In completing your final reading of Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower,” you charted the ways in which Lauren Olamina learned to lean into Otherness as burgeoning strength and wellspring of survival. You also will have noticed how her philosophy of EarthSeed also changed and deepened. The hyper-empathy that so often endangered her becomes a means of discerning danger. The maiden phase in which we found her—itself a marginalized identity that in Butler’s imaginings can lead to torture, rape and enslavement—grants her the creative agency to build a philosophy and a community. In effect, the novel follows the vision of Earthseed itself—The only lasting Truth is Change. Many of you will have connected deeply with this character, her hopes, the impending sense of danger descending and her desperation to quell it, her love of family, her first foray into romantic love, and most of all her dreams.
Our FINAL PROJECT asks that you look to your own dreams. One is all you need. Shades of the philosophies, characters or story tropes, scenes, and moments of all the works we have read this semester may have crept into your sleeping life. It is my hope that they have crept into your waking life, as well.
I. In a single POWERPOINT slide present an image that represents your most meaning-filled dream. The image can be one that already exists in art, film, and photography. And yes, it can be pulled from the internet. For those of you who are artists, by all means make use of your talents.
II. Look back not only to “Parable of the Sower,” but to all the works we have encountered and you will find each Dystopian Experience distilled into language either meant to control or lead our protagonist toward Existential freedom. For Zadie Smith’s “Now More Than Ever,” the dictum, “The past is now the present” was a Damocles sword, hanging by a single thread over the heads of all who have been less than “good” in the past. It was a threat that future steps will be damned by past missteps, an inescapable condemnation. For Gregor Samsa such a moment is found in the words, “What’s happened to me?” For Winston Smith the limitations of his life are delivered in the double-speak which adorn the walls, “War is Peace,” “Ignorance is Strength,” “Freedom is Slavery.” These, along with Rene Descartes’ “Cogito Ergo Sum,” or “Je pense donc je suis”, present a litany of being in all its confusion and discovery. Sit quietly with all that you are and all you have encountered this past year in our very real brush with the dystopian. Go on to create your own dictum or prose-poem resembling Earthseed philosophy. Embed the text into your Powerpoint image. You will find approximate examples here. Unlike these examples, use your own creative TITLES. Make your submission as richly colored, textured, complex or simple as your dream and your created philosophy or prose-mantra demands