Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Paper #11

Kismet's picture

The Collapse of Western Civilization by Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway:

  • A short yet sophisticated novel

  • Considered satire

    • Although it was intended to be satirical when it was published in 2014, it has become almost prophetic to the point where it no longer has any humorous notes

  • Describes the collapse in retrospect

  • Who is the audience?

    • Because it is a novel it is not as appealing to younger readers as a graphic novel

    • May be a call to action for younger readers, though - the collapse takes place in 2093, which implies that the younger generation can either make or break our society

    • It educates and informs the reader about issues and their potential consequences, but might not clearly be a call to action

  • Implies that the government should take action against corporations


As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial by Derrick Jensen & Stephanie McMillan:

  • A graphic novel

  • Short, quick read with compelling illustrations

  • How do the illustrations affect the content?

    • Makes it more readable for younger audiences (possibly as young as middle school, despite some explicit content)

    • Makes it a more emotional experience

      • For example, “the polar bears swimming through the ocean to ice that’s no longer there” and “the ghosts of the numberless war dead, soldiers and civilians, lost friends and broken families” (pg. 47)

      • The illustrations add a mental picture to the tragedies being described, which increases their effectiveness

    • Adds to the satirical aspect of the graphic novel

      • Addresses serious issues in a format that is generally considered simple, easy to read, and childish

      • Pokes fun at the propaganda about how simple and easy it is to recycle, take shorter showers, etc. to save the environment

  • Who is the audience?

    • Format appeals to younger audiences, as well as the age of the main characters

    • A more direct call to action

      • Shows that small, simple ways to help the environment aren’t enough

      • Calls for revolution and the overthrow of a corrupt system, implying that it is the only solution

    • May be considered less sophisticated by older audiences based on the format, therefore may be less consumable

  • Implies that both corporations and the government are to blame and must be held accountable