Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not really anything for today

Due to me having USG work to do, a test to study for, and just finishing this paper, there is no real update for tonight. I will be updating on Friday with a look at an all-gay highschool (yes, gasp)... Anyways, for today, enjoy *or, probably don't) this paper for English 275...
Fyi, the prompt was "how does the author use the setting in the story" or something like that... The story i was using is 'The Cold Equations'

My God-damned Monkey

Stark is an adjective which means (Merriam Websters) “rigid in death”: “rigidly confirming”: “absolute”: “Barren”: “Harsh/Blunt”. Stark is a state of mind, it is when you know exactly what you need to do and will do anything to get it. Stark is a location, it is the emptiness of space, the deeps of the oceanic trenches, and the never-ending hallways of the human soul. Stark is a manner, the cold demeanor that kings have towards their serfs and peasants. Stark is the language spoken in the novel (and its sequels/spin offs) “Ender's Game”. Stark is the fundamental truths of nature.

With any story, the author will adapt a setting to meet the needs of the characters in that specific situation. When one needs to justify the killing of a person, they can not have any way to save said person. Chairs, calendars, computers, a pet monkey; all of these could be thrown off of a ship (I would protest at the killing of the cute little monkey) instead of a 110 kilogram girl. How many chairs, how many lamps, how many monkeys does that girl weigh? To save a girl you would need a non stark environment, one that the characters can act upon, instead of the environment acting upon the characters. The sorrowful death of the girl (well, the class thought it was sad) is due solely to this required starkness.

Enough with the obvious point of making the setting stark, what about the other uses of this word: Rigid in death. When you eject a body from an airlock, it compresses and then promptly expands (due to the sudden changes in pressure and how they interact with the carbon-based cells that we are). Humans are not used to this, we are used to rigidity, the stiffness that a dead person suddenly is. Humans are fluid entities, always moving, always flowing; a dead body is stiff, a stark (hehe) contrast. When a person becomes rigid it is though they are already dead, be they still living or not. The starkness of the story exemplifies the fact that the girl is already dead (as is my poor pet monkey), she just doesn't know it yet.

Be it in school, at your job, speeding (I mean driving) down the highway, or flying through the vast emptiness of space, you confirm rigidly to a set of laws. These laws are changeable only under great stress and effort (like physics when it approaches a black hole). The draconian laws of society and humanity are and will always be. From Hammurabi's Code to the the Magna Carta to the plans for our exploration of Mars to the rules of the future, there will always be rules that are unchangeable and just are. We always will need to confirm to and rules that will always harm us. The girl (and my imploded monkey) were not killed by space, they were not killed by physics, they were not killed by you or I. They were killed by the starkness of humanities laws.

The force of gravity is always 6.67 × 10−11 N m2 kg-2 regardless of where you are in space. Hydrogen will always have one proton, just it will always be that way. These are the absolutes of nature. They are unchangeable facts, yielding for nobody. All people are held in a hydrostatic equilibrium due to their pressures and their gravity. You want to change that, well, too bad, because you can't. The starkness of the story exemplifies the absoluteness of nature to the utmost degree (look, another stark definition). X amount of fuel will get weight Y safely too and from Point F. More fuel changes the equation (breaking needed, acceleration, added weight, etc). Less fuel kills weight Y (hopefully it is not my monkey). If weight Y eats a large Thanksgiving dinner than X fuel will not be enough. This is nature, not anything else. The starkness of nature killed the girl.

Every star in the galaxy produces gamma rays, photons, and a whole string of radiated particles in a constant wave expanding away from itself. Waste from humans, asteroids flying about, and a x-wing being magicked up by Yoda all exist in nature. With all the space that is space, these items are nowhere near you. Space is barren, space is empty, space is stark. There is nothing between you and implosion except for a small steel hull. Nothing. You have no help, you have no back up. You are the best of the best, and you are the only one there is. Once you leave the comfort of your womb, your mother ship, you have nothing else but yourself and what you are given. There is nothing but a man, a ship, and a girl. The Earth, the Sun, the Death Star, and a small monkey do not matter any more; they are too far away, too small, too insignificant. Nature didn't kill the girl, being alone did.

You will die, I will die, my pet monkey will die; these are undeniable facts of nature, they are things that we can never change (nor should we ever want to). To be blunt about it, society, nature, and the universe are harsh sons of bitches. They are rigid, they are absolutists, they are law abiding. Nature is harsh, it will kill you if it gets a chance; hell, according to Murphy it is always trying to find that chance. Society is blunt, you break the law and we will call you out on it. That is just how it is, everything is harsh, everything is blunt, we just like to eat that spoonful of sugar to make our medicine go down. Nothing killed the girl, she heard the harshness of nature quite bluntly and killed herself.

For God's Sake, stop killing my damn monkey.

(The story is the Cold Equation, in case you couldn't figure that out)

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