Mundler started off her lecture by mentioning the way that Jensen tries to write without propoganda. To me, this idea seemed really questionable. In some way, sci-fi is naturally propoganda. One purpose of it is to make the reader question their actions and their views, and if it's effective, it will cause a change. It seems like Jensen does has a bias and agenda in her writing, and that's fine - they can still be good novels. I've been watching "Call the Midwife" recently, and I joke that it's socialist propoganda, because it seems like there's always a baby that would have died if it wasn't for socialized medicine. That doesn't mean that I think it's a bad show, just that I'm aware of the bias inherent in the drama.
The premise of "The Rapture" is that a young woman, Bethany, was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home where she was abused. Bethany killed her mother and was placed in a psychiatric hospital, where she meets an art therapist named Gabrielle. Bethany has an intense inner world that looks like the result of ecological disaster. While in the hospital, Bethany is essentially a prophet of ecological disaster, predicting earthquakes and the like. In a strange connection, one of Jensen's books, published before 2010 featured an oil spill that was erily similar to the BP oil spill.
I was fascinated by the paralells between fundamentalist Christianity and ecological fanaticism that Mundler discussed. The ideologies are different, but the extremist mentalities are the same in the book. I don't know enough about either movement to make a statement on the topic, but I'm curious about the similarities of those movements in real life. Do they share rhetorical techniques? Do people become involved in the movements in the same ways?
From everything that Mundler said about "The Rapture" it sounded like the kind of book that would be banned regularly in the U.S. because of the portrayal of religion. However, when I searched, I couldn't find any articles about it being banned. Books can often be banned quietly, so it very well could have been banned or challenged. I think this book would be great for young people to read - it seems like it would encourage reflection and ask young people to take a critical look at their society.
Applying criticism to young adult fiction is interesting and important, and I wish we discussed it with actual young adults. Personally, I took English classes in high school and was asked to read fiction and respond to it, but I didn't read criticism until college. Reading different critical perspectives on a work was eye-opening for me, and I think I would have benefited from reading them at an earlier age.
Another interesting aspect of this is understanding how young adult fiction fits into a larger picture of environmental education. I consider myself lucky in that I went to summer camp in the woods as a kid, and ended up working at that camp as an adult. That experience broadened my understanding of nature and ecological issues, and made certian issues feel deeply personal*. However, I feel like I'm still lacking in my understanding of ecological issues - for instance, I know that tar sands are bad and happening somewhere in West Michigan, but the specifics are still very fuzzy. I had some environmental education in grade school, but it was sporadic and not terribly engaging. I'm in a sustainability class right now, and I feel like my knowlege of sustainability issues is pretty low. Is this a huge blind spot for everyone else? I'm hoping that I can sieze the oppurtunity to learn more about sustainability, environmental issues, and find ways that those intersect with other things that I'm interested in.
I really enjoy going to lectures - I think they're a good way to broaden your understanding of topics that you don't cover in classes and make the best use of the resources provided to you by your university. It's a more intellectually engaging way to spend an evening than watching Netflix, at the very least.
If you're around Kalamazoo, I encourage you to check out Wagatwe Wanjuki's lecture about Safer Campuses for All: Using Title IX to Provide an Education Free of Sexual Violence in 1920 Sangren Hall at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
From Lee Honors College: "Wagatwe Wanjuki is a survivor, activist and writer who uses social media to campaign for reform of college sexual assault policies. She is founding co-organizer of the Know Your IX ED ACT NOW campaign, which educates students regarding their Title IX civil rights."
*Don't get me started about logging.
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