All posts by Kayla Marsh

Butler Reflection

Coming into Dr. McCoy’s Major Authors class, I thought I had a steady and quasi-holistic view of the world and how I fit into it. However, while interacting with Butler’s tests, I began to realize some darker truths, such as the heteronormative, cisgendeered and ableist society I lived in. I would say that I “bought into” this idealized and discriminatory view of the world, but that would suggest that I had consented and consciously interacted with these societal ideals, when, in fact, I had only been blindly indoctrinated with them. I was ignorant that they even existed in my schema. It was Butler’s insistence that humanity or personhood is not static or one-dimensional that changed my view of the world and the people I came in contact with every day. Continue reading Butler Reflection

Technologies that Limit Access

I remember reading an article not too long ago that celebrated one young man’s new vision for firearms with finger-printing technology–an innovation that at first glance seemed too good to be true. And I have to admit, I thought the idea was great. Second amendment debates typically boil down to how we ensure that the “wrong people” don’t get ahold of firearms. So a technology that limits access to a weapon seems pretty sensible–that is until you read Butler’s Parable of the Talents. Continue reading Technologies that Limit Access

The Parable of Baltimore

The recent news of riots turned chaos in Baltimore have an eerie similarity to the speculative future that Octavia Butler writes about in her Parable series–a future where humans lose regard and respect for one another and revert to destructive means of fulfilling desires and surviving. Granted, the Baltimore riots haven’t taken over the country and created an apocalyptic reversion to naturalistic life, the insight with which Butler foretells the cultivation of primal conflicts is uncanny.  Just as John states in his recent blog, Octavia “has a knack for giving us some bleak futures to look forward to,” but I think that these speculatively bleak futures are imperative to explore as humanity attempts to avoid catastrophe. Continue reading The Parable of Baltimore

Let’s Face It: An Exploration of the Oankali Aesthetic

During class last week, Dr. McCoy mentioned that she regrettably found herself gendering the ooloi, and therefore eunuch, characters of Dawn. Upon reflection, I found this to be true with my reading as well. But then I considered my other difficulties. Adverse to my belief that I am a loving, nurturing human being that can see past physical appearances, I had genuine troubles visualizing a species without a discernible face or set of typical facial features. Continue reading Let’s Face It: An Exploration of the Oankali Aesthetic

Microbes in 2015

Considering that much of Clay’s Ark has been dealing with the infiltration of microbes into the biological systems of humans, I was slightly terrified when I happened upon this article that refers to the study of a particular microbe in soil and its effect on humans. I’m not sure how reputable “” is, but the resources that the article sites seem to come from reliable sources.

Gardening Know How’s article mainly speaks about a microbe found in soil that’s recently been connected to serotonin levels and therefore mental illness issues. On the other hand, the Discover Magazine Resource speaks of a hypothesis that states that asthma and allergies may be linked to our society’s habit of “living too clean” where we remove many of the necessary microbes that train our immune systems to ignore benign threats like pollen and pet dandruff. And lastly, the Sage College Resource links the microbes in soil to anxiety relief and therefore learning benefits. These articles are truly an interesting read and an eye-opener to the beneficial microbes we unknowingly come in contact with every day.

Trauma and Formation of Self

For the past three years I have been employed by an organization key to special education in my region. This has placed me as a substitute in a variety of classrooms and social environments, and the one thing that I’ve noticed among all of these positions is that the human mind has an incredibly ability to cope in the face of trauma. Continue reading Trauma and Formation of Self

They’re Fired

While reading Fledgling by Octavia Butler, I found it crucial to pay specific attention to Butler’s creation of an Earth-like world that was not identical to the reader’s reality, but could still plausibly exist parallel to the reader’s own existence. Like many science-fiction novels, Butler’s narrative stays true to the scientific laws of the physical world, with the exception of her description of the Ina and their history. Considering that the Ina are a fictionalized species, or so I hope, and the laws that govern their world are similarly imagined, these details therefore become especially salient in analyzing her work as a whole. I was specifically interested in the repeated use of fire to vanquish Ina families and symbionts that were in connection with Shori. This repeated plot scenario became more poignant when I began to think of the symbolic, connotative value of fire as both a destructive and purifying force of nature. Continue reading They’re Fired

Who Wears the Mask?

In my Freshman year of college, I was required to memorize one poem from a Literature anthology. That poem happened to be “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The poem proceeds like this:

We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, –

This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties. Continue reading Who Wears the Mask?

A Whole New Meaning to “Dracula”

So, while caught in the depths of youtube– you know, those places where you have no idea how you got there because you started off listening to August Burns Red and then you’re suddenly watching a compilation of cats saying “no”– I happened upon a new popular artist that sings a song called “Dracula.” Considering the talk that we had in class today about the classic vampire trope and the popular media’s quasi-occult obsession with vampires, I thought this music video was both relevant and comical. Continue reading A Whole New Meaning to “Dracula”

Fledgling and the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance

While reading Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler, I have been challenged by many controversial plot developments. Being that this novel is a construct of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, I immediately began to think of my education classes with Dr. Keegan. Dr. Keegan introduced my English education class to a theory called Cognitive Dissonance created by Leon Festinger in 1957 (for more click here), that suggests that when humans encounter values and beliefs that come into direct conflict with their own, they wrestle with these new ideas until they can integrate old convictions with the new notions and therefore restore a cognitive balance. This is often done with works of science fiction and fantasy due to the “literary world” that, through being removed from our own world and sense of reality, can create a virtual workshop for readers to experiment and put their beliefs to the test. Due to the fact that the fictional literary world is removed from our own, the experimentation with morality and values is non-threatening to one’s existence and consequently does not send the reader into an existential crisis but rather gives them a platform to explore and develop convictions safely. Continue reading Fledgling and the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance