Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Boy and His Dog. (Short Story)
by Harlan Ellison

After our discussion on Monday I started to think about the signifigance of the dog in the story, in regards to the socialization of the boy. The men/boys that walked the new society were driven in many ways my instinct. Such as the instinct for sex. Also many of the boys had dogs such as Blood. Blood was a source of education, socialization, friendship and in many ways a mentor to Vic. So when I think of the natural instincts of a dog which would include being sexually agressive (and not to mention not too picky) as well as being territorial in many aspects. So if I work on the notion that Blood would act as a normal dog then it would stand to reason that be would pass that attitude and instincts over Vic. When I think of it this way then I can fully understand how the society had evolved to what it had after the war. In fact it actually makes sense.
Maybe this thought was already discussed after the movie Wednesday but unfortunatly Seth has had the flu and Ii havn't been able to get to classes. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

On the Beach - Stanley Kramel, dir.

As I watched "On the Beach," I have to admit my most prodominent thought throughout the movie (especially after the first hour) was, "when are they going to die already!" I enjoyed the humor that laced the video but there was alot of let downs. Like Dr. Jones pointed out it was different then Earth Abides and the Omega Man in that there were no survivers. For instance, it seemed a let down that the search for the source of the radio transmissions ended with them being made by a coke bottle and blind.

As I mentioned in class it seemed odd to me that upon the impending extermination of the world that everyone stayed quite composed and life remained as normal. It would seem to me that there should be at least some "craziness" especially towards the end. They displayed some bits of "out of the ordinary" with Julian participating in the race, but no shots of anything "out of order," after the fact. This makes me think of how I'd react in such a situation..... I'm going to say that I would be doing everything I ever wanted (or at least try to) .... Skydiving, shark swimming, base jumping (whatever comes to mind) .... but then again if there's no guides or instructers to show me how to do it.....

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Earth Abides - George R. Stewart

My plan was to finish the book without any further comment until the comclusion. The first section before the quick years I feel has alot of interesting concepts to comment on making it necessary to blog before continuing. I do realize that I seem to have many comments and thoughts throughout the book so I'll try to make each short so as to not lose everyone's interest for those who will read this.

Ish has throughout the first section of the the book, before the quick years, came into contact with many types of people. These people have had distinct way of dealing with the "great disaster." Some of the survivers have drank themselves to their eventual death, committed suicide and/or lost touch with reality. (Ish dubs this the secondary kill) This brings me to wonder how would our society react? as Stewart portrays us to? Has Stewart been accurate in portraying the mayority of the survivers as on the road to insanity, unable to deal with the disaster?

In Chapter 2 Ish lists the qualities he possesses that has enabled him to remain sane while others had surrendered to insanity. My feeling is that Stewart is already introducing us to the idea of Ish being the leader of the "new society." What was a little suprising to me was that he listed solitary as a strong point but as the book proceeds this is not the case. It was in fact his need for companionship that led him to adopt Princess the female beagle and of course to eventually connect with Emma. So this leads me to question our own perceptions of ourselves. Are we actually as strong, intelligent, popular etc. as we lead ourselves to believe?

Chapter 3 tells of of the encounter with the "Negros" as Stewart says it. He had narrated so far that everything will become "as it were," before the human domination. I say this in relation to the mutation of animals to their wild forms as they make their way into the forests, also of the land before pavement, cement and machines. So as we come across the "Negros," Stewart gives the impression that the "Negros" regarded Ish as the slaves would have of the plantation owners, even tending a field of cotton! I can't say I agree with this particular part of the chapter. The theme has generally been the world goes back to the way it was before human domination. Slavery is in my opinion a man made concept in an attempt for "cheap" labour with the emergence of capitalism. So slavery being a man made capitalist idealogy should mean that the racial divide would be eliminated, hense Ish should not have been regarded in the fashion as he was by the "Negros." I take notice of the origionally copyright date of the book being 1949 and wonder if a writer of our generation would have perceived the reaction of the "Negros" to Ish in the same way as Stewart has.

I did have more to add but feel that I should end now and finish my comments upon completion of the novel. It just dawned on me that I went beyond what I planned on writing this time around. (too many thoughts I think) So i'll end by saying have a great rest of the weekend and see you all tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I'd like to first thank everyone for their patience with Seth in Mondays class, it was much appreciated. He actually had a great time in his first university English class. (and last for many years I would hope) I've been reading the novel we have assigned to us for Mondays class Earth Abides by George R. Stewart and have several comments to post from the first chapter. As some of you may already be way ahead of me in the reading you may have the answers and comments to the questions and comments I make already, so please ignore me ignorance as i'm not that far along yet and want to make note of certain points as I work through the book.
The first passage in the novel is of a radio broadcast which immediatly sets the stage somewhat for us as to the current state of the world. What I find quite interesting is the additional asides that are consistant throughout the chapter which make us think of of our own state in the world today. Take for instance the quote '"It has never happened!" cannot be construed to mean, "It can never happen!" - as well to say, "because I have never broken my leg, my leg is unbreakable," or "Because I have never died I am immortal."' This particular excert I feel many people can relate to especially those of youth, which of course the protaganist of the book is to a large extent. This quote can be related to the majority of peoples selective ignorance to the tragedies in life. As is the situation in the book a plague that would wipe out a civilization is a concept many people would care not even fantom for it gives us a sense of mortality, a sense that we are not as indestructable as a species as we may hope.
George Stewart also adds another aside that tells of the distinction of Captin Maclear's rat, a species that once had a vast population. It can easily be related to the human species as it exists today. We are currently a world that has become overpopulated with not enough natural resources and food to sustain the human race. It is because of lack of food available that the majority world is forced to starvation and lack of the basic necessities of life. There are of course the minority of individuals that are "extremely well nourished, and even unduly fat." There is in current day diseases that can have the potentional to wipe out our population, one such disease would be AIDS. Though it is prodominant in the poverty striken parts of the world it is quite steadily making it's way into the areas of the "extremely well nourished, and even unduly fat." aka. developed nations.
It is worth mentioning actions of the main character once he realized that "civilization" quite possibly had seen it's demise. There immediatly came the internal fight to keep living as civilization once did or because of the absence of civilization do as he wanted and needed. We saw his struggle to either maintain his conception of civilization or to abandon it through his decision to break into the shop to retreive the newspaper and through his decision to ignore the dead bodies he passed on the streets.
The end of the chapter leaves the reader considering as the protaginist is thinking "what do we do from here, when civilization as we know it has collapsed?" and "How do we move on as a society?", "Can we?"