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Old 07-07-2010, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 7,315,892 times
Reputation: 9030
Default John Hersey's Hiroshima

Because I wanted to have something 'register' with the 10th grade students in the World Lit class I taught, I always ended the Holocaust unit with John Hersey's Hiroshima.

Fascinating account of the few minutes before the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima at the end of WW2, and the aftermath. Horrible account of what happens to some life. As long as I live, I don't think I'll be able to get the image of burn victims out of my mind, especially those along the road, who beg for water, but can only sip it from blades of grass, they are burned that badly.

Great book that makes for a compelling argument against war.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:08 PM
 
2,205 posts, read 2,084,283 times
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I thought there was a nuclear war. There'd be a lot of grubs and whatnot surviving in dead wood if nothing else. I didn't much like the book, and I thought that part was unrealistic.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:16 PM
 
2,205 posts, read 2,084,283 times
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Now for good post-Apocalyptic fiction skip The Road and read The Postman and Alas, Babylon.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Spokane via Sydney,Australia
6,608 posts, read 6,629,489 times
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I agree, it seems that it may not be necessarily survival of the fittest but survival of the least moral. There will always be those that are willing (and able) to do whatever it takes to survive.

Thanks for the lists links, I'll check them out
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Fort Wayne/Las Vegas/Summit-Argo
245 posts, read 289,601 times
Reputation: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trkstp Tina View Post
My husband and I just finished reading "The Road." Very interesting, suspenseful and compelling book, although I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. Anyway, my question is: Do you think the doomsday scenario painted in the book is even possible? It is hard for me to imagine any disaster that would seemingly wipe all animal, insect and acquatic life off the face of the Earth. Even if there was a massive nuclear war, couldn't some animal life, at least insects still survive? When the comet or asteroid or whatever it was hit Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs and introduced an ice age (did I get that right?) it didn't completely destroy all life. Surely a very few plants and animals could survive in the cold and sunless conditions described.

What was your assumption about the apocolyptic "event"--nuclear, asteroid or something else? It seems that if it was nuclear, then radiation sickness would be a factor, but that's never mentioned.

Perhaps I am reading too much into this; the author Cormac McCarthy obviously wanted us to focus on the present events and the relationship between the boy and the man, not the questions I'm presenting.
Completely unrealistic.

1) NO disaster is going to leave more people alive than animals. If for no other reason than there are more animals than people.

2) At an average pace of 8-20 miles a day,even allowing for food searches and breaks,it would only take 3-6 months to hike to any of the three ocean-sized bodies of water surrounding the US. Not short trek,but certainly not a prolonged journey.

3) The complete lack of discussion of the details behind the disaster is also unbelievable. 9/11 killed 3000 people almost ten years ago and people are STILL talking about it daily. Let's not even go into the Holocaust...

4) Cannibalism as anything other than a survival mechanism is unrealistic. Frankly, hunting an animal of equal or higher levels of intelligence would be a difficult and dangerous undertaking even if you weren't affected by starvation. Also,people aren't particularly nutritious.

5) Finally, the mother abandoning her child was completely bogus. If anything,in a difficult mental state a woman would kill herself AND her child rather than abandoning it.

I was hoping that the movie might have "corrected" these "oversights"...but that didn't seem to happen.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 7,315,892 times
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When I read On the Road, I guess it never occurred to me how realistic or unrealistic the work was, as I think the author's compelling element was the theme of the work.

To say that something might go one way versus another is purely opinion or speculation. One can't say with certainty that all mothers in such a situation would kill themselves and their children. I personally could not have taken myself out of the picture, and left a child to fend for itself, but there are some mothers who might. Could be unlikely, but not unheard of.

As for cannibalism, I am sure that at the point it might come to eating another human, one might not be considering whether it is 'nutritious' or not, if it appears to be the only readily-available source of food. I think I recall stories of people, during the depression, eating things like cardboard. The need is to alleviate the pangs of hunger. I don't think I'd be considering fat content, calorie count, and grams of sugar and carbohydrate.

I also did not find it unbelievable, or unrealistic, that there was no discussion of the catastrophic event, whatever it was. On the Road is a series of snapshots, and the people we encountered, as readers, may have still been much in shock, 'talked-out,' or have felt like 'why bother? What is there to talk about?' I saw the survivors as very much in that survivor mode, almost aimlessly wandering in spite of what they thought they were doing.

I saw the theme of the work as its predominant element -- the idea that under such circumstances life isn't worth living, at best futile. The characters, plot, storyline, setting and everything else were less the 'point' of On the Road.
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:29 AM
 
Location: Spokane via Sydney,Australia
6,608 posts, read 6,629,489 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banevader View Post
Completely unrealistic. Not really

1) NO disaster is going to leave more people alive than animals. If for no other reason than there are more animals than people. and a LOT of those animals depend on man for THEIR survival.

2) At an average pace of 8-20 miles a day,even allowing for food searches and breaks,it would only take 3-6 months to hike to any of the three ocean-sized bodies of water surrounding the US. Not short trek,but certainly not a prolonged journey.

3) The complete lack of discussion of the details behind the disaster is also unbelievable. 9/11 killed 3000 people almost ten years ago and people are STILL talking about it daily. Let's not even go into the Holocaust... I think the post after yours pretty much explained that one.....what's the point of "discussing" what's done and gone, their focus is getting through "today"

4) Cannibalism as anything other than a survival mechanism is unrealistic. Frankly, hunting an animal of equal or higher levels of intelligence would be a difficult and dangerous undertaking even if you weren't affected by starvation. Also,people aren't particularly nutritious. Really? Tell that to the Donner party, or the soccer team whose plane went down (see the movie Alive) - etc etc etc

5) Finally, the mother abandoning her child was completely bogus. If anything,in a difficult mental state a woman would kill herself AND her child rather than abandoning it. I agree with the previous poster on this as well.

I was hoping that the movie might have "corrected" these "oversights"...but that didn't seem to happen.
My comments are in red
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Fort Wayne/Las Vegas/Summit-Argo
245 posts, read 289,601 times
Reputation: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDSLOTS View Post
When I read On the Road, I guess it never occurred to me how realistic or unrealistic the work was, as I think the author's compelling element was the theme of the work.

To say that something might go one way versus another is purely opinion or speculation. One can't say with certainty that all mothers in such a situation would kill themselves and their children. I personally could not have taken myself out of the picture, and left a child to fend for itself, but there are some mothers who might. Could be unlikely, but not unheard of.

As for cannibalism, I am sure that at the point it might come to eating another human, one might not be considering whether it is 'nutritious' or not, if it appears to be the only readily-available source of food. I think I recall stories of people, during the depression, eating things like cardboard. The need is to alleviate the pangs of hunger. I don't think I'd be considering fat content, calorie count, and grams of sugar and carbohydrate.

I also did not find it unbelievable, or unrealistic, that there was no discussion of the catastrophic event, whatever it was. On the Road is a series of snapshots, and the people we encountered, as readers, may have still been much in shock, 'talked-out,' or have felt like 'why bother? What is there to talk about?' I saw the survivors as very much in that survivor mode, almost aimlessly wandering in spite of what they thought they were doing.

I saw the theme of the work as its predominant element -- the idea that under such circumstances life isn't worth living, at best futile. The characters, plot, storyline, setting and everything else were less the 'point' of On the Road.
Umm...aren't "The Road" and "On the Road" two entirely different works?
One is by Cormac McCarthy and the other is by Jack Kerouac.
Why did you feel the need to emphasize the title?
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Fort Wayne/Las Vegas/Summit-Argo
245 posts, read 289,601 times
Reputation: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opyelie View Post
My comments are in red

Completely unrealistic. Not really ("Not really" is your response?)

1) NO disaster is going to leave more people alive than animals. If for no other reason than there are more animals than people. and a LOT of those animals depend on man for THEIR survival. (MOST animals do NOT depend on humans for their survival and would and DO survive quite well in the absence of humans.)

2) At an average pace of 8-20 miles a day,even allowing for food searches and breaks,it would only take 3-6 months to hike to any of the three ocean-sized bodies of water surrounding the US. Not short trek,but certainly not a prolonged journey.

3) The complete lack of discussion of the details behind the disaster is also unbelievable. 9/11 killed 3000 people almost ten years ago and people are STILL talking about it daily. Let's not even go into the Holocaust... I think the post after yours pretty much explained that one.....what's the point of "discussing" what's done and gone, their focus is getting through "today"
(Sigh. Because that's what people do. It is a conceit of the author's to think that people wouldn't spend most of the time not used for survival, talking about what happened,how they feel and felt about it and to speculate about the "whys" of it. Ask the people still alive from Hiroshima if that doesn't come up at least once a day)




4) Cannibalism as anything other than a survival mechanism is unrealistic. Frankly, hunting an animal of equal or higher levels of intelligence would be a difficult and dangerous undertaking even if you weren't affected by starvation. Also,people aren't particularly nutritious. Really? Tell that to the Donner party, or the soccer team whose plane went down (see the movie Alive) - etc etc etc ( I grew up about 50 miles from Donner Lake,so I'm well versed in the story. They resorted to SOME cannibalism of DEAD people because they were trapped by weather conditions and and by an unfamiliarity w/ the area that they were in at the time. The people in the Andes crash were also trapped and resorted to it by a lack of other food sources and an inability to travel freely. Neither of the of cases were remotely similar to the book.)

5) Finally, the mother abandoning her child was completely bogus. If anything,in a difficult mental state a woman would kill herself AND her child rather than abandoning it. I agree with the previous poster on this as well.
(Whether you "agree" w/ the poster or not makes little difference. In Japan for example the are numerous cases where the mother has killed herself and her children simply to avoid having them suffer the disgrace of a father losing his job or leaving his family. And the exception and not the rule of how women deal w/ adversity involving themselves and their children. I found it difficult to believe that woman would bear a child and then abandon it in that type of situation. Maybe it happens,but VERY rarely,IMHO)

I was hoping that the movie might have "corrected" these "oversights"...but that didn't seem to happen.
My responses are in bold parentheticals.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 7,315,892 times
Reputation: 9030
Default Thanks, Editor

Quote:
Originally Posted by banevader View Post
Umm...aren't "The Road" and "On the Road" two entirely different works?
One is by Cormac McCarthy and the other is by Jack Kerouac.
Why did you feel the need to emphasize the title?

My mistake, and a BIG one at that. I was referring to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and not Kerouac's work. Must've been one of those days when I had not slept well the night before.

I also didn't realize I had emphasized the title. Titles of books should really be underlined, although I think italics are acceptable. I'm not quite sure why I had it bold-face. Perhaps in my tiredness, I thought of the use of " " or italics for a short story, or novella, and underlining or bold italics for a novel. At this point, who knows?
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