JaniceElaine

Janice Vis-Gitzel is a PhD Student in English & Cultural Studies. She works as a teaching assistant and writing tutor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

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Horizon Zero Dawn and the End of the/our World

The narrative of Horizon Zero Dawn is fascinating, and while there are many potential themes to be examined, I keep coming back to how it handles apocalypse and the end of the/our world. In the game’s past, the Earth faces annellation. When all seems lost, the solution is not to cling to some far-fetch hope for salvation, but instead to for pave the way for something new. Obviously, the crises facing Elisabet Sobeck, Aloy, and today’s humans are all very different. Nonetheless, I think this game offers some food for thought as we face our own climate crises: do we accept coming devastation and focus our energies on creating the conditions for a new, better world to emerge? Or do we cling to what we have and try to save the world we know? Where do we locate hope for the future? Do we have to chose between what we have and what might be? Is it possible to have hope for the emergence of something new without total destruction (as happens in the game)?

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    Latest Comments

    Thanks for sharing these lovely thoughts! I’m a writing tutor, and I often find students have attached so much fear to the process of writing. Journaling can be a wonderful way to alleviate the pressures of writing to someone else’s standards and re-encounter our own creativity.

    The Impact of Writing on Well-Being and Self-Development

    Thanks for these thoughts! It’s definitely an interesting question. Genres are always practices of labelling and categorizing, and to an extent, the popularity of a genre relates to how much exposure it receives. As you point out, there are often utopic elements is dystopic works, so how do texts get shuffled under these different umbrellas? Because more readers have heard of dystopia, publishers might be more likely to market work under that label to attract readers.

    Why Is Utopian Literature Less Popular Than Dystopian Literature?

    I’m super late to this post, but it was a lovely read, so thank you for the work you’ve done here. I think there’s an important nuance you begin to pull at in the end, and that so many of our stories “about” the environment miss: the difference between having characters act on the environment or to “save” the environment and acknowledging that we are all characters in the environment, and that the environment itself is made up of characters who deserve our respect. When well-written, animal protagonists help portray this message, because they don’t just tell us that “humans” need to “save” something abstract called “the environment,” but they make us love and care about those with whom we share our more-than-human environment.

    The Complex Lessons of Environmentally-Motivated Animation