University of Toronto Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves Essay

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This is also a question about “Marrow Thieves”

To explain whether you agree or disagree with the critic below, based on your own understanding of the“Marrow Thieves”text. (The answer should have a clear argument with solid evidence)

The following excerpt is from Karen Mundy’s article “The Binti Series and The Marrow Thieves.” Do you share Mundy’s view about the significance of schools for this novel? Write a short essay (approximately 700 words – 5 paragraphs) in which you discuss Cherie Dimaline’s use of schools in the story, taking into account Mundy’s commentary. Make sure you have a clear argumentative thesis. Back up your argument with poitns from the text. Your answer should incorporate some quotations from the excerpt.

As an undergraduate I was introduced to speculative fiction while studying social and intellectual history. It may seem strange, but in counterpoint to hours spent deciphering Derrida and Foucault, who by the late 1980s had already achieved the status of dogma in the humanities, I found reading texts like The Left Hand of Darkness, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Female Man both liberating and practical. Speculative fiction generated “what if” and “how come” thought experiments of a kind rarely stimulated by the academic enterprise. It also gave me a widened sense of both personal and social possibility. I have since spent many hours reading speculative fiction for both delight and intellectual challenge.

In this review, I look at two recent contributions to speculative fiction selected because they inspire and provoke thinking about “coming of age” in contrasting potential futures. The Binti series, by Nnedi Okorafor, is a playful set of three linked novellas that revolve around the coming of age of a mathematically gifted girl from a civilization broadly modeled on the Himba people of Namibia. The Marrow Thieves is the story of Frenchie, a Metis orphan whose story is set in a stark, apocalyptic future that draws on the history of residential schooling. While the two works weave Indigenous and African historical and cultural features into speculative accounts of the future, The Marrow Thieves is dystopic fiction—very different from the conventions of fantasy that frame Binti’s journey. Both works are recent contributors to the rapidly growing genres of Afro-Futurism and Indigenous Futurism in speculative fiction, celebrating cultures and histories that were notably absent in the early development of science fiction writing.

Unlike most science fiction, which rarely treats the topic of schooling explicitly, the Binti series and The Marrow Thieves each focus on the role of education and learning in the coming-of-age stories of their main characters, though their assessment of educational institutions sharply diverge. By carefully juxtaposing the historical injustice of residential schools with a future in which similar schools are created to allow for the harvesting of Indigenous dreams and memories, The Marrow Thieves shows how easily schools can become the antithesis to hope and memory. Schools are portrayed with blood-chilling detail as places that rub out memory and hope—they are a ruse for imprisonment and genocide. For Frenchie, the nexus for learning about self and others is neither the school, nor even the family, but the storytelling and collective action among a self-formed band of elders and young.

(Be sure to answer the question completely. Avoid “padding.” A lot of rambling and ranting is a sure sign that the writer doesn’t really know what the right answer is and hopes that somehow, something in that overgrown jungle of words was the correct answer.

Make sure you stick to the question. Always answer exactly the question asked without digressing. It’s okay to have the five-paragraph essay format. Introduce your main idea, have several paragraphs of support—each with a single point defended by specific examples, and conclude with a restatement of your main point and its significance.)

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