LITR 4368
Literature of the Future

Final Exam Essays 2015

Model Assignments


Sample answers for Essay 2:
personal / professional interests


Fariha Khalil

09 July 2015

The Possible Fates of the Human Race

As a society we tend to think that the human species will evolve into something magnificently bright, but this might not be the case. Until now, I never imagined a future in which the human race degenerates.  I always thought of humans to be progressing and evolving with time and becoming more and more advanced and intelligent, but never regressing.  In the novel The Time Machine, the time traveller travels to the year A.D 802,701 where he encounters two distinct species of the human race, the Eloi and the Morlocks, which are a dominant metaphor in the novel.  These two species symbolize the degeneration of the human race. The Time Machine further reiterates the fact that there could be a possible reversal in evolution from human to primitive in our future. When the Time Traveller traveled back in time, he expected to see a forward evolvement in the human species. Instead, he sees that the human species have evolved into two separate species. One of the species was the Eloi, angel like species with childlike qualities, while the other species was the Morlocks.  The Morlocks were cannibalistic hairy creatures that lived underground. The Time Traveller was hoping to see how the society has progressed since back from his time, but instead he saw the opposite.

Similarly, Parable of the Sower is set in a post apocalyptic world where humans are quickly regressing to their animal instincts. Parable tells a story of survival after what appears to be an apocalyptic event.  What is described in the story could be an evolutionary process that has occurred and evolved over a short or not as long of a time frame as one first imagines.  The apocalyptic event that devastated the planet was through drugs, severe climate issues as well as a breakdown in the democratic government of the U.S., issues not unlike the ones that plague our own society today.  This particular novel describes a dystopian existence of a future set in a situation within a very fanatical, scary and overall crazy society, which is the complete opposite of a utopia.  In the novel the characters are minimized to their basic human instincts and needs. Fire, as one of four classical elements, is used in this book as a sort of drug equivalent to sex in its ability to inflict human passion (111). We see that people are brought back to such natural elements as fire in order to receive gratification and pleasure, and ultimately wreak havoc (246).  In order to survive, the characters are forced to steal, scavenge and rob.

This is also relevant in Speech Sounds, written by Octavia Butler as well.  In a time when the sense of community as a whole is lost forever, the individual is forced to search and rebuilt companionship any way possible. In this story the world has fallen victim to a mass worldwide epidemic that strips people of their ability to communicate with one another. In some it affects their ability to speak, in others their speech remains but they lose their ability to read or write. This leaves people frustrated, and enraged to the point of killing one another and mass rioting breaks out all over the world. Adults began to act like unlearned children who have been told they can’t have any candy at the grocery store. They flop around screaming incoherently in public places, lashing out at any one who comes near them. Two men almost tear a bus apart fighting for reasons unknown to themselves and to the reader. The bus is rescued by a man who is still holding on to his sense of duty and order by wearing his police badge and helping people wherever he can. It is also at this time that the main character, Rye has found a possible end to her search for community and companionship. Rye accepts the man's protection and offer for a ride with reluctance at first, but in the end she accepts his offer because she really feels that she has nothing left to loose. Rye asks the man to go home and live with her. He finally accepts her offer only to be killed by a mad man chasing a woman with a knife in the street. At this point Rye feels that everything again is lost, but the children that are survived by the dead woman in the street reveal their ability to speak. Rye reestablishes her hopes and dreams for the future rebuilding of a community and society through these children that seem unaffected by the deadly epidemic.

Both, Callenbach’s Chocco and Silverberg’s House of Bones gives us a glimpse of our possible evolution into everything primitive. Chocco shows us our evolution of humanity from Machine people to a more primitive society. This new society has reverted back to the use of hunting for survival and they strive to serve the community and not their individualistic selves.  This new society respects nature; while the machine people, trampled all over it with their big machines and cityscapes. This new society does not see us, the Machine people, as being smart. Rather, they see us as this primitive society who killed themselves off with unwise choices. It is comical because even though we would see this new society as being primitive, since they revert back to low-tech use, they see us as being the primitive creatures.  Similarly, the characters in the House of Bones revert back to the use hunting and nomadic lifestyles for survival. There is really no technology available; rather, the people use their hands to create tools and weapons. We are introduced to the Scavenger, which could be a visual representation of our future evolution into Neanderthals. This Neanderthal is not searching for advancement in the world; rather he is searching for a place to rest his head. He is described as not being the “brightest color in the box”, and he is given animalistic qualities such as following the main character back to the village.

Living in this day and time, we as a society imagine the future as a time with flying cars, and immensely advanced science and technology.  We always see ourselves improving and evolving with time that it never occurs to us that we just might be heading in the opposite direction.  Instead of having flying cars in the future, we might have to learn to live in a walled community and scavenge and steal just to survive. This did not occur to me either until I read the evolutionary narratives Parable of the Sower, and The Time Machine.  Our future might not be as bright and magnificent as we imagine, it could be very dark and dreary instead.