Time capsule found on the dead planet

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Time capsule found on the dead planet” (2009) by Margaret Atwood. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) is a Canadian writer, teacher, inventor, and environmental activist. Many of Atwood’s literary works explore themes such as gender, identity, religion, and climate change. The short story “Time capsule found on the dead planet” was written in support of the 10:10 climate change campaign, whose aim was the reduction of 10% of the carbon footprint by 2010.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

However, the collective “we” appears once again in the fourth age, when “we created deserts.” This shows that humanity still had a choice to make, and chose to follow the path of greed and ambition.

At the end of the story, the narrator briefly adopts a first-person singular perspective and becomes the voice of the last person on the planet:

You who have come here from some distant world, to this dry lakeshore and this cairn, and to this cylinder of brass, in which on the last day of all our recorded days I place our final words: Pray for us, who once, too, thought we could fly. 


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Time capsule found on the dead planet

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