Archive for April, 2012

“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.

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