Never Let Me Go

“Why did we do all of that work in the first place? Why train us, encourage us, make us produce all of that? If we’re just going to give donations anyways, then die, why all those lessons? Why all those books and discussions?” (259)
I understand that the guardians of Hailsham wanted to help and even protect the students. They thought they could make a different by showing society that these clones were just as real as other humans. But in the process they deceived their students because so many believed they had a chance to do more than be a part of medical supply. I think living a well cultured and sheltered life was worse. They didn’t know what they were part of. As Kathy is reminiscing about Hailsham she says,  “The idea was that when the time came, you’d be able just to unzip a bit of yourself, a kidney or something would slide out, and you’d hand it over.” (88) They failed to tell them that it would be a painful and weakening process or that many would die/complete by the second donation. Miss Lucy had the right idea because she wanted to tell them the full truth. While at the pavilion she says, “None of you will go to America, none of you will be film starts. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That what each of you was created to do.” (81) It was bluntly said to the students but they imagined the process of donations was less painful. They were never given a chance to fight. Hailsham, Glenmorgan, and Saunders Trust should have joined forces with the students/clones.


“The government rushed the trials. The lawyers indemnified the drug companies. Maybe it causes autism or narcolepsy or cancer 10 years from now. Who know?
The swine flu vaccine killed people back in 1976. Nerve disease. So we’re all guinea pigs, starting from today. Just wait, they’ll start listing side effects like the credits at the end of a movie. “

Even though Alan Krumwiede lies about being infected and wrongfully supports forsythia I think he makes some valid points. We have generally witnessed medicine be pulled from the market because it has caused health problems. Some drugs have positive effects and save lives. Other times the side effects out weigh the positives and cause more damage. Recently my fathers diabetes medicine Avandia was discontinued. The FDA issued warnings because it increased the chances of heart attacks and strokes. This becomes an ethical question; do we save lives now and deal with side effects a little later in the years? In Contagion the virus has killed 26 million people in more or less 100 days. Between the 18th and 26th day Hextall sees that the virus has mutated and the R-noughts has changed. She says, “1 in 12 people on the planet will contract the disease”. If the MEV-1 vaccine was not hurried and distributed more people would become sick and more than 26 million people would have died.

Also the scene in which Dr.Cheever speaks to Aubrey he says “In 1918 1 percent of the population died from Spanish flu. It was novel, like this, no one had even seen it before.” Steven Soderbergh is able to relate this film to our reality through history. By mentioning the Spanish flu and the effects of the swine flue vaccine he highlights how realistic a situation like this could become because we have experienced major deaths in the past.

“Is that rain or isn’t it?”

“Just because it’s on the radio doesn’t mean we have to suspend belief in the evidence of our senses.” (23) Jack says this to his son when pointing out at the moment it is raining. For the most part we all trust our senses because we can see and feel rain. But Heinrich responds to his father by saying “our senses? Our senses are wrong a lot more often than they’re right” (23) Heinrich has a mind of his own and at times knows more information than his father.  But like the community I think he repeats what he learns from the radio as truth. This is a result of media influence. It seems like a twilight zone where everything the radio states becomes reality.  After the Nyodene D toxin hits, the symptoms of contamination are changed multiple times. At first it’s only suppose to cause irritated skin and sweaty palms. Then Heinrich informs Babette that people should be vomiting. The radio then reports that Nyodene D causes heart palpitation and déjà vu instead. Steffie reports déjà vu experience but at that point Jack says, “Déjà vu, however, was no longer a working symptom of Nyodene contamination.” (125) Jack worried that she would develop every symptom due to the fact that it is suggested. Babette says  “they get them only when they’re broadcast,” (133) I don’t know if these comments are suppose to be taken literally. But does suggestion have enough power to make the symptoms real and is this something like a placebo affect.

The Road

Before watching The Road directed by John Hillcoat,  I described On the Beach as haunting, horrifying and depressing. But I was mistaken because The Road truly depicts how haunting, horrifying, depressing and disgusting earth and humanity could be. Shute’s post apocalyptic novel in comparison to the movie is utopic. The people are calm, collected and nonviolent.  I think McCarthy’s post apocalyptic story is sadly more realistic. The movie shows many of the characters living by survival of the fittest. The amount of time that as passed in the movie is a major influence on how people behave. Everything within the movie is destructive. There are no crops left and food is scares. Man has become the harvested. The few survivors travel alone and trust very few because they fear strangers maybe cannibals. They are constantly suspicious and question the people they encounter. They accuse strangers of following them.

*Bit of a tangent but in 1993 I saw a movie called Alive. It was based on a true story about Uruguayan’s that crashed into the Andes Mountains. The people partook in cannibalism in order to survive.  I found the section on YouTube if anyone’s interested in seeing it just forward it to 7:30

The reason I mention the movie based on true events is because many believe the majority of humanity would not sink to the cannibalism. But in order to survive I guess it is very possible. The father and son stumbled upon a house with cannibals who have basically harvested humans. I have to admit I fast forward through that section because it was too much to handle.

Aside from cannibalism that goes on in the movie there is suicide. On the Beach many have committee suicide tidily away in their beds with pills. Yes, suicide is bad but there is something peaceful about their method. The Road, suicide is more violent. The father and son walk into another home and see 3 people hanging. I assume it is a family that has committed suicide together. After that scene the father shows his son how to properly commit suicide. He says “you put it in your mouth and you point it up, just like I showed you” he has apparently demonstrated the act multiple times. Instead of starving or being taken by cannibals, suicide becomes the answer.


What’s the point?

On the Beach, a haunting, horrifying and depressing novel surrounding the inevitable death of all humanity because of radioactive poisoning. After reading through Shute’s novel I thought about the most common question, what would you do if your world would come to an end in a few months? Would you respond like the characters within the book and live as if nearing death had no affect, quit your job, wonder about the non-existent future or just settle for the suicide pill mentioned in the novel? Personally I don’t think I could answer these question’s.

As Moira is speaking to Dwight about jobs she says that a lot of people simply stopped going to work and carry on as if they’ve retired. Dwight responds “A man has a right to do the things he wants to do in the last months, if he can get by with the money.” (63) I agree why continue working if it makes no difference. Within the last few months of my life I rather not stress myself out with meaningless things. Moira says there is no sense in wasting time on completing a typing course for a job. She says there wouldn’t be enough time to complete or make use of it afterward. The effort is pointless, and prorates quickly change.

Earlier John Osborne makes an observation and states that people like animals creep away to die. He says “they’re probably all in bed”. Peter and Mary agree to take their suicide pill and take their child Jennifer with them.  They take their pills together in their bed. It almost seems peaceful and normal. But it’s upsetting because Peter must make preparations to kill his family. What kind of bothered me was the fact that Mary was worried about the house setting on fire. So before taking their pills Peter has to turn the electricity off. What difference will that make, they’re going to be dead.

The Thirteenth Floor

After I finished watching The Thirteenth Floor and realized it was all set within different levels of simulations I thought of the beginning. Josef Rusnak opens the movie with the quote “I think, therefore I am”. This makes the viewer ask are these characters real. Is it their awareness, physical abilities, flesh, or just the idea that they exist enough to make them all real?  Descartes seems to say by thinking and being self aware it should be enough to prove ones existence. Even though the characters in Los Angeles in the 1990s seem conscious and aware they are part of a simulation. Whitney describes the simulation and says “Its units are fully-formed, self-learning cyber beings. (Units) electronic, simulated characters. They populate the system, they think, they work, they eat…they’re modeled after us.”   The people in the simulation are living normal lives but never question if the life they live is real. Grierson and Hall sometimes blackout and cannot remember what they have done. Yet, had we not known they were part of a simulation it could be explained by head trauma, Alzheimer’s, amnesia, split personalities and the list goes on. Memory loss and Déjà vu isn’t suppose to be explained by a simulation of reality.

Also Fuller and detective McBain reaction to the truth is interesting.  Fuller in his letter writes ““Ignorance is bliss” for the first time in my life. I agree. I wish I had never uncovered the awful truth.” Fuller would consider living a deceptive life. Detective McBain says to Jane “ Do me a favor, will you? When you get back to wherever it is that you come from, just leave us all the hell alone down here, okay?” The “units” would prefer continuing their lives blindfolded by deceit. There is no pleasure in uncovering what you once thought was real is nothing but an advanced cyber system. In the end no matter how self aware they are, all of the units are simply part of a game of chess, available for possession.


In the other material that we covered I would have to say I was envious of characters experiencing the new aged technology.  Living through avatars, plugging in to cyberspace, and experiencing a different life. Ubik like the other materials introduced a new world. Some humans were able to read minds, predict the future and change the past.  Evolution enhanced humans with these mutations and talents. But there was the very present half-life that I did not like.  If it was a utopia then sure I’d be open minded to it. But based on the description its not, half-life is just a way to prolong life.  We see that the realm of half-life is not consistent. Jory is able to alter this reality. Before Joe realized he was in half-life he said “But for some reason—for one of several possible reasons—reality has receded; it’s lost its underlying support and its ebbed back to previous forms.”(153) Further Joe points out that within one day they regressed from two years to forty years. That’s one confusing reality so why not take your chances with an amoral womb. Jory, a young immature boy, constructed a reality in order to eat half-lifers.  Ella said and—there are Jorys in every moratorium. This battle goes on wherever you have half-lifers; it’s verity, a rule, of our kind of existence.” (207) We are not introduced to the other moratoriums but Dick informs us that this battle in half-life is not avoidable.  Half-life just isn’t to appealing to me.



The Social Network

Of course “The Social Network” revolves around Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and how he established it. But there are certain sections in the movie that show how intertwined humanity is in the Internet. One night while intoxicated Mark hacks the networks of several schools. He creates a site to rank girls called  Within no more than 2 hours the site received twenty-two thousand hits. According to the Administrate Board Mark was accused of “intentionally breaching security, violating copyrights, violating individual privacy by creating the website”, set up overnight with no intended purpose was able to violate the rights of many students. Mark has the power of technology at his fingertips and choses to violate others.
But with the negative of networking comes the positive. Mr.Kenwright states that his daughter had just seen the rowing race via Facebook. Details about the event that occurred today would already be known tomorrow. Though, not physically present Facebook would permit thousands to experience events in their own homes with a few clicks. Lastly, Sean elaborates on a picture sharing idea that concedes with social life. He says “it is the true digitization of real life…you don’t just go to a party anymore. You go to a party with a digital camera, and then your friends relive the party online.” Generally speaking the Internet has truly become a “digitalization of real life” because people have befriended others around the world and have also experienced concerts, debates, and among other events.

1984: 2+2=5

Throughout the book I had faith in Winston. Maybe he would be the one that made a difference or informed the proles of possibilities. We see that he isn’t as rebellious as others because when arrested he observes other prisoners and thinks they are offensive. He points out the differences between Party prisoners and the others. George Orwell’s 1984 is disturbing because there is no hope among the proles or the so called Brotherhood. Winston, earlier wrote “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follow.” (81)  After Winston is “cured” by the Ministry we see that mindlessly he traces onto the dust of his table 2+2=5. This is most horrifying because despite all rebellion he has conformed. Julia and Winston’s spirits are broken; all forms of rebellion against the Ministry are futile.  As O’Brien means to degrade and humiliate Winston he says “you are the guardian of the human spirit.” (270) In order to show how man has disintegrated O’Brien makes Winston see himself as he is.  He describes Winston as an old looking man suffering from a malicious disease and a bag of filth. The spirit of humanity like Winstons is weak and dies out. Technology is not to blame for the disastrous turnout of humanity. Yes, telescreen’s and other instruments are used to spy on people. Along with electronics the government relies on the children to spy because they are brain washed.  Civilization is to blame for the betrayal of human rights because they have accepted every lie.

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