Final Paper Assignment

Final Paper Assignment



  • Due date: Wednesday May 6 by 5 pm via email.
  • Length: 3 pages
  • Weight: 20% of your final grade
  • MLA format (margins: 1 inch, Times New Roman 12 point font with header, etc. (A Works Cited page is, obviously, a must).
  • You must refer to at least two of the course readings in your response. Please feel free to use more than two. You don’t get extra points for using all of them, so don’t try.
  • I encourage you to refer to outside sources in your paper, either ones you’ve read for class or found on your own. Cite them if you do.


In this paper you have the chance to sum up your knowledge of the course material and build upon the Reviews you have been writing. The question you are to answer is a simple one, but in answering it you must have a clear point (a claim, a thesis) and defend it with evidence from our readings:


  • What is the role of fiction in an age of climate change?

As a means of framing the paper, consider these quotes from articles we’ve read this semester:

“You know, scientists and other people are trying to get their message across about various aspects of the climate change issue,” says Curry. “And it seems like fiction is an untapped way of doing this — a way of smuggling some serious topics into the consciousness” of readers who may not be following the science. (Evancie)

Engaging with this subject in fiction increases debate about the issue; finely constructed, intricate narratives help us broaden our understanding and explore imagined futures, encouraging us to think about the kind of world we want to live in. This can often seem difficult in our 24‑hour news-on-loop society (Glass)

I predict that “cli-fi” will reinforce existing views rather than shift them. The unconvinced will see these stories as proof that this issue is a fiction, exaggerated for dramatic effect. The already convinced will be engaged, but overblown apocalyptic story lines may distance them from the issue of climate change (Marshall)

Literature has a role to play in inducing this gut feeling, for one of its special abilities is that of allowing us to entertain hypothetical situations – alternative lives, or futures, or landscapes – as though they were real. It has a unique capacity to help us connect present action with future consequence. (Macfarland)

I am more than happy to discuss paper topics via email, before or after class (or during our 10 minute break), or in office hours.