Michael S. Rose
Although we have more books available to us than at any time in history, fewer and fewer of us read great literature, distracted as we are by screens.
WHAT SEEMED ABSURD IN 1962 NOW APPEARS FRIGHTENINGLY QUOTIDIAN
The book seemed absurd when it appeared in 1962. Sixty years later, lipstick-wearing men, sex changes, and overzealous population controllers are common.
The citizens of Oceania are not only stripped of human freedom and basic rights but so dehumanized that each individual lacks any semblance of human dignity.
If we continue to cede our lives to Hollywood and tech, we will fall prey to consumerism and become a vacuous people concerned with little more than our own amusements.
The world Ishiguro describes is not some far-flung future driven by fantastic technology still on the distant horizon; it is recognizable as our own.
Swift’s struldbrugs inspire consideration of the abiding human passion to prolong life indefinitely. But by losing our mortality, do we also lose our humanity?
A certain scientific consequentialism claims that the “end” of medical experimentation (the advancement of science) justifies any “means.”
Lewis, as a man, a scholar, and a writer, recognizes the perennial threat of dehumanization, including the misuse of science.
Does the international pharmaceutical industry indeed use destitute black Africans as guinea pigs for its clinical trials?
Is it ever appropriate to change human nature, even if ostensibly for the sake of improving the quality of life for a great many people?
Achebe centers on the clash of civilizations between his native Ibo culture and Christian missionaries who established colonial government in Nigeria.
Language should reflect reality. If it doesn’t, what possible limits could be placed on misleading, manipulative language?
Brown believes he can dabble with the Devil just this once and then return to Faith spiritually unscathed and continue his earthly pilgrimage to Heaven.
Markheim is confronted at the scene of his crime by a mysterious “visitant” who seems to be giving him advice on how best to escape being caught.
Chaucer satirizes the hypocrite and the fraudster, especially he who uses his talents -- like preaching -- for his own gain.
Shelley’s novel can be read as a validation of the family, marriage, and natural human values in contrast to the overreaching desires of the prideful scientist.
Huxley articulates, through an engaging narrative, the underlying philosophies that in any century will dehumanize us and lead us away from God and all that is truly good and beautiful.
Willa Cather understands there’s a bleak side to the Romantic ideal of the American dream, a critical misinterpretation that the dream focuses on you rather than on others.
Should we try to repair our imperfections using our human ingenuity and genius? In other words, should man aspire to control nature, to play God?
Poe uses the doppelgänger motif as a physical manifestation of Wilson’s conscience and ultimately shows the demise of a man who, blinded by his sins, kills his own conscience.
For the original vampire slayers, most of them nominal Anglicans, the efficacy of Catholic sacramentals and the Sacrament quickly becomes apparent.
Once Faustus takes possession of Mephistophilis as his servant, it becomes apparent that the Devil isn’t so much serving as manipulating him.
- Karl Keating