Becoming With: Writing Ourselves in the Chthulucene
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After the passing of her mother, Carrie Fischer’s daughter Billie appeared on The Ellen Show, with headlines advertising the segment claiming Billie Lourd Talks Life after Leia—on camera, however, all Billie has to say on the subject is, “there’s no way to really explain it”. Kurt Vonnegut echoes this sentiment in his introduction to Slaughterhouse Five, prefacing his anti-war novel with the claim, “there’s nothing intelligent to say about a massacre”. It’s something that we all, if innately, know—that certain tragedies, things that can be fully known and experienced within the scope of human existence, cannot be put into words. Thoughts know things words don’t. Human consciousness can understand the depth of things that language can barely scrape at, most succinctly put the way that a friend of mine recently announced the death of his mother: words fail. The project of this thesis is to examine the ways in which fiction can capture a consciousness that is fragmented, imagistic, and illogical: exploring works by Susan Steinberg, Ted Chiang, Amelia Gray, Louise Erdrich, and others, I argue through the lens of Donna Haraway that this consciousness has its origins in the collective nature of thought matter.
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