Event Title

Sudden Identity Crisis: Dealing with Individual Grief in HBOs The Leftovers

Faculty Advisor

Molly Robey

Graduation Year

2019

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

13-4-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

13-4-2019 3:00 PM

Description

HBO’s The Leftovers employs the typical post-apocalyptic equation. The audience follows a band of characters as they grapple with the fallout of a fantastical and global disaster. Exploring the available texts, criticism, and observable trends of the post-apocalyptic fiction genre, I found that it tends to closely align itself with cultural studies. The majority of critics focus their arguments on the etiology of the text’s apocalyptic event and the group-based survival (i.e. an apocalyptic plague represents societal fear/anxiety towards immigration). However, the “sudden departure” of The Leftovers differs in that there is no physical or resource-draining event. Losing 2% of the population without cause is still catastrophic, but the struggles become personal. I would argue that The Leftovers employs a unique apocalypse and character-driven writing to emphasize an individual’s grief and struggle. By examining four of the show’s main characters and their personal coping with the event, we can see the personal identity crisis that defines this show above any cultural lens.

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Apr 13th, 2:00 PM Apr 13th, 3:00 PM

Sudden Identity Crisis: Dealing with Individual Grief in HBOs The Leftovers

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

HBO’s The Leftovers employs the typical post-apocalyptic equation. The audience follows a band of characters as they grapple with the fallout of a fantastical and global disaster. Exploring the available texts, criticism, and observable trends of the post-apocalyptic fiction genre, I found that it tends to closely align itself with cultural studies. The majority of critics focus their arguments on the etiology of the text’s apocalyptic event and the group-based survival (i.e. an apocalyptic plague represents societal fear/anxiety towards immigration). However, the “sudden departure” of The Leftovers differs in that there is no physical or resource-draining event. Losing 2% of the population without cause is still catastrophic, but the struggles become personal. I would argue that The Leftovers employs a unique apocalypse and character-driven writing to emphasize an individual’s grief and struggle. By examining four of the show’s main characters and their personal coping with the event, we can see the personal identity crisis that defines this show above any cultural lens.