Making Our World a Better Place


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Is it possible for a whole genre to inspire change in people’s lives? In this essay, I will be explaining why science fiction is an important genre for our society and why we need it.  

Science fiction can put problems that we have in our current world in perspective by highlighting our issues in a fictional universe. Using science fiction as an outlet for discussing problems is more effective than any other genre. It can reach a wider audience and can be easier to understand unlike non-fiction. Also, it can exaggerate issues to make the threat seem more terrifying. An example of this can be George Orwell’s 1984 in which the threat of mass surveillance is shown and how extreme it can get under a corrupt government. 

Another genre that is less successful than science fiction at bringing attention to problems is fantasy. Fantasy can be useful in some ways, but it is less believable since real technology is not implemented as much. Magic and other supernatural things are used in this genre and in our society, those are not as useful as technology. If we are aware of the threats that are posed to us before they happen, we can take action. Science fiction can make us more aware. 

Science fiction is an important genre because it can create an interest in science. People that were not as interested in the sciences before, science fiction could spark an interest for them. It can also inspire inventors to create certain technologies. Some people are introduced to science fiction at an early age in middle school. Books that these students often read could be Ender’s Game or The GiverWhen I read these books when I was younger, it would cause me to think a lot about the kind of science used in these books and how they would affect us in real life. Sometimes when young readers do that kind of thinking, they could research similar technologies and scientific advancements. It could then create a lifelong interest in science. 

There are many examples of science fiction inspiring real-life technology. A good example of this is in The Machine Stops which was published in 1909, as the technology that the characters use in that story to communicate is like how we use our current laptops and cell phones. Another example is Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea published in 1870. That story inspired the invention of the submarine. We often do not realize how important something can be until we realize how it affects our daily lives.  

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We live in a harsh world and reading about dystopian stories when our reality is already bad can be distressing for some. With utopian stories, we can imagine a world without any of the problems that we face such as climate change or police brutality. It can act as a form of escapism for some and can motivate positive change.

Focusing too much on the bad parts of society may be good for awareness, but what if we are already aware? Many people are used to reading dystopian stories by now, and some would prefer to read a utopian novel occasionally. Although it may not be the best to escape completely from our reality, it can quell some anxieties that people have created by terrifying dystopian stories. 

Fictional utopian worlds can also inspire people to make their world like those stories. Many people create small communities based on these novels. An example of a community that is based off a utopian story is Twin Oaks which bases their lifestyle on the novel Walden Two by B.F Skinner. Dystopian stories can be good occasionally, but it can be nice to imagine life over the rainbow and some people may be so inclined to make that a reality.  

Science fiction is an important genre, and we need it because it can bring issues to perspective in a way no other genres can do, spark an interest in the sciences, and give us hope for the future. We should care about science fiction because it can help make our world a better place for everyone.  

Changes over Time

Science fiction has long been a male dominated genre of writing. Over time, more female writers have begun authoring stories with characters with different genders and sexualities. Could it be that the lessening of gender discrimination in recent years has made the science fiction community a safer space?

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Women writing stories with agency were rare in science fiction until the 1960’s because of gender discrimination in our society. This gender discrimination made it so that most female writers before the mid-century had to use gender ambiguous names such as C.L Moore and Leigh Brackett. This makes sense because if the aspects of science fiction itself were preventing women from having any sort of agency in science fiction then they would still be the same. The 1960s inspired lots of change and after that point more female science fiction writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin and Joanna Russ wrote science fiction stories that questioned gender roles. If anything the plots, settings, and major concerns should make it easier to create meaningful women characters because in a fictional universe you can do anything with your characters and the only thing from stopping writers from creating good female characters is our society itself.

Nowadays there is still discrimination in the science fiction community although it is not as bad as it once was. Many people still stereotype science fiction written by women with female characters as not having much to do with “hard sciences” and more focused on social sciences. The lessening of gender discrimination in the science fiction community has led to more stories about characters with varied gender identities and sexualities. This is setting the genre apart from other genres of books and it shows that the aspects of science fiction were not holding female and non-binary writers back from writing, it was how unwelcoming society was before of writers that were not men.

The future of science of fiction could be even more diverse with gender and sexuality than it is now.

Prejudice and Mental Health

There is a quote from Nina Simone that says, “The worst thing about that kind of prejudice… is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough.” She is talking about racial prejudice in that quote but it can also apply to other kinds of prejudice such as language prejudice. Language prejudice can have a big impact on people that go through it on a daily basis. These people face discrimination from employers, and sometimes stereotyped as “stupid” just because they have an accent or speak broken English.

Personally, I have never faced any language prejudice (except if speaking English in Quebec counts) but I can imagine that these people face a big blow to their self-esteem like Simone described. In one report, discrimination is shown to affect peoples general well-being, self-worth, self-esteem, and social relations. That report also revealed that the more someone was prejudiced against, the higher their levels of depression and anxiety were. More frequent minor prejudices were shown to affect minorities than less frequent major prejudices. This shows that linguistic discrimination has the power to affect people’s mental health.

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To help those affected with language prejudice we can train employees/employers to be more compassionate towards others who don’t speak “proper” English or have a different accent. Another way to help is to create awareness of language prejudice and linguistic discrimination.

A Language Filled With Slang

Often, people that try to learn French think they got the language down but once they actually go to France they think they don’t know as much as they thought. This is because France has a variety of slang words used in their language. The websites that I have found that have lists of French slang such as this one and this one have hundreds of slang words. However, I have gone through these websites and compiled a list of my favourite words and words that can be used in the English language.

Favourite Words

Bouffer literally means to puff up or balloon in size. However, it has become common practice to replace the word manger (to eat) with bouffer in everyday speech. And in turn, la bouffe is then used as another word for food. Here is an example: J’ai trop mangé. J’ai bouffé un steak tartare avec des frites suivi d’une grosse tarte aux pommes. I ate too much. I ate a steak tartare with fries followed by a big slice of apple tart. Je suis allé en ville pour acheter de la bouffe. I went into town to buy some food. This is one of my favourite French slang words because of how it has a practical purpose that anyone can use.

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Balle, the singular term means bullet. However once upon a time, balles was utilized as a slang word for francs, the French currency before 2002. What’s more, when France proceeded onward to the euro, balles moved with it and it is still at times utilized in reference to cash. A model would be: J’aime ton pantalon. Merci. Je l’ai acheté au marché pour quinze balles. I like your jeans. Much obliged. I got them at the market for 15 euros. This is one of my favourite slang words because it has history and multiple uses.

Kiffer is a term utilized by the current generation, which you may not definitely know is the word kiffer, which is slang for to like something (it works best with a hobby!). Be that as it may, in the event that you kiffe quelqu’un, it infers that you want that individual. Here’s a model: Je kiffe faire de la voile. I truly appreciate cruising. Je kiffe ton frère. I like your sibling. (I’m impractically keen on him). This is one of my favourite slang words because it is a slang word that lots of people use in France and I like the way that it sounds.

French-English Slang     

Bobo is really infant talk for une blessure (a physical injury). However, you will notice that youngsters generally utilize this term when alluding to minor wounds, for example, cuts and wounds. A model may be: Qu’est-ce qu’il y a? J’ai un bobo sur le pied. What’s wrong? I have a scratch on my foot. This slang word is used in the English language in a similar way but we would spell it like booboo. Bobo also means yuppie, so this is a versatile slang like “balle.”

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Caca means poop, or number two. Like “bobo”, this is a term that is mainly used by children. A model may be: le chien a fait un gros caca dehors. The dog took a big poop outside. This slang word is also used in the English language, but it isn’t that common.


Impressions of MOTCS

My Impression of Moon of the Crusted Snow



The author’s descriptions of the cultural practices in this novel remind me of my dad’s side of the family and how they focus a lot on keeping the culture alive. I remember going blueberry picking nearby with my grandma Roselinda, and after we were done we would put down semaa kind of like Evan when was finished hunting. Even though we weren’t hunting, we still did that because we took something from the earth and we had to give thanks.

While the author was describing the Dan and Patricia’s home in Moon of The Crusted Stone, I was visualizing houses that I have seen in my community. Most of the homes that I have seen in Wikwemikong have vinyl siding and high basements. I believe that homes that are Wikwemikong and their house in this story look similar because it is simple to make homes with siding and big basements. However, it still helps me visualize the story better and imagine what it must look like when Evan visits his parents.

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  1. When I was reading this selection, I felt curious as to what the event that triggers all the other events in this novel is going to be.
  2. The images that stand out in my mind while reading this novel are what the homes look like. These images affected my emotions because they made this story feel more familiar to me.
  3. Experiences/feelings that were described in this story that were similar to one I’ve had were when the power goes out and everyone in the house is actually talking to each other.
  4. This selection isn’t too similar to other ones I have read before because people usually don’t write novels about present-day Aboriginal people.
  5. New insights that I have gained from reading this selection were how some reserves in Canada just recently got amenities like cell service and internet.
  6. I like that this selection gives lots of detail for the characters and makes them feel like real people. I dislike how the dialogue for the characters sometimes feels too casual or too unnatural.
  7. This work is relevant to my life and my community because I live on an Indian reservation too. A lot of the people in my community live lives similar to Evan and his family.

Narration in MOTCS

Moon of The Crusted Stone is a novel about a Northern Ontario First Nations reserve and their struggle with a long power outage in their community. The book is told from the point of view of a fictional character named Evan Whitesky. Evan Whitesky is a First Nations man in his mid to late 20’s with a partner and two kids. He works in maintenance for public works and he likes to go hunting in his spare time. I believe that the author made a good choice choosing him to be the narrator for this story.

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For a character to be a good narrator in a story they have to be close to a lot of the action. This makes for an interesting story with not much unknown information. Evan knows a lot of the other important characters in this story such as Justin Scott, Chief Terry, and Walter Meegis. Justin Scott is the antagonist in this story and he is the leader of a small “cult” that lives in the duplexes. Chief Terry is the leader in Evan’s community, although he is not a very good leader because he gets other people to make decisions for him. Walter Meegis works alongside Chief Terry and he assists him with making decisions and band council duties.  These characters are important in this story because they incite events and they hold lots of power. Evan knowing and interacting with these characters, makes him aware of the events in the story and he is able to directly be a part of them.

For a character to be a great narrator, it is also nice for them to have their own story line too unless they are mainly focusing on another character. Evan’s story is mainly about how he tries to keep his family safe and alive during the power outage. In the book, there is a part where he creates a tipi for his partner and kids that included food, blankets, and a fire. He also cares for his parents and other people he is close to such as Aileen. He cares by frequently checking up on them outside of his job (checking up on the elders in the community).

In conclusion, Evan Whitesky is the right choice for a narrator in Moon of The Crusted Stone because of he is close to the action of the story and he has his own story line.


Language and Power

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Power means having possession of control, authority, or influence over others and language is a form of communicating. Julia Penelope’s quote reveals the connection between language and power because she is saying that with our words, we can influence and control other people.

Power emerges in “The Island” because the other characters in the story are trying to influence and control the main character. They do this by telling him that if he is caught loitering in the streets, he will be put in jail (42). Another way that power emerges in “The Island” is the author influencing the readers to think about the ending in their own way by leaving it up for interpretation. The author does this by leaving the ending with a little kid asking his dad if the main character’s corpse is an “island” (49).