Essay about `` Near Extinction Fictional Narratives '

Essay about `` Near Extinction Fictional Narratives '

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Near extinction fictional narratives are often constructed around a recognizable Western-based three-act structure – an expository opening in which a catastrophe (or an oncoming catastrophe) introduces itself to the main characters, followed by a middle act in which the protagonists must negotiate themselves through a reconfigured social and/or geographic landscape, followed by a climax which the characters are re-identified into the population, now as survivors. By considering this format as a rite de passage (Van Gennep 1909), a concept that examines various social rituals as passage from one state of social being to another, these accounts may also be reconsidered as status changes that adversely affect gender behaviors and exposes an over-reliance on traditional norms. This new paradigm would see the characters violently separated from prior stereotypical gender understandings, forcing them into the roles as liminae personae (Turner, 1969) before finally re-emerging (or being allowed re-emerge) as changed survivors. It is during the middle threshold phase that these characters often experience a reversal or even a full breakdown of gender norms and social behaviors in order to survive their trials. What Van Gennep’s and Turner’s theories reveal is that by disconnecting the protagonists (and by extension, we the audience) from familiar social norms, the extreme trauma of disasters offer opportunities in gender norms and behaviors that would have been unavailable beforehand.
I. Disruption by Disaster:
The events envisioned by near-extinction fictions such a severe climate changes or environmental collapses in the wake of other disasters (such as nuclear warfare) meet the standard of disaster as they are “(1) events that c...


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...verwrought consumerism and neglect of the environment itself, such as in Interstellar – may very well be repeated with the continuation of traditional social understandings.
Finally, it is a strange oversight - and an unrealistic outcome – that these cinematic samplings never anticipate the likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder effecting their protagonists. The World Health Organization has found that post-traumatic stress disorder would likely arise in the wake of “an exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature that is likely to cause pervasive distress” (Gittelman 2003-4 53). Yet in having their characters rush to return to past behaviors and norms, none of these near-extinction fictional narratives considers the likelihood that they will suffer from the symptoms of extreme PTSD and may need appropriate mental care alongside physical remedies.

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