Group Work on Octavia E. Butler and 
"Positive Obsession"

Break up into small groups. Then discuss the following. Delegate one or more members of your group to prepare a summary of your group's discussion.

1.  According to Butler, what is "positive obsession" and what is positive obsession's connection to human greatness? 

2.  How does her life and work relate to her claims?

3.  Is she right? Why or why not?

4. What kind of role do you think she thinks literature in general, and science-fiction in particular, can play in human growth and social change?  Why?

5. When Bruce Ching is asked about a seminar or workshop he attended, he sometimes responds by explaining what he "took home from the workshop."  What might someone take home from this essay?

M. Kagan, Senior Seminar on Heroism and the Human Spirit (PHL 403) Spring 2000; last revised March, 2004; minor changes March, 2007.

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