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?"