Talking about The Great Derangement
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Talking about The Great Derangement

Amitav Ghosh's The Great Derangement is an eye-opening, thought provoking challenge to the way we look at climate change in our writing

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Talking about The Great Derangement

This year in honors college forum, students were assigned the book "The Great Derangement" by Amitav Ghosh. The Great Deragement talks about the issue of climate change and how it is presented in the modern world. Honors College students were given the chance to talk to Ghosh one on one at the end of the semester. Basically, The Great Derangement argues that climate change and its very real effects need to be integrated into the modern novel to show people that it is a very imminent issue that needs to be addressed.

Ghosh divides his book into three sections—Stories, History, Politics. He begins "Stories" with an allusion to The Empire Strikes Back, in making the case that our modern vision of the non-human world as "inert" is an historical aberration that will be erased in the future. He also focuses on the novel as a form, but his allusion to the Star Wars movies gestures to the much broader realm of stories within contemporary culture. In "History," among other things Ghosh examines the relationship between European colonialism and the development of fossil fuel industrialization. He examines this relationship through the change it has caused and the progression of events it has lead to. In "Politics," Ghosh contends that modern ideas of freedom are tied to our exploitation of fossil fuels in contrasting the Paris Agreement on climate change with Pope Francis's encyclical letter on the topic. He sees our modern conceptions of political freedom as related to fossil fuels. Amitav Ghosh mentions many weather-related events that seem fictional, but are in fact real to further emphasize his point that although climate change may not seem like a good topic to write about, it is still worthwhile.

The Great Derangement provides many exceptional points and does an amazing job of showing how climate change needs to be taken seriously. It has inspired any activists and thinkers around the world, myself included.

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