Themes and message


Humanity’s relationship to nature 

The short story “Time capsule found on the dead planet” by Margaret Atwood looks at the relationship between humans and the natural world. 

Throughout the narrative, humanity’s relationship with its environment changes drastically for the worst. In the beginning, people are connected to nature and benefit from its gifts: “We smelled the earth and rolled in it; its juices ran down our chins.” However, as time goes by, humanity’s actions affect the natural world. Therefore, the process of industrialization “began to eat things. It ate whole forests, croplands and the lives of children. It ate armies, ships and cities”. Later on, the natural world becomes barren and toxic, as “all wells were poisoned, all rivers ran with filth, all seas were dead; there was no land left to grow food.” 

The narrative presents a dramatic contrast between the idyllic landscape at the beginning of the story, when “a million birds flew over us then, a million fish swam in our seas,”, and the barren deserts illustrated at the end. Humans are the main responsible force for this destruction, and the story holds them accountable for their actions.

Religion and money

Another theme explored by Atwood in “Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet” is religion. In the story, th...

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