Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 65 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kir Kuiken

Committee Members

Edward Schwarzschild, Laura Wilder


Climate Change, Creative Writing, Dystopian, Dystopias, Dystopias in literature, Climatic changes, Imaginary places, Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.)

Subject Categories

Climate | Creative Writing


Despite its importance for the creation of a compelling story, world-building is often overlooked in literary studies due to its complexity, with studies instead favoring analysis of plot, character, or situation. The dystopian genre dictates why world-building is a crucial element for fictional writing because it showcases a manipulated relationship between writer and reader. Using the overlap in possible worlds and actual worlds, this paper explores how world-building incites change in the actual world due to a reader correlating the possible world with their own. By way of example, my paper features the first three chapters of my dystopian novel, The Cleaners, where humanity has fled underground to escape climate change. World-building is featured heavily in these chapters to describe not only the physical setting, as well as the social structure and class system, in an attempt to persuade readers to acknowledge and then incite change towards global warming/ climate change.