little social contact and sadly enough, no hope to reach to. The child suffers everyday of malnourished and exercise. It doesn’t even know what love is anymore.. Now you may be asking “what do you mean when you say anymore” Well, the child itself didn’t always live there. As the narrator would explain “the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother’s voice.” It desperately wants to leave, or so, that’s how it did at the beginning when it was first thrown in to the room it would always repeat words like “”Please let me out. I will be good!” but, as time went, all resistance and hope slowly drained away because of the futility of its struggle. Now, it just sits there, in its own feces. It does have some human contact “as I have said before” but, it only gets to meet other kids, and only briefly. The kids that are brought into the room are there to bare witness to why the city is able to be so happy and joyous. It’s able to be so because of the suffering of this one, solitary child. A child who had cruelly been ripped away from its normal life only to be put in a place where all he can do is suffer and accept the unfair conditions that were brought upon him.

Now, let me ask you. Do you know that feeling that’s welling up inside? That feeling of sadness, anger, frustration and animosity you have towards the people of omelass and their downright selfish behavior towards their own happiness. Well, hold on to that feeling while we look at the society of Omelass as a whole. Omelass is a society that can only exist off of the suffering of a minority (when I say minority I don’t mean race, I just mean a person or a group of people who comprise of less than half of a population.)  Now, doesn’t that sound somewhat familiar. A City that may be perceived as a land of paradise by those looking in at a glance but, is only like this because someone, somewhere suffers. Some of you might already see the point I’m trying to make but to those who don’t see it right away, this situation is exactly the same as almost every single society that exists today. Sure, some of them don’t have it to such an extreme as Omelass but, the concept is very much the same. In the past, back before the civil war, the prosperity of this country thrived on the slaves in which were forced to suffer horrible amounts of labor all for the sake of the country. Europe, during medieval England, the lower class constantly had to work for very little return. And they all lived this way day in and day out, constantly suffering from famine and disease of their poorly maintained living quarters just so the upper-class aristocrats could live very happy and somewhat carefree lives. This sort of concept still exists even today. Countries such as North Korea who thrives off of the back of its suffering citizens through hidden taxes just so it can use them on frivolous projects such as, museums, weapon development and army funding. Forced child Sweatshops in Somalia, Afghanistan and Yamen that have thousands of children constantly making products such as clothing and electronics for huge worldwide corporations. They work for the financial benefit of their family or even their country.  And let’s not get into the extremely disheartening events such as forced prostitution and that unfortunate individuals have to do for the sole gain of their captors. Bottom line is, there are all sorts of suffering that many, many individuals go through all of the benefit of one person or a group of people. Some of these individuals are forced into it while others have no choice but to suffer for the sake of others just to survive. This is a truth that we all know too well, just like the children who are bared witness to the horrid and down-right disgusting nature of their very own city. To the children of Omelass who bear witness to the child with no hope, this is a reality that they themselves eventually encounter. You can say that it’s a part of them growing up and growing more knowledgeable of the world that they dwell in. It’s the same as us. When we were young, we were innocent, we went through days without a single care in the world. But as we get older, we learn more, we learn about the reality that encompasses our very lives. To the children of omelass, the child of no hope is that rude and disturbing reality. And how they deal with that reality differs from one child to another. “Often the young people go home in tears, or in a tearless rage, when they have seen the child and faced this terrible paradox. They may brood over it for weeks or years.” Ukno would explain. But Each child differs when it comes to how they deal with this new information. Some acknowledge the fact that it exists but continue to live on feeling as if they can’t do much about it. This sort of rationalization comforts them. Thinking that you can’t do anything about a horrible situation is a huge relief them and helps them cope with the sad reality. Others however, Leave. They leave to go to a place where Such a sad reality doesn’t exist. Now, in my opinion, the people who leave Omelass don’t exactly leave per se. I think the story itself is telling us that the people who are leaving omelass are leaving the very concept of omelass. Them going to a place that can’t be fathomed by the citizens of omelass is more of a symbolic look at individuals that try to break down and recreate their society into a place where every gets to live somewhat happy lives. A place where no one must be forced to suffer for the sake of others. Individuals like, Martin Luther king who fought for equal treatment of black Americans in a society in which he couldn’t accept, Gandhi, who fought against the wrongful British rule of India using nonviolent civil disobedience. And Nelson Mandela, the man who (with much resistance) fought for the civil rights of the people who were mistreated because of color and in doing so became the first black south African president. And, because of how society usually transforms and changes (usually for the better of everyone living in it) I can no doubt see omelass changing as well. Sure, it won’t be a jovial paradise as it once was but, it can at the very least by a happy place where everyone gets to live equally with one another. No one will have to be forced to suffer for the sake of others. It’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later, the individuals that “leave” the whole concept of what omelass stands for transforms it into a society that that everyone can accept and not have to feel disgusted with.

So, all in all. Fictional stories themselves are extremely important pieces of literature that society can learn from. They can offer the reader the rare perspective of looking at a society from up high outside of it’s metaphorical social dome. And in doing so, are able to immediately see the faults of the characters and their environment. And, when the reader conjures up enough resolve in their beliefs on the society that they read about in a story, that belief is then used to judge the society that they themselves live in. And, who knows, maybe some of the readers will use their new beliefs to change their world for the better. (Well, that’s how I’d like to think of it anyway)



PS: Sorry for the long response. I didn’t even think that the response would be this long until i looked at i finally looked it over after completion.