Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts

Monique  Cottman
The Human Contradiction: The Works of Octavia E. Butler The Development of Gospel Music in the Black Church
Octavia  Butler
Octavia Estelle Butler writes science fiction novels and short stories that explore the boundaries of humanity. In the beginning, God created man to have dominion over the earth, yet history proves that human kind has disregarded their supreme responsibility. In one of her novels, Lilith’s Brood, Butler writes that the self-destructive nature of human beings is due to a genetic disorder she dubs the Human Contradiction. The contradicting factors of intelligence and hierarchical traditions, present in all of humanity, manipulate human reaction in a gamut of situations. Butler carries the symptoms of this disease, which affect all of humanity past, present, and future, throughout her other novels: Kindred, Parable of the Sower, and Parable of the Talents and her collection of short stories Bloodchild and Other Short Stories. By focusing on such taboo subjects as racism and incest, Butler takes the reader on a journey in exploration of the Human Contradiction and how her characters react with human emotions to their fictitious scenarios of time travel, slavery, and alien domination.

In an effort to ease into the reality of their new surroundings, Black migrants moving West and North from the South during the first part of the twentieth century created Gospel music as a type of spiritual release. Gospel music has its formulaic roots in the Negro Spirituals that grew out of the camp meeting revivals of the Second Great Awakening, although American secular music also played a great role in its development. The unique musical style of the genre, however, was nurtured by the Pentecostal movement involving Black Californians. Thus, Gospel music is truly an all-American art form, having been developed in the North from congregational, antiphonal traditions of the South and the performance style of the West.

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