"Ever is no time at all" : theological issues in post-apocalyptic fiction and Cormac McCarthy's The Road
Swartz, Zachary Christian.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. As a sub-genre of science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction typically presents a scenario in which human life continues after some cataclysmic event has decimated the world's population. Its aims are thus congruent with those of biblical apocalyptic literature, which characteristically promises that the current world will be destroyed and replaced with one that is new and reserved only for the steadfast and the faithful. This thesis explores science fiction's compatibility with biblical apocalyptic literature and examines how post-apocalyptic fiction has become one of the most relevant modern genres for serious theological consideration.; To this end, this thesis considers the literary influences of science fiction and biblical apocalyptic literature, the ideas and imagery of the biblical book of Revelation, and the theological significance of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, a representative work of post-apocalyptic fiction. Such an examination reveals the ways in which post-apocalyptic fiction utilizes the themes and symbols of biblical and apocalyptic literature to present similar warnings, similar promises, and similar appeals to steadfast faith. An examination of The Road within the context of McCarthy's bibliography and American history reveals that the preponderance of apocalyptic literature during ancient periods of social unrest or religious persecution may be connected to the prevalence of post-apocalyptic fiction in a post-9/11 United States.; Finally, this thesis concludes that the significance of both apocalyptic literature and post-apocalyptic fiction is revealed through the ability of the written word to provide readers with a clearer understanding of human existence. While the standard tale of post-apocalypse has evolved to exclude overt promises of hope or rewarded faith, it seems clear that the modern apocalyptic mindset may not be exceptionally different from that of ancient authors of apocalyptic literature. Ultimately, the act of storytelling itself still allows for the affirmation and perpetuation of human morality.
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