Essay on Catastrophe

To begin with, it should be said that the term “catastrophe”¯ does not really mean some separate event. It is a complicated social institution that is mostly determined by occurred consequences, which may have incredibly long lasting nature. In this paper we’ll try to prove appropriate idea by examining author’s literature responses to social events of their times. Some brief analysis is made on the bases of “The invisible man”¯ by H.G. Wells and “As I lay dying”¯ by William Faulkner, which are indirectly connected to periods of Industrial revolution and Great Depression periods.

Well’s “The invisible man”¯ addresses several crucial themes in fact ”“ identity, power, science etc. However, there is one that stands aside from the common crowd. There is a talk about violence and its nature in author’s novel. Frankly, the entire work is written in incredibly realistic manner. Obviously, the events occurred there belong to fantastic genre. At the same time, the description of them is not much different as it would be in real life. It is curious, that the author is not pretty sensitive even with the most tragic scenes. For example, let’s remind the murder committed by American:

“”I’ll show him,” shouted the man with the black beard, and suddenly a steel barrel shone over the policeman’s shoulder, and five bullets had followed one another into the twilight whence the missile had come. As he fired, the man with the beard moved his hand in a horizontal curve, so that his shots radiated out into the narrow yard like spokes from a wheel”¯ (chapter 16).

With appropriate style, the author avoids the dramatic side of a human’s death. He doesn’t shows its tension, tragedy, and drama. In some way, appropriate approach can be treated as the product of authors’ time. Remember, “The Invisible Man”¯ was written in 1897, when the value of human’s life was largely replaced by the common will of power, and overall competition proclaimed by intensified development of industry. This manifesto is well shown in next picked passage:

“”Not wanton killing, but a judicious slaying. The point is, they know there is an Invisible Man””as well as we know there is an Invisible Man. And that Invisible Man, Kemp, must now establish a Reign of Terror. Yes; no doubt it’s startling. But I mean it. A Reign of Terror. He must take some town like your Burdock and terrify and dominate it. He must issue his orders. He can do that in a thousand ways””scraps of paper thrust under doors would suffice. And all who disobey his orders he must kill, and kill all who would defend them” (Chapter 26).

The common will to leadership and prosperity became the determining to the end of 19th century. In combination with scientific achievements, humanity obtained new clear direction to values of pragmatic capitalistic societies. With the growth of capitals, people seek for growth of their power. In this regard, “The Invisible Man”¯ by H.G. Wells can be treated as literature response to social segregation, aspiration to unlimited power and identity troubles that all in common became the background to the most rapid transformation in humans’ history, as we know industrial revolution today.

“As I Lay Dying”¯ by William Faulkner is quite different to the previous work. In difference to the first one, this novel grabs readers’ attention with much more sensitive and dramatic language. The author used the method of “stream of consciousness”¯, which intended to make the novel personalized. In comparison to “The invisible man”¯, the “As I Lay Dying”¯ is featured by inherent sense of drama and spiritual tension. At the same time, the author’s response to human’s death is unexpectedly unemotional:

“She’s a-going,” he says. “Her mind is set on it.” It’s a hard life on women, for a fact. Some women. I mind my mammy lived to be seventy or more. Worked every day, rain or shine; never a sick day since her last chap was born until one day she kind of looked around her and then she went and taken that lace-trimmed night-gown she had had forty-five years and never wore out of the chest and put it on and laid down on the bed and pulled the covers up and shut her eyes. “You all will have to look out for pa the best you can,” she said. “I’m tired.””¯ (chapter 8).

So, how should we treat this type of literature response? Seemingly, it is still about the hardships of the times when the novel was written. The ear of Great Depression is mostly associated in our minds to the general sense of frustration. The same sense is central to the entire text. The inhuman hardships that people had to face forced them to change their views on life in general. It was not more a kind of gift, it became a struggle that, fortunately, will end some day:

“It’s just a loan. God knows, I hate for my blooden children to reproach me. But I give them what was mine without stint. Cheerful I give them, without stint. And now they deny me. Addie. It was lucky for you you died, Addie.” (Chapter, 58).

To sum up, we may get a conclusion the writer’s literature responses to tragedies occurred in text, in some way, can be compared to the general social mental state of theirs times. This idea is traced through the mood, style, and emotions that were endowed to the readings. Appropriate solutions have reached wanted effectiveness in fact. They allow to see a horror and tragedy of an event from the side contemporaries, who had to suffer from social disasters and endowed trends of that times. Frankly, writers’ approaches in their writings are useful to get the mood they wanted to share. In this way, we do not treat the death like the end of a life only. Readers are able to see preceding context, whatever it is ”“ ideology, suffering, drama, madness etc. And that’s what makes author’s literature responses really outstanding.

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