nalysis of Margaret Atwoods novel Oryx and Crake
Environmental Ethics, Spring 2021
FINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT
Strict Minimum Length: 6 pages
Double spaced Times New Roman 12 pt Font
Instructions: Write an analysis of Margaret Atwoods novel Oryx and Crake that engages with some of our themes in environmental ethics. You are required to cite at least five essays of your choice from our textbook readings. Use specific scenes, quotations, characters, and details from the novel to demonstrate your points. Your response to each question should be at least one page in length, and the conclusions (#5) should be closer to two pages.
1. Explain what is wrong, from an ethical perspective, with anthropocentrism. What might a biocentrist say about the dystopia of Oryx and Crake?
2. How does our attitude towards nature determine our behavior and ethical obligation (or lack thereof) towards the natural world? Can we distinguish between what is natural and what is artificial? Explain the philosophical problems with this distinction, using examples from the novel.
3. How does our understanding of what counts as life figure into environmental ethics? How do we/should we treat other beings? How do we/should we decide what is alive or has interests? Refer to details from the novel in your response.
4. What is the role of science and/or technology in environmental ethics? Should we use technologies like genetic engineering and agricultural biotechnology? Under what circumstances? Do these technologies have the potential to improve our lives? What are some possible dangers? Discuss technologies in the novel in your response.
5. For the concluding section of your paper, outline arguments both for and against Crakes actions in the novel. Use evidence from the book to back up your arguments. Arguments for Crake: How might Crake appeal to biocentrism as justification for his actions? Is this a convincing defense of his decisions?
Arguments against Crake: How is Atwood critiquing rationality (as a socially constructed idea) in the novel? For example, study the contrast between Watson- Crick and Martha Graham, and the character of Crake as a perfect specimen of rationality and objectivity. What makes Crakes actions unethical? Use evidence from the novel to explain your interpretation of Atwoods implicit argument; in other words, if Atwood is setting up Crake as a villain in a cautionary tale, what are some morals of the story?
(50 pts) Use of relevant citations from at least five essays from the textbook (10 points for skillful use and citation of each essay)
(50 pts) Thorough, reflective responses to each of the five essay prompts provided (10 points for insightful responses that address all parts of the question)
Some Guidelines on How to Plan Your Paper:
1. First, study each of the five questions in the essay prompt and think about which essays might be useful in answering it. I will also provide a list with some suggestions, but you can use any essay from our readings or textbook to answer any question you like.
2. Once you have chosen the five texts you want to use and matched them to the essay prompts, think about examples from the novel that will help you make your points in answering each question. Choose themes, ideas, characters, scenes, or situations from the novel that will help you to make your points. Write these down in a list or outline. For example, answering question #3 with Singer, you might discuss the pigoons as a demonstration of your argument.
3. Study the essay you are using for each essay prompt question, and formulate the argument or discussion you would like to present in your paper. Look through the essay and find a citation that expresses a main idea of the authors position or argumentyou want the citation (especially because you are only using one) to give the reader a good sense of the authors position.
4. Now you have an outline of your paper: for each question, you know which essay you are going to use, which citation from that essay you are including, your basic argument/discussion for this section, and concrete details from the novel to use in that argument/discussion. Writing the paper is SO MUCH EASIER if you have this in front of you!
Citations from the Essays: This is a philosophy paper, which means that you must use relevant citations from the text in making your points. Citations may be either parenthetical or footnotejust be consistent in which style you use. Your bibliography should list the essays from the textbook, and the citations should include the authors name and the page number. For example, if you are using parenthetical citations: (Singer, page #).
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Any student who plagiarizes on any class assignment, or turns in any assignment that is not his or her original work will fail the COURSE and be reported to the academic authorities as required by university policy. If you are unsure about what constitutes plagiarism, consult your student handbook or ask me!
Make sure that your essay reads as a consistent whole rather than a list of answers to the assignment questions.
Papers that do not meet the minimum length will lose points. 10 pages is the required amount of writing for an upper-division humanities course for CC credit, so 6 pages is already giving you a break.
You are strongly encouraged to make an outline before writing your paperthis will ensure organization and coherence.
Proofread your paper for clarity and grammatical errors. Consider having someone else read the paper for you; it is often hard to spot our own errors.
Papers that do not cite the essays from the textbook will not receive credit. This is an absolute requirement of the final paper assignment.
Avoid plot summary of the novelassume all readers are familiar with the novel. You will lose points for unnecessary plot summary.
Also avoid fillerdo not begin your paper with excessive preamble like since the dawn of time, people have considered ethical questions or the like.
Long citations will not count towards paper length! If you are including any long citations (which is fine), block quote them single-spaced and remember that they do not count towards minimum paper length. A long citation is a citation that takes up more than two or three lines of text.
Refrain from using any texts besides our textbook and the novel.
Any standard style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc) is acceptable for this paper, just be sure to use the same style consistently throughout. For your works cited page, your bibliography should include (1) author of the essay (2) the title of the essay and
(3) the page numbers of the essay in our textbook.