What It Means To See an End

In my nineteen years, eight months, one day, thirteen hours and twenty-nine minutes on this Earth, I have had my world end four times. What felt like devastating and life changing experiences that tore my being apart, they were, in actuality, miniscule when only applied to myself in the scale of the world’s constant tragedy. I had not coined the term “apocalypse” to be associated with the definitions we have discussed in class, yet they make the utmost amount of sense in retrospect. Most societies have been socially trained through the media to link ideas like zombies, nuclear waste, and other science-fiction fantasy-esque topics to what an apocalypse is. However, taking into account the essay “Notes Towards (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought” by Santana Kaplan, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, and an introduction to Percival Everett’s novel American Desert, we can concur that an apocalypse does not have to behave like the typical depiction we see, rather it can consist of a varying scale. For some individuals, they state their apocolypses to be the world around them being destroyed, whereas others portray their conceptions as when their own personal world dies in some way, shape, or form. Despite the take, an apocalypse in my mind seems to require some form of change in normalcy. Taking into account the pendulum of apocalyptic definitions, I have wondered which has a harsher impact: an individual apocalypse or a worldly one.  

My world ended when I was five years old for the first time when my parents separated. At that time I didn’t quite understand the depth to the seriousness of the situation, nor the impact it would wreck on my life years afterward. By incorporating the speculations from above, I would describe this instance in my life to be an individual apocalypse. Within the literary work Wild Seed, the main characters Anyanwu and Doro experience a vast array of their own calamities. Anyanwu has lived for centuries and has lost many children, outgrown them and watched them and generations afterwards pass on. She loses her freedom when Doro’s life and her’s intertwined, their immortality chaining one to the other out of self preservation and loneliness. Her understanding of her surroundings is constantly altered, she is barely given time to adjust and step onto her feet. Doro–while he does not get the most sympathy throughout the majority of the book–we observed had his life collapse when everything he’d known to be was gone, his humanity revoked along with the lives of his townsfolk. In these instances, when the personal world was altered, the outside world was affected in a dire way. Anyanwu was taken from her home where her life was flipped upside down, and in turn she was used to breed a possibly enhanced human race with potential powers, weaving the effects of her estrangement within a plethora of communities around the planet. Doro’s apocalypse instilled fear in many colonies; it altered many parts of societies through his mission to breed the perfect race. Henceforth, when we observe an individual change, occasionally that change can send a reverberation of ripples throughout the world. 

I was in ninth grade when my world ended for the third time. I came to the realization through an introduction to high school and the beginnings of complex schooling that the place I lived in was not the wonderful place I had been told growing up. In fact, it is filled with nonstop plagues of death that take various appearances all over. This epiphany was not my own world falling apart, so much so as the perception of the world finally being clear enough to see it already was in the process of devastation. In Wild Seed, I had pondered about Doro’s apocalypse he experienced as a child and how that affected his surroundings, the small to the big ripple effect. On the other hand, Anyanwu fell into one of those ripples sent out by Doro’s immortality. Her life changed once Doro knew of her existence, but did she change the lives of those around her due to her own apocalypse? Or possibly it manifest from a separate cataclysmic event in someone else’s timeline, AKA Doro’s. I’ve established that the two powerful beings are connected on many levels. If we take it a step further, we can see how personal apocalypses create worldly changes, but also vice versa. The typical depiction of an apocalypse through a movie or video game centers its focus on one individual person, enduring the aftereffects of the collapse of their society. Anyanwu’s personal realm was damaged and dismantled due to Doro’s own personal apocalypse, for without his transformation into the creature he is, we would not have seen Anyanwu’s life be modified in a momentous way. She was living her life, pushing through the losses of her family except all the while creating new kinsmen to ease her loneliness. I’ve begun to question to what end does this cycle go, though, and how might the understanding of these topics aid us in comprehending the infiniteness of our finite existence. 

As we read through the beginning of American Desert, I have noticed how typical humanity tends to be when faced with fear-evoking encounters.  When Ted is revived through some unworldly miracle, instead of preaching life and hope, Ted’s city revolted. It spiraled into absolute chaos at the understanding–or lack thereof–of Ted’s rejuvenation. Why do people turn to actions of destruction to process the unknown? How must we alter our minds’ capabilities to stay sane after witnessing unfathomable events? An apocalypse of the individualistic nature, if attention-grabbing enough, acts as an activator for the circumambient communities to revolt, destroying what they knew to eliminate what they didn’t. Within Santana Kaplan’s essay, he discusses how Afro-pessimism requires the end of Western human civilization because the racism lies too deep within history and society. Santana states that “The Worldly privileging of citizenship, rights, and inclusion fundamentally reinforces our constitutive forgetfulness of the question of Black being” (Kaplan 73). Inside humanity there lies constant reminders for people of color that their ancestry endured such traumatic oppression, their lives revoked of individuality. As time passed on, their identities were built back up with the culture they had originally lost as well as the strength in their abilities to find equality. Despite everyone’s best efforts to progressively enhance society into true equality, the endeavors are met with the persistent reminder of a racist presence intertwined into everyday aspects of life. The only way to erase racism is to invoke a cataclysmic event, to fully abolish the wrong-doings of man. To complete this task, however, is almost impossible, not only due to the grandiosity of the act but because society’s ignorance causes many to believe society as a whole understands racism, and because its roots/history is “understood” by the prominent demographic–white people–it is a fathomable concept. Its existence is too known by the majority, therefore Western civilization humanity is not willing to destroy it out of fear.

There are connects through practically everything we see around us, through history and the present, even the future we picture as we wouldn’t be capable to make assumptions without the inclusion of current evidence. In class we conferred about recent events like the Oklahoma City Bombing, black helicopters, new world order conception, Ruby Ridge, and Waco. As we dived into the context of these horrific events, we began to see patterns as one event had a tie, then two ties, then multiple ties to every other event on the board. Society creates issues to solve the ones it feels threaten the sanctity of its structure. Through prejudice, racism, classism, ableism, sexism, etc., the divisions between us all grow wider each passing moment as we ourselves break off into our secluded colonies, prepping for the completely literal end of the planet. 

Are We in the Midst of A Global Apocalypse?

By: Madison Butler

According to the Book of Revelation, the four stages of the apocalypse are conquest, war, famine, and death. While these four stages can be seen in the literary texts we have read thus far, we can also see these in the real world. It is fair to say that the world is slowly moving at a decline. As we know, everything must eventually come to an end. So if the end is inevitable, it is more a matter of what signifies such an end and to consider it, we must understand the notions of individual versus a major apocalyptic event. Wild Seed by Octavia Butler and American Desert by Percival Everett both represent individual and major apocalyptic events. Which leads me to think, are we in the midst of a global  apocalypse? And if so, what individual events have or will lead us to the end of the world? 

In Octavia Butler’s book, Wild Seed, we see the main character, Anyanwu, go through her own individual apocalypse and how that affects the rest of the world around her. Anyanwu’s individual apocalypse is the struggles that she deals with while in the grasp of Doro, the antagonist in the book. It is also interesting to think about Doro, and how in his life, his death changed the course of history. With his newfound power, he was able to manipulate and control other individuals which led to their dependence on Doro to take care of them and keep the world in order. Much like today, we depend on people in power to ensure our prosperity and keep our world from collapsing. However, more times than not, it is those within power that affect the apocalyptic events in history that create a chain reaction and may eventually lead to the end of the world. In the real world, we see many individual apocalyptic events on a day to day basis. From mass school shootings, to the war in Ukraine, to the deadly global pandemic due to the coronavirus, it is easy to feel like the world is going downhill rapidly. It is interesting how a single apocalyptic event, like the ones we see in the texts we have read, such as the “rebirth” of Ted Street in Percival Everett’s book, American Desert, tend to lead to a larger, post-apocalyptic event; which in regards to the example from Everett’s book, was the rioting and ultimate chaos that unleashed in the streets after the shocking arisal of the pronounced dead, Ted Street. In life, we have seen time and time again how historical events can lead to the cause of another catastrophic event later in history. In 1993, there was a week-long standoff in Waco Texas, between the federal government and the Branch Davidians, which were an armed religious group at the time. According to the History Channel website, the prophet of the religious group, David Koresh, “was appointed by God to bring about the end of the world.” On April 19, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the property where Koresh and the other Davidians were hiding and ended up killing 80 Branch Davidians, 25 of which were children. This event led to public aggression and riots, declaring the event to be illegal and barbaric. One of the angered civilians was a former Army veteran named Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh went on to bomb a federal building in Oklahoma city exactly two years after the Waco Massacre. This is a prime example of how an individual post-apocalyptic event has the ability to spark a chain reaction of many post-apocalyptic events and set the world on fire. 

Wild Seed, shows the struggles with power and how power can affect the surrounding environment. Doro, being the most powerful character in the story, asserts his control onto everyone in his community and even continues to find new people to breed it. He does this in hopes to find a “good seed,” as Butler writes it, to breed an individual with similar power to his, but still make it so that they would be unable to overthrow him. He takes Anyanwu in order to breed her, due to her supernatural abilities. Doro, feels a little threatened by Anyanwu, leading him to relegate her to a basic form of slavery. Throughout the entire book, we see Anyanwu struggle with Doro’s authority over her and the community. The ending of Wild Seed proves that even the almighty have weakness’ and that no matter what, there is always a way to avert power. This is true in the world today. We are sorted into different classes, with each class being more powerful than another. In the United States, if you are rich, you automatically have more power than if you are a part of a low income class. In many places around the world, if you are a woman, you are considered less than in society. Even in Iran today, riots are breaking out in the streets because of the death of Mahsa Amari. Groups around the world are being targeted one by one. From the rape and murder of Native Americans, to the enslavement and slaughter of African Americans, to the control and murder of women, and to the genocides and discrimination of many other minority groups, people within these groups are being targeted and eliminated slowly over time. If you turn on the news, it seems like every story consists of  kidnapping, murder, war, disease, and so on. The quest for power is, once again, what drives our society and our world into the ground. It is arguably the cause of most every historical event that has led us to this point in time. The cause of slavery was the assertion of power onto African Americans. Each catastrophic event in history is leading us closer to the unpredictable future. 

When an individual’s apocalypse happens in the world, each apocalypse can add together to create the ultimate apocalypse. Based on the ideas presented in the book Wild Seed, as well as the other literary texts we have discussed and analyzed so far,  they have questioned the ideology of what an apocalypse is and how it can occur. With these texts, it is easy to see the parallels between fiction and reality and to ask ourselves the same questions that some of the characters in our books may be questioning as well. It’s easy for us to be blind to our own ignorance  which will ultimately lead to us not paying attention to the compounding nature of all of these individual apocalypses which could lead to the end of the world. This will lead us to focus on each individual event rather than the effect they will all have on the world. Which leads me to believe that the world may be in the midst of an apocalyptic time period and that it is only a matter of time before another individual apocalyptic event leads to the extinction of all humankind.

Perceived Humanity & The Apocalypse

Kendall Cruise

Beth McCoy

September 26, 2022

Essay One

            When I signed up for Black Apocalyptic Fiction this semester, I definitely had expectations as to what the content of the literature would look like. Much of this I had received from other kinds of apocalyptic media that I had consumed such as The Last of Us or The Walking Dead. Which were largely stories about the destruction of greater society and law, desolate and collapsed towns/cities, survival of the fittest mentalities, graying color schemes, and of course zombies. Though some of what we have read explores some of these ideas the approach and mentality taken as to the “true” meaning of the genre has been taken in a totally different direction than I had initially anticipated. In this course so far, there has been a major focus on the definition of apocalypse and using that to expand our connotations of the genre and its larger and versatile definition. Google says that the word apocalypse comes from Old English and its etymology leads it to mean most literally to uncover or reveal. I find this definition and approach to the word to be one I find endlessly enthralling. The ways in which I think this applies in all depictions of apocalypse that I have come across from the aforementioned titles to Andrew Santana Kaplan’s essay “Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought” and Octavia Butler’s novel Wild Seed is in this genres disposition in uncovering the nature of humanity.

            In Santana Kaplan’s essay on the apocalypse and afro-pessimism there is strong punctuation on societies perception of people of color, especially black people, and how it pertains to ontology, or the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being, and how because of the subjugation and enslavement of black people the society is forever tainted with the idea that black people are not quite being. Andrew Santana Kaplan observes that,

The fundamental ontological problems that the “free” Black presents leads Warren to make a decisive distinction: between emancipation and freedom. The conflation of this juridical term with this ontological term is mistaken insofar as the Black’s emancipation from slavery in no way yields access to Human freedom. This is why the Worldly privileging of citizenship, rights, and inclusion fundamentally reinforces our constitutive forgetfulness of the question of Black being (Kaplan 73).

This argument that because the history of enslavement for black people they will always exist outside of being due to the ingrained mentalities of the societies from racial-chattel-slavery, which Kaplan sees as the singular cataclysmic event of modernity leaves black people as something just outside of being in the functions of society. Santana Kaplan points out that because of stripping away of human freedom that people of color have experience they fall more into the category of meontology stating, “. Simon Critchley’s The Faith of the Faithless (2012) includes a section on Paul’s singular notion of hos me [‘as not’], which Critchley describes as ‘a meontology, an account of things that are not’” (Kaplan 74).  I find this focus and distinction of Black being to be an idea that interacts very interestingly and congruously with the apocalyptic genre and especially the exploration of things that are not quite being and or human in the way we would traditionally think of those concepts. The way I see it Kaplan seems to be observing that we are in an apocalyptic world because not all that inhabit it are seen as human and this mentality has caused the need for the true end of the world because the end of the world for people of color has already happened due to the gratuitous nature of racial-chattel-slavery.

            These cause-and-effect relationship between observed non-being and the end of the world, even a personal one, is one that seems to be explored with frequency in the apocalyptic genre. While in stereotypical apocalyptic media this may be depicted through the likable, honorable (probably male) protagonist performing some horrendously violent or selfish action for the sake of their survival causing the audience to question the humanity of the protagonist, Butler utilizes this relationship in a different way. In Wild Seed Doro and Anyanwu are something that is human-adjacent. While they both hold human appearances, they both are immortal and possess supernatural abilities. This throws a bit of a wrench in the reader’s categorization of them both and places them in a field more accurately covered by meontology. Though, their perceived humanity has seemed to make a difference in the humanity that they display in their life. While Doro is by many viewed of as a god or a spirit, Anyanwu is viewed as a healer, a mother, and witch. While all of societies perceptions of Anyanwu might not all be positive she is generally seen as more “human” by traditional standards because of her inherently empathetic nature that is enhanced by her ability to heal. In contrast, Doro state requires him to have to move himself from body to body with some amount of frequency in order to sustain his immortal life. This has caused him to have a strange relationship with humanity as a whole because in some ways they are required to be a tool for him to continue on with his life and make the best of the bodies available to him. Doro can be a cold and unforgiving killer when he wants to be and doesn’t always change shape out of necessity but will often do it to make an example of something. This has resulted in others to view him as less human than Anyanwu because they see him as having less humanity and therefore being less human. This ties to the end of their individual worlds because when once Doro’s world ended quite literally during his transition and he died and took the form of another body this was the metaphorical domino that led to the perceptions others had of him in the novel’s present day. Similarly, Anyanwu world ended once Doro found her in her village and took her to become seed for his ultimate goal of creating the perfect companion to end his loneliness. Once Doro’s perception of Anyanwu of her being nothing more than a tool for him to achieve his ultimate goal some of her independence and personal morals were lost, both of which are vitals parts of humanity. This relationship does well to demonstrate the points Kaplan brings out in his essay on how black people are seen as something categorically meontological because of the perceptions of them during racial-chattel-slavery. This then gives way to what the apocalypse genre truly seeks to uncover: what it really means to be human.

            These foundational observations of the class topics and readings so far has given me much to read for. Already in American Desert by Percival Everett I am seeing the struggle of defining what it really means to be human due to Ted having risen from the dead and seeming to have become something other than the traditional definition/perception of humanity. I am excited to continue to see how this dance between perceived humanity and personal apocalypse seem to play into each other hand in hand in the future readings for the course.         

Iterations of Apocalypse: a Growing and Changing Lexicon

Popular culture and media have ingrained the idea of an “apocalypse” in the minds of those who consume media.  So many of our favorite television shows, movies, and books are defined as “post-apocalyptic” or “dystopian” that we as a media-consuming society often only have one idea of what an apocalypse is.  This media defines an apocalypse as some event, a plague, asteroid, or alien attack, the results in the death of most of the planet and leaves the remaining population fighting for survival while struggling to retain their humanity.  Television shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and movies like Mad Max: Fury Road depict desolate worlds, mostly empty of people yet still full of threats, where the remaining survivors fight amongst themselves to survive.  This common formula, while not exactly a fresh idea, has been proved time and time again to be an interesting vehicle to showcase human emotion and stories, as evidenced by the massive success that these media enjoy.  However, these portrayals have done us a disservice by cementing only one idea of an apocalypse in our minds.  The texts that we have read so far this semester have all presented their own ideas and definitions of what an apocalypse could be, and in doing so have revolutionized what types of media can be considered “apocalyptic.”  In the past few weeks, I have been doing my best to distill the themes and ideas in each reading into each text’s definition of an apocalypse.  The essay and two novels we have read have not been easy texts to understand and defining the term apocalypse in terms of each text has been difficult, but in doing so I lead myself to another line of questioning.  If each text has a different, yet correct, definition of apocalypse, can these definitions be applied to the other texts we have read in class?

            Andrew Santana Kaplan’s essay “Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought” was an incredibly dense read.  It was not meant for an audience of undergraduate students, much less a biochemistry major like myself.  Although it left me with many initial questions upon my first reading, the question that stuck with me the longest was “how is Afro-Pessimism apocalyptic?”  In the onset of Kaplan’s argument, they use the term “World.”  Throughout the essay, they capitalize World in a way that is likely immediately understood by those in their field, but not by me.  Via the context and content of the essay, I came to realize that Kaplan uses the term World to define a society with assumed values and attitudes towards certain races and peoples.  They write that the common ground of the Afro-Pessimistic and contemporary Christian Paulinism “lies in their shared conviction that true justice demands the end of the World,” providing some of the first evidence into how this essay might be considered apocalyptic (Kaplan 3).  Kaplan posits that, according to Afro-Pessimistic thought, true escape from an anti-Black World requires the end of that World.  Although Kaplan is discussing social revolution in which a new assumed set of values and attitudes is adopted, their wording comes off as distinctly apocalyptic.  In this essay, Kaplan suggests a definition of apocalypse in which the society, and all of its outdated and ingrained values, ends, not the entire world.  Moving from Kaplan’s essay to Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed and Percival Everett’s American Desert, I was interested to see what kind of through lines could be drawn between each text’s ideas of what an apocalypse could be and how these definitions interacted with each other.

            The two novels we have read were easier to understand but provided equally thought provoking depictions of apocalypses.  Butler’s Wild Seed provided an immediate opportunity for me to apply Kaplan’s definition of apocalypse, seeing as the characters Anyanwu and Doro underwent several of Kaplan’s apocalypses throughout the novel.  I found that Wild Seed and Kaplan had similar depictions of apocalypses, yet on very different scales.  While Kaplan thought of upheavals on a societal scale, Doro and Anyanwu’s personal Worlds were overthrown throughout the novel.  Doro’s destruction of the settlement that Anyanwu had created for herself and her people and Doro’s subsequent realization that he might lose his only truly life-long companion were significant upheavals in their lives that radically changed their values and attitudes in the same way that Kaplan’s apocalypse would radically change society and its views on race.  Doro had never once considered making concessions to Anyanwu before his realization that she might end her own life.  His “merging” with her at the end of Wild Seed seemed to force upon him a realization that he could not live alone for the rest of his infinite life (Butler 295).    Similarly to the interaction between Kaplan’s essay and Wild Seed, I found through lines between Wild Seed and American Desert.  Ted’s dream of the philosophers Hegel and Heidegger revealed another iteration of the small-scale, personal apocalypse found in Wild Seed.  The philosophers’ conclusion that “There is no more Ted.  There is only Ted-prime” is a sign that, unconsciously, Ted knows that his previous World has ended (Everett 51).  This world is not a society or a civilization like Kaplan suggests, but another personal World like Doro’s and Anyanwu’s.  Ted’s life as a professor is over, his dwindling marriage to his wife is beginning to be turn around, and he gains a newfound confidence and wit that he never had before his death.  These are all indications that Ted is indeed a new person, Ted-prime.  Although Ted himself questions whether or not he is the same person or just an imitation of his former identity (Everett 51), he has undergone an apocalypse in Wild Seed’s other sense as well.  A thought I had not considered until reading American Desert was that Doro’s intense, world-changing realization could also be considered a kind of apocalypse.  Upon his revival, or reincarnation, Ted is most impressed by his increased capacity for love for his family more than anything else (Everett 87).  This newfound capacity was not a completely new part of Ted, more so a realization that his personal apocalypse forced him to realize.  This realization was the through line I was looking for between the readings, allowing me to apply each iteration of apocalypse to other texts and the texts we will read over the course of the semester. 

            These texts provided a lot for me to think about in the past weeks, and the questions I have been reckoning with have provided me with more than enough motivation to consume these novels faster than any fiction in recent years.  After reading through these texts and answering the questions they had originally prompted, I am excited to read the rest of the novels on the reading list.  I anticipate being able to define apocalypse in even more ways and being able to apply these new definitions to other texts in turn.  The three definitions already provided, Kaplan’s societal revolution, Butler’s personal realizations, and Everett’s death and reincarnation, have interwoven so beautifully that I am looking forward to applying these ideas to future novels, as well as being able to apply new ideas to these novels in order to deepen and change my understanding of these instances of apocalypse.

The Spectrum of Apocalypse

Hallie Edic

Beth McCoy

ENGL 327 Black Apocalyptic Fiction

Essay One

One of the biggest struggles in the book was the idea of the apocalypse as a whole. What is an apocalypse and how does it relate to this novel? Within the first week of class, we discussed the idea that an apocalypse is not always the stereotypical end-of-the-world, fires blazing, zombies running rampant, dark and dingy atmosphere that most people assume, but, rather, it could be the end of one’s own personal idea of life. The most interesting idea in Wild Seed, to me, was how it was related to an apocalyptic novel and what exactly the apocalypse was. Wild Seed, though many would not think so at first glance, is an apocalyptic novel. After seeing this idea put into practice by Butler, it makes it easier for us as an audience to challenge our thoughts about what apocalyptic fiction really is. Heading into the rest of the course, I hope to be able to better grasp what constitutes an apocalyptic novel and continue challenging the basic idea of what this fiction entails. It will also be intriguing to see the diversity of apocalypses in the views of so many different authors throughout the course.

Though people generally consider an apocalypse to be the end of the entire world, Kaplan explains, “Afro-pessimism’s apocalyptic thought is not reducible to its demand for the end of the World” (81). It is almost as though the apocalypse is a spectrum, ranging from something as small as an individual’s world to as large as, maybe even, the universe. Kaplan also writes, “Though the apocalyptic is commonly associated with the end of the World, etymologically, it primarily means to un-cover, which is precisely how Paul uses it. For Paul, apo-kalupsis names the un-veiling of the messianic event and the passing figure of this World” (81). How, then, does this relate to Butler’s world. Though Paul’s ideas are more rooted in the idea of the Messiah and, in that sense, religion, there is a large event in Butler’s work that constitutes as the “un-veiling” of a large, inescapable event: The realization that Anyanwu will never be able to completely get rid of Doro. This occurs in the third book of the novel following Anyanwu’s initial escape from Doro and her formation of her own town. As soon as he finds her and her new home, she has an inkling that things will begin to go arry, as they always have in Doro’s other civilizations. Anyanwu even thinks, “He had settlements everywhere, families everywhere. She had only one, and he was taking it… She could live on and on and have nothing. He would see to it” (Butler 241). If the sexual assault of daughter and the death of her son were not enough to show her how blatantly awful Doro’s reign over her town was, his senseless killing of Susan, one of her closest friends, was enough to lead her to suicide. Doro’s intervention into her town, which had done remarkably better than any of his had in the centuries he had been cultivating them and stealing people to repopulate, would be the end of her world as she knew it– her own personal apocalypse. Her only reprievement from Doro’s grasp was the sweet release of death. This realization was a great unveiling to Anyanwu. She knew, in that moment when he killed Susan, that she would never know peace, for they were the only two immortal beings in the world. She would have to deal with Doro and his horrible ways of life for the rest of her time on Earth. To relate this to Kaplan and Paul’s arguments, it almost seems as though Doro is the Messiah (though not in a good way) coming to stake claims on Anyanwu’s city and threatening the end to the city (and Anyanwu’s world) as they know it. This interpretation of an apocalypse is one that is more on a personal scale, unlike the general idea of an apocalypse. The entire world is not ending, but, rather, Anyanwu’s personal life. Really, though, Anyanwu’s apocalypse could, arguably, have started the moment she met Doro. Though she did not understand exactly what she was getting into when she met him, it was clear, even then, that there was no escaping Doro anymore. Anyanwu had lived for hundreds of years being undetected by Doro, but now that he had her scent, she was his, whether she liked it or not. Any feeling of choice or decision was merely a facade to convince Anyanwu to come with him willingly. Doro says, “You belong with me, with the people I’m gathering. We are people you can be part of– people you need not frighten or bribe into letting you live” (Butler 23). Doro appealed to Anyawu’s desire to live a peaceful life, but later to her desire to have children she did not need to bury. Doro’s discovery of Anyanwu was the end of her life as she knew it– the beginning of her own personal apocalypse. She had gone from constantly watching her back, killing only for protection, and only really needing to watch out for herself and her kinsmen to being enslaved by an immortal being with no idea what it meant to be human anymore. There was no escape for her once the apocalypse began with even her greatest escape being short-lived compared to her lengthy time on Earth. The question Kaplan ends his essay with stands in the eyes of Anyanwu, “do I die with Blackness, or do I remain invested in the katechontic- power- of- the- anti- Black- World?” (85). Essentially, does Anyanwu die with her honor, at her own will or does she fall victim to Doro’s eventual wrath and destruction of the world as a whole. Not only that, but a katechon has been believed to hold back the dealings of the antiChrist in religious texts. When the katechon is removed, the antiChrist is able to fully manifest. It seems as though in Butler’s story, Anyanwu would be the katechon and Doro would be the antichrist. Isaac, Doro’s son, had told Anwayu before he died that she needed to “live so that [she] could save the human part of [Doro]” (Butler 295). Anyanwu explains to Doro, “But [Isaac] was wrong. I cannot save it. It is already dead” (Butler 295). Isaac believed the only thing keeping alive what little humanity Doro had left was Anyanwu, but Anyanwu explains that she is too late. Doro argues, though, that she is the only reason he still feels any human emotion and promises to be better as long as she does not end her life and leave him alone. In a way, Anyanwu is Doro’s world, and her death would be an apocalypse of his own. Had Anyanwu gone through with her plan to commit suicide, thus removing the katechon from the equation, Doro could have become much worse than before and completely destroyed the rest of humanity and the world as it was, disrupting the normal ways of life more than he already had. In many ways, Butler’s novel relates directly to Kaplan’s explanation of the Black messianic beliefs in Afro-Pessimism’s apocalyptic thought.

Thinking about these ideas in the context of Wild Seed will help me, as well as the rest of my peers, understand how this thought can be applied to literature and how we can deduce these findings in our other works. Most notably, for me, I want to see how each author, again, reveals their own ideas about apocalypses and where each one falls on the spectrum.

Faith Through Views

Makayla Garrison 

Beth McCoy 

September 26, 2022

Essay 1

When a person acts with honesty and commitment towards another person or an issue, is considered that that person is acting in good faith and is believed to be doing a good thing for all the right reasons. When a person acts in ways that are deceptive, dishonest and insulting, it is believed that that person is acting in bad faith. I have questioned whether or not good face and bad faith have direct impacts on one another. Like for example, if oneself acts a majority of time in bad faith, could they ever turn their life around and practice good faith? I believe that once influenced by a meaningful person, anything could change. I do also believe that a person can continuously go back and forth between good faith and bad faith. I don’t necessarily believe an individual can be strictly one of the other.  It is important to recognize in each and every individual that weather it’d be intentional or unintentional, good faith and bad faith actions are bound to happen. Octavia Butler’s novel Wild Seed and Percival Everett’s novel American Desert both experience bad faith characters who become influenced by good faith characters and start to reveal how the interactions of both faiths carry along a story. Characters in both of the novels are continuously met with situations where  bad faith and good faith actions are to be thought deeply about before making a final decision. 

Octavia Butler’s novel Wild Seed greets us with Doro. Doro Goes about his life 1 and control, taking form of various individuals bodies to continue throughout the story, and has faced with multiple decisions where he chooses bad faith. He often does a lot of things to benefit himself in the long run but at first, he seems intentional and that his actions have positive meanings. Doro Knows how strong and powerful Anyanwu is and how much he could use her in the future so he tries to convine her that he can give her what she wants, “ If you come with me, I think someday, I can show you children you will never have to bury” and “ if you live, they should live. It is the fault of their fathers that they died. Let me give you children who will live” (24). Doro Seems to be promising Anyanwu  in good faith that he can give her what she wants and what she deserves but in reality it is bad face because he is really just looking to make more children like him that seemingly never die. Is continually brought to our attention throughout the novel that Doro  really just wants to increase his power in any way possible, and no matter how many vessels, or other bodies, he has to take over to do so. But another question that was a constant thought in my mind throughout reading, was if this was Doro acting in bad faith or if it was the only thing he knew and was used to and he used it to survive? I think in this case as well as even in real life, those acting in bad faith might not completely understand that what they’re doing is considered wrong. 

Another side to considering good faith and bad faith is to look at experiences in one’s life that could have caused oneself to act more in one faith or another.  For example in Percival Everett’s novel American Desert, Ted Street went through an experience almost unimaginable.  In the beginning of the story we learned that Ted was in a severely traumatic accident that killed him almost instantly. Then miraculously at his funeral he sits up in his coffin end is almost perfectly alive unaware that to everyone else he was deceased. Had learned pretty quickly that since his accident nothing really make sense but one thing he is sure of is that seemingly his five senses have all peaked enormously and are more attentive than the average. He can also somehow look back into another individuals memories and know more about them than any stranger should. For example Ted and his family went home during the funeral to kind of get away from all of the chaos. During this his daughter Emily ran out of the house and into the swamp of reporters and news teams stationed outside the house. Ted told Barbie Becker From Channel 5 news, that he would do an interview with her to discuss his situation if she could get his daughter back home because he was worried about her. He said, “Our daughter ran from the house and we would like her return home” and Barbie Becker from channel 5 news responded with “ If you help me, she said Softly. Give me an exclusive interview and I’ll see what I can do” (76).  Ted later comes into contact with the news reporters hand and he gets a flash from her life which he later exposes while they’re doing the exclusive interview with him and she sees that as bad faith in him. Exposing her on live air, when Ted really just sees it as telling the truth and getting it out there. 

Both of these experiences showed aspects of bad faith in the eyes of some and good faith in the eyes of others. Both instances were heavily impacted  due to events that change the person’s view of life and their future. I think my question still stands and still will be something I think about as I continue to read more books throughout this class, that good faith in bad face often bounce off of each other and are almost always going to happen simultaneously within oneself.

Define Apocalypse

Katherine Lyons 

Dr. Beth McCoy

Black Apocalyptic Fiction

20 September 2022

The word Apocalyptic could have many different meanings to individuals. Many people when hearing this word may think of zombies or the whole world incinerating, but there is a much deeper meaning to the word. Although the apocalyptic genre focuses more on supernatural events and fiction, the meanings behind the events give you a better understanding of an internal apocalypse and a worldly apocalypse. The novels and articles discussed in class were all apocalyptic events but also all had very different reasons as to why they needed an end to the world.

In Andrew Santana Kaplan’s Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought, the author explains how the world is unredeemable because of all of the barbarity and racism in the world. This was the type of world that many came into so it is all they know, most people are raised with these biases and violent thoughts about others. The author is explaining how there is no way to fix this way of being, this mindset is already spread across the world so would there be any way of fixing this turmoil? Or would the only way to fix it be to end it? In this article there was not a big combustible event that would cause the world to come to an end, it was just the mental and physical state of our world that caused this question to arise. The reason needed for an apocalypse was a worldly issue, the racial discrimination and toxic mindsets of people will only continue on and perhaps get worse. So the only solution that the author seemed fit for this worldly trouble was for it all to just come to an end. 

Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed also explored the ideas of apocalyptic events but in a supernatural idea of sense. Although this was a worldly apocalypse the author focused more on how this affected the individual characters in the story rather than the whole world. Anyanwu and Doro are both immortal with special abilities that are non-human-like but this leads to them sharing a connection. Doro has the most dangerous ability which gives him all the power in situations so he can control whom he wants to. Although this is a worldwide issue the author chose to focus on how this is affecting Doro and Anyanmu, this allows the reader to understand the individual effects events like these have on people. In the novel Doro and Anyanwu eventually and inevitably find love for each other, but this takes a toll on both of their worlds. Doro continues his iniquitous ways of killing and harming others which were what abilities he was given, Anyanwu on the other hand was not. This leads her to threaten her own life which shows the readers the more humane side of Doro. In both scenarios, Doro could end up with an individual apocalypse, either losing his sole reason for existence or the woman that he loves. In many ways, this story covers many aspects of apocalypses and can give readers better insight into what an apocalypse is.

An additional text that covers the different aspects of apocalyptic events is Percival Everett’s American Dessert. In this novel, there is an individual apocalypse where Ted’s world comes to an end but he is given another chance to make things right in his life. While the novel shows the personal effects that this event has on the characters it also focuses on how this affects the world as a whole. The readers can see how this event causes a domino effect of many horrendous circumstances for the world and the protagonists. While Ted was able to find his true self during this apocalypse the rest of the world was in shambles and this had a horrible effect on the mental state of others. The author makes the readers question whether or not this apocalypse was necessary, while the world broke out into complete mayhem over Ted’s resurrection he was able to find himself and start over mentally. Although it was not Ted who intentionally caused the apocalypse he is seen as the one to blame, causing so much chaos that he is not able to think about and come to terms with being alive. This novel lets the readers interpret the apocalypse in their way, whether they believe that this was or was not necessary or if they believe this is a worldly apocalypse rather than an individual one. 

All of these texts follow the general standards of apocalyptic fiction; there is still room for interpretation of what apocalyptic is. The standard definition of the genre is a literary genre that foretells supernaturally inspired cataclysmic events that will transpire at the end of the world. While this is the dictionary definition of the word, readers can make their interpretation and have their understanding of the word. These readings touched upon all different types of apocalyptic events whether they happened to many people or just one, which can help better understand different types of apocalyptic readings. Readers can only define apocalyptic literature after having read it; one definition of the genre will not be able to speak for all novels. There are too many different ways that this genre can be executed to just be able to define it under one word. In some cases like the Kaplan article, an apocalypse seems necessary in the situation, whereas in Wild Seed the apocalypse was horrific and unnecessary. Therefore, there can not be one definition set to the term because not all pieces of literature can meet its criteria. 

Reading different pieces of literature from the apocalyptic genre can give readers a better understanding of what the term means and what the genre is. While putting a set definition to the term can be difficult after being exposed to so many different kinds of apocalyptic literature, this could help readers be able to have their own definition of the term. 

My Definition of Apocalypse through Santana Kaplan, Butler, and Everett

After the first month of class I can confidently say I have learned a lot about the word “apocalypse.” From what started on the first day of class as our personal understanding of the term, to working through Andrew Santana Kaplan’s article “Notes Towards (Inhibiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Thought”, and then Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, and the first two books of Percival Everett’s American Desert I have been able to expand on my previous knowledge. No, an apocalypse is not necessarily, as Isaac described it, a “desaturated world” but a much deeper word that can be used in a number of contexts. Here, I will be trying to explore my own ideas while working through the class text thus far. 

Before taking this class I was guilty of the single lens “zombie apocalypse” definition of apocalypse. I thought that the term was only applicable to the show The Walking Dead or video games that my twin brother played in middle school. I was privileged enough to grow up in an area where using the word in any other context would have gone right over my head. Last spring, when I was signing up for classes I was looking for a 300 level class that sounded interesting and fit my practice schedule. This one fit, I was intrigued by the title, and found comfort in the Toni Morrison part of the class description. Honestly, this is my first upper level English class and I was terrified. I didn’t really know how the words “black” and “apocalyptic” related to fiction but I was willing to find out. 

Starting off with by far the most difficult piece I have read, the Santana Kaplan article. I was nervous for this paper because I was afraid that I still would not grasp the concepts even after a second read. Fortunately, I did understand more; going back to it post Wild Seed I was able to apply it to the book and work through Doro to understand some of the main points of “Notes Towards (Inhibiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Thought.” I think that the main idea of Santana Kaplan is that in order to end racism the current state of the world must be completely demolished. Racism is rooted in the structure of our society. In the Bible Paul calls for the messiah to come for the final judgment and destroy the world of sin. Similarly, for this ever present anti-blackness to end we need to forget everything we know and rewrite society. The only way this can happen is through a tragic event that will forcibly end our world. 

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler helped me to deepen my understanding of the word “apocalypse.” Shifting from the definition of the world from Santana Kaplan’s piece, Wild Seed is a good way to apply the framework previously presented. The story emphasizes that an end to injustice calls for an end of the world as we know it. By having Doro and Anyanwu live for so long, Butler is able to use their characters to show how the world has changed and why it needs to end. Doro adjusted to the new world in a sort of bad faith whereas Anyanwu adjusted using good faith practices. Doro consistently kills for both himself and pleasure. He manipulates others for personal gain. In the beginning of book one, he thinks that he tricks Anyanwu into following him into one of his own breeding communities. Doro has seen the world go through a lot and has shifted his body and morals to remain in power. In terms of “Notes Towards (Inhibiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Thought” Doro is a katechon: In order for Doro’s inhuman actions to end, he needs to die. A small-scale apocalypse within his breeding communities and other establishments. Anyanwu also changes who she is in order to fit into the cruel, ever changing world. She seems to do so as honestly as she can, demonstrating good faith. I think that she shows readers how to educate themselves in order to move forward even in a world similar to Doro’s. 

Moving on, Percival Everett’s American Desert again helped me apply the apocalyptic thinking presented by Santna Kaplan. Ted was living a pretty average American lifestyle before he attempted to die by suicide. He was an English professor with a wife and two kids. On his way to do so he was hit by a UPS truck and decapitated. Ted was miraculously given a second chance at life; he comes back to fix all of the damage of his past and challenge cult leaders. He had an affair with a student which ultimately led to his downfall. On the third day after his death at his funeral he sits up, gets out of his coffin and comes back to life. The whole scene is a satirical spin on the biblical story of Jesus’ death and resurrection .In the bible Jesus comes back to earth to save people from sin and it seems that Ted is going to try to do the same with Big Daddy’s cult. As seen in both the Barbie Becker scene and the Cynthia  part it is clear that Ted can see the truth in people. He can see the lies that Barbie told her husband and Cynthia’s past life pre Big Daddy. Returning to “apocalypse,” I think Ted represents the messianic apocalypse that Paul talks about. Ted has come back to save the world from sin and lies. In this case, as far as books one and two, I think that Big Daddy and other leaders act as the katechon. Big Daddy uses Christinaity to guilt people into his structured society where he controls and oppresses people through fear. 

Going forward, with the remainder of this class I want to try and learn more about apocalyptic thinking and how it can be applied to literature and the world around me. I have a better understanding of the term as far as class but I think I want to try and learn about it in a real life situation and see how my thought process has changed since the end of August. I am excited to keep reading and working in the class and see how it applies to “Notes Towards (Inhibiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Thought.”

What is “The Apocalypse”?

Marisa Greaney


26 September 2022

Essay 1

When initially registering for classes this semester, I looked over the list of English courses almost constantly.  I had narrowed down the seemingly endless list of choices to only two or three.  After mulling it over and experimenting with other configurations for my schedule, I had ultimately picked the one I wanted to take based on the name, ‘Black Apocalyptic Fiction’ seemed to stand out the most, and my excitement for the upcoming semester only grew.  In the summer leading up to the current semester, there was many conversations among friends and coworkers as to what is in store for us in the near future.  While some had chosen not to pursue a higher education, most of us had discussed the classes we are going to take in the upcoming semester.   

When having these discussions, the mention of the course name ‘Black Apocalyptic Fiction’ was not only mentioned quite a few times but had also piqued the interest of some of my friends and coworkers.  Most had similar reactions such as mentioning how interesting that sounds or why can’t their school offer such interesting courses and my college is so boring.  Many asked what the course materials are or what is being read in the class, and I could only answer with a simple “I’m not too sure” or “if I’m honest I cannot really tell you”.  While thinking about it one night after a long day at work, I had thought to myself “what does this course have in store?”.  While thinking to myself, I thought of what most people would think of as ‘The Apocalypse’ and concluded it to be some sort of devastating event that could be seen as the end of humanity and even life itself on our planet.  During this, my mind started to race as to what kind of apocalyptic stories we could be reading throughout the semester, my mind instantly wondered to the many, many apocalyptic medias I’ve consumed throughout my lifetime, my excitement for this course only growing. 

When the course content was released to us on a Thursday in July, I was on a field trip for the summer camp I worked at.  This could not have come at a better time, since this was the longest trip of the camp season, and we were on the bus back home.  I had thought that now was the perfect time to review the course materials.  While initially reading through, I did not gather all the information about what the ‘apocalypse’ part of this course was, as I was more interested in reading the grading policy and the assignment list before tuning my attention back into the bus full of campers I was supposed to be monitoring.  That had been the first and only time I went through the course materials before the start of the new semester.   

            My first introduction with the ‘apocalypse’ that we are to become familiar with throughout the semester was within the Andrew Santana Kaplan article Notes Toward (Inhabiting) the Black Messianic in Afro-Pessimism’s Apocalyptic Thought. Santana Kaplan explains in his work that the meaning of apocalypse is the end of worlds, similarly to what we think of when we hear the word.  Although he expands on this idea and goes further to define the concept as that, the ending of a world, but alongside the revelation of errors within said world.  In simpler terms, Andre Santana Kaplan describes the apocalypse as the ending of a world, while also realizing the mistakes the world, or the person or people inhabiting that world, has made to get to this apocalyptic point.  The term ‘world’ in these definitions does not necessarily mean the planet in which we are living or the setting in which a story takes place in a work of fiction, it instead means a personal world, something akin to moving to a new place and leaving your old world behind. 

Within Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed, we see not only one, but two examples of this definition of apocalypse.  The novel includes the ends of two separate worlds, one being that of Doro, and the other being that of Anyanwu.  Towards the end of the novel, Doro has the revelation that the way he has been living his extremely long life, had been harmful to those around him such as his children.  In this realization Doro’s own personal world starts to change not only by itself but with his own effort if he wants to keep Anyanwu in his life.  On the other hand, the personal world of Anyanwu ended with the meeting of Doro, who showed her many things and ultimately changed how she would continue to live her immortal life. 

            Based off both the novel and the Santana Kaplan Article, we can gather that there is more than one definition for ‘the apocalypse’.  In your typical media consumed by the masses, the apocalypse or an apocalyptic event is one of extreme world ending abilities and the definition of the word that I speculate that we would be using throughout the remainder of the “Black Apocalyptic Fiction” course is the one that was explained in the words of Andrew Santana Kaplan, and given to us in Butlers Wild Seed as an example.  Another example of Santana Kaplans definition of the apocalypse is present in Percival Everett’s novel American Desert, where the life of an ordinary man is ended (quite literally) and his world changes from the one he used to know, to this new and unfamiliar one after his strange resurrection from the dead.   

            Based off the events of American Desert, the events of Wild Seed and the content of Andrew Santana Kaplan’s article, one can speculate that the upcoming course content would contain the ending of one’s personal world.  Something I have come to expect based on what has been discussed and reviewed for class is a further understanding of a personal apocalypse, as I have some to call it.  Another thing I am looking for in this course is trying to figure out what constitutes a personal apocalypse other than just a personal world ending revelation, or a fated event that was shown to us in Butler’s Wild Seed and Everett’s American Desert. 

Building a Foundation

Nicholas Parks

Professor McCoy

26 September 2022

Essay 1

The idea of good faith and bad faith are used to describe the different interactions among peoples. Acting in good faith can be seen as honesty and trust in commitment. On the other hand, acting in bad faith can look like deceptive behavior and dishonesty. Although good and bad faith have semi-distinct guidelines on what behavior equates to either good or bad faith, it is often hard to determine whether someone is precisely acting in one way or another. What I am trying to figure out is the connection between good and bad faith actors in connection to the apocalyptic setting and experience. More specifically, how do some of these characters, whether acting in good or bad faith, actually help produce an apocalyptic setting, intentionally or not. The novels, Wild Seed, and American Desert, both have their distinct apocalyptic settings and are riddled with their unique good and bad faith actors. Although more reading throughout the semester will help me form a meaningful connection between good and bad faith actors and the apocalyptic setting, Wild Seed and American Desert will help provide the basis moving forward.

The main antagonist in Wild Seed, Doro, is often portrayed as someone who constantly acts in bad faith. He is first introduced as slave trader, looking to bring people to North America for his own benefit. Doro is portrayed as arrogant and charming, and at first glance is seemingly acting in good faith but at a deeper level it becomes more complicated. When looking to convince Anyanwu to come with him to the new world he says, “You belong with me, the people I’m gathering” and “we are people you can be a part of (Butler 23). It is true that Doro is more like Anyanwu than most of the people in Anyanwu’s community, but that does not mean she is destined to be a part of his life. We find out further in the book that Doro’s intentions are focused on using Anyanwu as a vessel to grow his kin and through that, his power. It is also known that Doro has been finding people to send to North American and all over for a very long time now. Due to this, it is not easy to write off Doro in this scene as someone purely acting in bad faith. This lifestyle may be all Doro knows and is now comfortable with. Doro may deep down not truly believe that he is doing something wrong and thus it is harder to say he is a bad faith actor.

An apocalyptic setting can be generally touted as a hellish environment, with little or no hope. The opposite of an apocalyptic setting for Anyanwu was a life where she could “settle with a tribe around her and stay within the tribe for as long as she could” (Butler 210). This life that Anyanwu wanted was turned upside down by the death of her most beloved family members, that she feels is due to Doro’s meddling. By the end of Book Two, Anyanwu’s daughter, Nweke, and her husband, Isaac, had died (Butler 208). Anyanwu is incredibly distraught and notes that she “found virtue in nothing that had to do with him”, referring to Doro (Butler 211). Anyanwu evidently feels as if Doro is to blame for all of the death and he has caused her to be at her lowest point. I believe in this situation Doro is not clearly the bad faith actor. We see that he is not okay at all with what has happened and is looking for closure. Isaac had requested that Doro and Anyanwu make peace as he was lying on his deathbed, and when Anyanwu brought this up, Doro said, “we’ll have peace” (Butler 209). As well, Anyanwu noted that Nweke and Isaac should have a funeral and Doro responded by nodding (Butler 208). This shows a conflicting set of emotions among the accused and perpetrator.

The death of Anyanwu’s family and aftermath was hard for me to navigate for several reasons. One reason was the conflict in my mind between whether Doro was acting in good faith or bad faith, and second reason being how this connects to the apocalyptic setting. It reads as if Doro is genuinely trying to help Anyanwu and help amend the situation. If he is trying to amend the situation, then it means he knows he was acting in bad faith but is now choosing to act in good faith. If Doro is just trying to help, then he doesn’t believe he was acting in bad faith. It is tricky because this whole conflict takes place at the end of Book Two and we dive deep into the emotions and views of Anyanwu. There is not much dialogue towards the end from Doro that help clears up his current stance. We get the view from Anyanwu that she needs to escape his grasps when its said, “how long would she have to hide in the sea before Doro stops hunting her” (Butler 209). In connection to the apocalyptic setting, this conflict shows how good and bad faith actors might not truly know the hellish life they have created for others. As I stated, it is clear that Doro feels some type of remorse for what has happened, but it is not clear that he truly knows the life he has imposed on Anyanwu. This brings up the idea that it is hard to stop someone like Doro, as he might not know he is creating an apocalyptic hellscape in the first place.

The connection between an apocalyptic setting and good and bad faith is something that can be deeply investigated in American Desert, especially through the character Big Daddy. Big Daddy, a cliché for alt-right Christian cultist leader, reminds me of Doro in terms of some of the questions I had previously posed. Bid Daddy as a child was ridiculed and beat by his father and classmates on a daily basis for much of his early life and was taught that God never loved him (Everett 130). This led Big Daddy to take an extreme stance on God and form a cultist like group out in the hot desert. What’s interesting about Bid Daddy is that he believes everything he does is for God and that he is a soldier of God (Everett 132). Whether Bid Daddy knows it or not, this assumes responsibility for some of the very questionable things he is doing. An example of this is when he makes the point that he does not have sex for pleasure, but he has sex because it will “comfort his frightened sheep” (Everett 132).  This makes it very hard to pinpoint whether he is acting in good or bad faith. From his perspective he is acting in the best of faith, literally and figuratively, so he doesn’t actually realize the craziness that he is ensuing. As with Doro, it made me think that a bad faith actor is extremely dangerous if they believe they are acting in good faith. This is important because Doro and Big Daddy both created dangerous apocalyptic environments and I question whether they even know.

The characters of Doro and Bid Daddy present a question that will force me to look at every new book I read throughout the semester and compare these actors accordingly. The question presented and something I’m trying to figure out is the complexity of labeling someone as a good and bad faith actor. From my perspective it is simpler to label a character as a good or bad faith actor, but it’s whether the character themselves are able to accurately understand what kind of actor they are. This disillusionment, I believe, is what led Doro and Bid Daddy to surround themselves in an apocalyptic environment at the expense of others. The dispute between me and character is, so far, at the forefront of the apocalyptic fiction I have read and will be something in my mind as I continue reading.