(2017 midterm assignment)

Model Student Midterm answers 2016 (Index)

Essay 3: Web Highlights

LITR 4368
Literature of the Future  

Model Assignments


Vaneza Cervantes

Web highlights: A Look Within

For my web highlights I decided to take three of the most interesting essay s that I just enjoyed reading and found questions that I wish I could ask the writer. I will be reflecting and critiquing on Cheryl Voskamp’s The Mind in Overdrive, Rachel Jungklaus’ Does Utopia Exist, and Tamatha Beasley’s Here it goes! Even though there were more essays I wish I could have written on these ladies were my top three and am truly excited to be writing my thoughts about their essays.

Reading Voskamp’s essay, I can totally relate with the mind going on overdrive when one finishes reading all of the different excerpts from this class. There is so much to compare and see with the three narratives of the future that it can be overwhelming at times. Voskamp does a wonderful job reeling in her reader into powerful comparisons and questions.  Starting with the bible and Parable of the Sower, Voskamp tells her readers that there is chaos in the world; however “like-minded individuals create their own Eden from what is left over.” And with what is left over we evolve. Voskamp continues with the story of Adam and Eve to make this point. She writes about the descendants of Adam and Eve and how they continue living beside the chaos that surrounds them. However, in the Time Machine Voskamp writes that “evolution has weeded out the human entirely.” I would disagree here. Yes there are no humans living in the time of future the time traveler went to go visit. But I believe and the time traveler said so as well that these Eloi and Morlocks are the humans, “the Upperworld man had drifted towards his feeble prettiness, and the Underworld to mere mechanical industry” (79). Humanity just needed to adapt and change in order for survival. If we are to believe that we evolved from monkeys then I believe that what the time traveler saw was humans evolved.

Besides that Voskamp then brings up even more amazing comparisons for evolution and alternative. Her ending is what really brought it all together and makes the reader question the world around them which I just adore: “Who knows, maybe I am actually running under normal time constraints in some other life instead of always late in this one!” alternative futures are what make me wonder if we are actually living in the now. To end, Voskamp wrote a captivating essay on a topic that is definitely on everyone’s mind after they leave Dr. White’s classroom- What if?

Jungklaus starts her essay with an engaging introduction. She states a question, does utopia exist, that connects with her readers because it is a recurring issue that we face every four years in voting for a new president. We expect a better outcome for the next years. Jungklaus then brings up the quote of “every utopia is someone else’s dystopia.” She then goes on in making comparisons about living on the ‘other side of the aisle’. Meaning the vice-versa of every dystopia is someone else’s utopia. What I really like about her essay is that she brings in so many outside materials (readings) that prove her point of the vice-versa feel of dystopia and utopia. The characters in her other readings go out of their utopian or dystopian world to reach the opposite. Later on she goes into the class readings. Jungklaus talks about Parable of the Sower and how Keith “found the outside world to his liking right up until he died.” He is the perfect example of someone living in a ‘utopian’ world looking at a dystopian world thinking it is better. I would also argue that Lauren could be looking through Keith’s eyes. Lauren sees a probable utopia in Mars, but her father does not think so. Lauren, slowly, starts seeing that this so called utopian world is not what it seems. We see this when one of her neighbors commits suicide. Lauren says if she believed so much in what her father preached, if where they lived it was a utopian little world, then why create a great sin. Maybe there’s something better outside of our confinement, maybe the dystopian world that we thought is actually our utopian. And Lauren was right. She found something better, she experience mental and physical growth finding a utopian world.

Jungklaus then ends her essay by proving her point further in bring in more outside material. One critique is that I wish she would’ve talked more about the books we’ve read. If carefully analyzed Jungklaus could’ve found examples to match her theme. For example in Mozart in Mirrorshades, the historical people Marie Antoinette and Mozart craved for the supposed utopian world that Rice came from. The historical characters desired the green card and all the items that came from his world. However Rice saw their world as a utopia. He could as he wished. Take anything he wanted because he had the power to, whereas in his everyday dull world (to him probably dystopia, following orders and such) he could not. However, Jungklaus had an excellent essay and wonderful examples.

Tamatha writes about something that grasped my personal attention. For her personal essay she brings up Science fiction being taught into the future classrooms. Beasley writes, “We will ignite a passion for science fiction that will spread like wild fire into the minds of our future leaders in academia.” I absolutely love how she started her essay with this quote. It is our solemn duty to ignite interest and fire into our student’s education. Beasley then adds humor by addressing our professor (yes you are not wrinkly Dr. White) and how he is the starting point of how we will address our future students. She writes about how it is important to use past material, experiences, and stories in the future.  Although Beasley confused me at times by stating that she agrees for adding the past to the future but not altering or creating a drastic change. She did a good job by pin pointing that as future educators we can use all of these terms and symbols in our future classrooms and teach our students the wonder and benefits of science fiction.

To conclude all of these ladies really brought a lot of interesting personal intakes in all of their essays. I found them all insightful and entertaining. It was a true joy to read past students' essays and get a different outlook on the same essays that we have to write.