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.


Blogger Lucy said...

You have made some interesting and thought provoking points. I know that it is hard to keep things brief when discussing this book. Earth Abides is rich with topics for our blogs (several I will be bringing up during my presentation tomorrow) and I look forward to your comments and feedback.

I will respond to your queries within your post after my presentation is complete.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Thanks for the informative post. I had been struggling a bit with this book but I enjoyed it all the same. It will be interesting to hear everyone's comments. I definately agree with you about the "negro" part. It makes me feel that we have come a long way since the 60's, at least some of us! See you in class! Debra

4:05 AM  
Blogger Miriam Jones said...

I think one of the points Stewart was making in that section was that even though everything had changed about as radically as possible (99.999999% of the human population dead), people still fall into their learnt patterns. The African-American people Ish meets in Arkansas, a largely rural, Southern state, in 1949 would have had a particularly fraught relationship with whites, and even though everything had changed, neither they -- nor Ish, as evidenced by his patronizing comments about them -- could immediately overcome their accustomed ways of doing things.

5:40 PM  

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