Date

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Adviser

Foltz, Mary

Abstract

This thesis analyzes three possible narrative approaches to contemporary apocalyptic fiction. It finds that a closed perspective from a consistent point-of-view like that of the man in Cormac McCarthy's The Road serves to limit the interventions open to a reader of contemporary fiction. It finds a more open engagement between reader and text offered by a shifting perspective like that of Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake but finds that this novel limits the opportunities available in this more open text. By suggesting that a global apocalypse can be reduced to a single creator with a single cause, Oryx and Crake limits the opportunities for the applications of the skills cultivated by the text in the reader when the reader exits the text. It finds the most exciting opportunities for narrative perspective in the systems approach illustrated in David Mitchell's Ghostwritten. This approach relies on multiple, linked perspectives to cultivate a reader that actively seeks connections between seemingly disparate experiences and one capable of critically encountering textual elements like human ethical conundrums assigned to non-human characters and real-world events taken for speculative fodder.

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