I used perspective in my project by learning the views of members in the cults that I researched. Many cults had religious views that caused them to commit terrible acts, and by researching these religous views I could better understand how the events played out. In my dystopian story I wrote from the perspective of a girl who joined a cult, in this story I used the my research to make the perspective of the girl more realistic. I also emailed with a member of a cult in order to gain perspective on his/her beliefs and to ask them questions on parts of their perspective that I didn't understand.
Theme - Passion
The two ways that passion played into my project was to better understand the members of cults and to characterize the girl in my dystopian story. Understanding why and how members of cults were passionate about thier beliefs helped me understand why many of them were willing to die because their cult leaders told them to, and I gave my character a passion of writing to further humanize them.
I had planned to use feed to help influence my dystopian short story, however, as I read it I realized the setting and characters of Feed were very different from my own. Still wanting to do something with the story I decided to re-write to synopsis as I felt the one on the book didn't give a good view as to what the book was about.
"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." So says Titus, a teenager whose ability to read, write, and even think for himself has been almost completely obliterated by his "feed" a transmiter implanted directly into his brain. Feeds are a crucial part of life for Titus and his friends. After all, how else would they know where to party on the moon, how to get bargains at Weatherbee and Crotch, or how to accessorize the mysterious lesions everyone has been getting? But then Titus meets Violet, a girl who cares about what's happening in the world and challenges everything Titus and his friends hold dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed.
My Revised Synopsis
“I’m not going to let them catalog me. I’m going to become invisible.”
Titus and Violet are two teenagers in a futuristic world where technology is king. Humans have colonized the moon, drive flying cars, and can install radios into their heads to look up new information and chat with their friends at any time. Titus is an average teenager who has been using the feed since he was young. He is complacent about his spot in the world and is happy without knowing anything of the world outside of corporate America. Violet is the opposite, she comes from a poor family who could only afford a feed for her once she was older than everyone else. Violet is driven by knowledge and is passionate about what is going on outside of America. However, despite their differences the two become good friends when they meet in a club on the moon, and the two are excited to have someone else to talk to. But when a hacker attack leaves Violet with more problems than Titus, the two will learn about the cruelty of greed and the long lasting affects the feed could end up having on their society.
Dystopian Short Story
Sizzling could be heard from above as the rain fell down from a sickly green sky. Kiara sheltered under a rusted metal hut and watched without hope as acid rain poured out from the grooves of the metal roof. She clutched her father’s shotgun close to her chest as she began to cry even harder, her lungs burning from the toxic air as she inhaled between sobs. Five weeks before, Kiara’s family had been killed after inhaling lethal doses of radiation. Two weeks before that is when the rain had started and when the fog had rolled into Kiara’s town of Oxon Hill. Very few people became fatally ill within the first week of the weather’s entrance, however by the second week nearly all of the town lay dead, their corpses lay eroding away in the toxic clouds that few dared to venture into. By the third week of the radiated weather, the only people left alive were those who had completely sealed themselves off and would soon be dead due to lack of clean oxygen and those who, like Kiara, had bodies that were able to resist the radiation. Kiara looked up from her knees as a crash sounded across the street, another building’s roof falling due to the acidic corrosion. But the rain had stopped for now, and Kiara knew that she needed to move to a safer location before her small hut’s roof was leaked into by the acid left sitting on top of the metal. Those who could resist the radiation could resist it in small and moderate amounts, but no one who had gone into the fog had ever come out alive, and Kiara had no intentions of finding out if she could resist the radioactive acid. She grabbed her backpack and checked to be sure all of her contents were still within: two water bottles filled with water, drinkable by someone with her resistance even if green and slimy, several packs of various scavenged foods such as crackers and bread, and a family photo. Along with this she grabbed the shotgun, it had been empty since her father had fired it into the air, using it as a forlorn hope of being located by a rescue team, but it still could prove useful as a bluff to ward off scavengers. She moves out into the streets, being sure to avoid anyone still out. Many people didn’t have a radiation resistance as strong as her, so while they were still alive they had long since been driven out of their minds and could be unpredictable and dangerous. But before long the radiation clouds began to build up, and she had to take shelter in a derelict supermarket. She checked the shelves, but everything had been looted long ago, so she curled up near a cash register when she felt a cold, hand with long fingernails on her neck. She turned around to see a sickly green hunched over human figure staring back at her. She screamed and tried to grab the shotgun, but this just angered the creature and it began to claw at her clothes. She attempted to struggle against it, bashing it on its head with her backpack, but the creature wasn’t in a sane enough state to feel pain, and it continued to attack her. Eventually, she was covered in deep gashes and fell unconscious. Kiara awoke to a hand grabbing her by her shoulders, but couldn’t stay awake long enough to see who it was. She slipped back into unconsciousness. The next time Kiara would awake would be two days later, when she would find herself lying on a cold stone block with a blanket over her. Men and women of all ages congregated, chatting amongst each other, and all wearing the same bright yellow robes. As Kiara tried to sit up, a lady walked over to her. “Where am I?” Kiara asked the lady: “You are with the Blight Clan” she responded, in an accent, Kiara had never heard before. But before Kiara could ask more, an old man walked out into the middle of the crowd. Covered in white robes instead of the yellow worn by everyone else. Silence instantly befell the room, and the man cleared his throat before speaking, “Blight Clan, I have deciphered the task given to us by God.” the crowd let out a quick gasp before the man began talking again. “We have been given resistance to the fog because we need to survive long enough to preserve the records of humanity so that when our world is visited by extraterrestrials and gods in the future they will know of our race and our history. Knowing this, it is up to all of us to create and document everything humanity has ever achieved, and in one month we will make our exit.” The man exited the room along with two others, and as he did talk began to spread around the Blight Clan members. Kiara got up from the cement block and put on one of the robes that had been folded beside her. She blended into the crowd, attempting to slowly work her way over to the man in the white robes. He was talking to one of the people who had accompanied him in his speech, but as he saw her approach, he quickly cut off the conversation. “Ahh, I was wondering when you would come. You have a resistance to the fog, which means you are one of us.” “What is this place?” she asked. “We are Blight Clan, I was chosen by God in order to preserve humanity through the last month of its existence.” “Last month of humanity's existence?” Kiara questioned. “Yes, we are the only remnants of humanity, and in one month, one we have completed the documentation of our race, we will be called up to join the gods.” Kiara glanced around uncomfortably, but as she saw the piles of rations and the solid bunker door she realized that staying here could be her only chance at survival. Also, they had nursed her back to health after the attack, hadn’t they? “I will join you,” she told the leader and walked away towards her bed. As she sat on her bed, the same lady in yellow robes walked over to her and handed her a journal, a cluster of pencils, a yellow robe, and some food and water. “Welcome to Blight Clan #860,” she said, and then she turned to walk away. Kiara opened the journal to find a note asking her to write down all of her life experiences from the youngest she could remember. This was what she assumed the cult leader had wanted her to begin by doing so that the way of human life before the toxic storm had hit could be remembered in the group's books. Content to have something to do, Kiara began to write. For her first week in the group, things had gone calmly for Kiara. Most of her time had been spent writing in the journal. When the first journal had filled up, she had asked the leader for another one. This pleased him and he had given her another journal gladly. For the most part, the members of the group were quiet. Some people had been given the same job as her, but many had different jobs such as transcribing radio broadcasts from when the storm had started or written fiction similar to the stories told before the storm. The only incident that had occurred since Kiara joined the group had been when a man known as 524 had been caught stealing rations. He had been thrown out of the group and been told to never return. The incident had upset the leader, as the fog had grown much thicker in the week Kiara had been in the cult, and the more the doors opened the more it leaked into the bunker. But he had to make an example to discourage others from doing the same thing, and those in the cult knew that with the fog so thick, the man was likely to die in a few hours. The second week in the cult was much more eventful. As many grew tired and as the fog’s buildup within the bunker began to take its toll on people, fights broke out on a daily basis. Generally, the struggle would stop when the leader walked in, but the atmosphere was still tense as it became clear the group wouldn’t survive much longer. Over the next, to weeks the vault was almost completely silent. The fog had built up so much outside that the vault doors were never opened anymore, and many held their breath to avoid inhaling the fog that slithered around the bunker’s corners. Kiara had become one of the groups most diligent writers and a favorite of the leader. Known for how descriptive she was in her writing, she had already filled six journals with recounts of her life. However, despite having gained much respect within the group, she still knew that the fog was building up more and that soon the group would either starve or die in the fog. Four weeks two days into her stay in the bunker the leader announced that he had a plan and that soon the group would get their reward for preserving humanity’s past. Three days later, just over a month since she’d entered the bunker, the leader began calling on the speaker for numbers to head towards the bunker doors. Meanwhile, two men in radiation green robes led the people who weren’t called deeper into the bunker. The power had been shut down, but and the doors were closed for all times except for when a new group was called on the speakers. “Numbers between 540 - 600 please report to the vault doors.” Kiara frantically scribbled in her last journal and threw it onto the pile as she walked toward the bunker doors. “Seeing the sky begin to glow green Kiara decided that the scrappy metal hut would have to be her shelter when the toxic rain began, so she hurried into cover under it.” The president’s board of advisers grew tenser as the detective neared the end of his case files. The Axton Hill mass suicide had been the latest tragedy to come out of the radioactive storms in Maryland, and as the storms got worse, people knew it would not be the last. Although the suicide had taken place a year ago, hazard proof suits had not been able to brave the storm until enhancements released a week ago. The exploration crews had uncovered many tragic scenes from the disaster, including the Blight Clan suicides. Although the corpses were long gone to the corrosion, journals like the one being read now gave people an idea as to what had happened. As the detective solemnly put down the journal he had just finished, he picked up the last one in the stack and began to read. “Sizzling could be heard from above as the rain fell down from a sickly green sky. Kiara sheltered under a rusted metal hut and watched without hope as acid rain poured out from the grooves of the metal roof. She clutched her father’s shotgun close to her chest as she began to cry even harder, her lungs burning from the toxic air as she inhaled between sobs.”
Emailing with a Heaven's Gate Representative
March 7th, 2017
Student Pennsylvania, U.S.
Dear Heaven’s Gate member,
I am a curious student from Pennsylvania, who is researching non-traditional religious beliefs for a school project. I have been on the Heaven’s Gate website, and have found your religious beliefs very fascinating, but I have some questions I was hoping you could resolve.
On your website and in your videos, you mention that the earth is on the verge of being “recycled”. Can you elaborate on that? Is it an apocalyptic event, or a reversal of the world back to the beginning of time. Also, when do believe this event will happen.
Why were you chosen to stay behind? Are you happy with this decision? How do you believe that you will make it off of earth after staying behind?
What is your opinion on Heaven’s Gate’s media representation?
Thank you for your time
1. The recycling will occurring within the next 30 years. It will reset the planet via a natural catastrophe but humankind will move on. The earth will not be destroyed but will be renewed to a better purpose.
2. We were instructed to maintain the website, email and the physical and intellectual property issues. We will be taken care of.
3. It has always been negative but we have chosen to ignore it.
March 15th, 2017
Student Pennsylvania, U.S.
Dear Heaven’s Gate Member,
Thank you very much for your responses a week earlier to my questions. Your answers are much appreciated and I am enjoying learning about your beliefs. However, after reading sections from the online book listed on your website, I have more questions, if you wouldn’t mind answering them.
Do you believe that your group, Heaven’s Gate, is the first group to realize the steps that are the path to the next evolutionary level, or do you believe that there are past groups who have attempted to ascend?
When the remaining group passes and is no longer able to maintain the website, do you have a plan to continue the websites existence, or will it be left to shut down?
Is there any questions that you haven’t been asked by people that you would have liked to been asked? What is the answer to this question? If not what do you think is the most important thing for someone not in Heaven’s Gate to know about the group?
Thanks again for your time
1. Yes, the previous groups that tried were Jesus and his disciples and the people surrounding Moses and Enoch. It was just too soon for all of them. There were a couple others but Ti and Do we the first successful teachers to graduate 38 people off the planet.
2. It will be left in the hands of others to maintain.
3. It is important that people understand it is a real, physical level with real individuals in it. There is no spirituality in it.