Showing 871 - 880 of 884 annotations tagged with the keyword "Society"

The Scarlet Plague

London, Jack

Last Updated: Oct-17-1996

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Summary:

It is the year 2073. A boy and his grandfather, clad in animal skins, are walking through deep woods. Having fought off a bear, they come to a fire on the beach, where several other boys sit watching their sheep. Their grandfather asks for a crab and they tease him with empty shells until he cries. Finally, they relent and ask him to tell his story about the past and the scarlet plague.

The grandfather had been a literature professor at The University of California-San Francisco. In the summer of 2013, rumors began that a new plague was killing people in New York. Those infected developed a scarlet rash, had a few convulsions, then settled into a sleep-like state in which they became numb and died, their bodies decomposing almost immediately. The entire process took at most an hour, but sometimes as little as ten minutes. Bacteriologists died even as they tried to find a vaccine. People began dying by the millions. The plague finally reached San Francisco and mayhem broke out. The wealthy tried to flee the city and the poor murdered them and looted in revenge for their long oppression.

The professor survived. He lived alone in the Grand Canyon for three years, then set out to see if anyone else was alive, finding a workingman and his woman slave. He met others and began a family which included the boys to whom he is telling his story. There is no means of communicating across the country or to other nations, since the fires set by looters consumed nearly every structure. Society has been set back to a nomad existence. The boys do not believe most of their grandfather’s story. They fight amongst one another and with him in a language that is only partly English. Finally, they rise, leaving the grandfather to straggle along behind into the wilderness.

View full annotation

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An old, man--a Chinese immigrant to America--is dying in Chinatown, "a sick dog" who yearns for his homeland and for the wife "who died waiting / in the home of my province . . . . " He can't relate to the young political activists who want him to join in protest against "this gray life"--a life which has never really engaged him. He imagines his ashes being carried by the waterways to join the ashes of his wife; she is the helmsman who will lead him back to comfort and joy.

View full annotation

The River Styx Runs Upstream

Simmons, Dan

Last Updated: Nov-08-1995
Annotated by:
Shafer, Audrey

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

A young boy's mother has just died, and out of grief and love, the father has her "resurrected." The family is told to think of the returned mother as having had a mild stroke, but, in fact, she wanders about the house like an inexpressive automaton. Her return from the dead leads to the destruction of the family: the eventual suicides of the boy's older brother and father. The boy, now a young man, becomes a Resurrectionist himself. He narrates the story with a direct, simple tone, which belies the eerie conclusion: he returns to the home of his youth, where his "family" awaits him.

View full annotation

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An old man speaks his anger, bitterness, and rage: "The tiger in the tiger pit / Is not more irritable than I." His "hissing over the arched tongue" is an experience "inaccessible by the young."

View full annotation

Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

For those considering a comprehensive overview of plague in Medieval Europe, Hirsch’s long poem is extremely useful. Comprised of thirty-five stanzas, it provides an historical account of devastation associated with the onset of plague in Venice in 1347. An inventory of behavioral responses to catastrophic disease illustrates that responses to AIDS frequently mimic irrational behaviors associated with earlier epidemics. There are references to hysteria, scapegoating, flagellants, illness symptoms, escape, desperate cures, and religious fervor.

View full annotation

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is the story of a woodman who hates the sound of the nightingale. The song unites all the other creatures of the forest. The bird’s music "shook forth the dull oblivion / Out of their dreams; harmony became love / In every soul but one." Every soul except the woodman’s is united by the emotion evoked by the nightingale. The woodman spends his days chopping down trees, each of which contains the soul of a wood nymph and provides beauty and shelter to the world. The world is full, says Shelley, of people like the Woodman who "expel / Love’s gentle Dryads from the haunts of life, / And vex the nightingales in every dell."

View full annotation

To Mary Shelley

Shelley, Percy Bysshe

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

There are two short poems by this name. Both are about Mary Shelley's reaction to the death of her son, William (see also To William Shelley in this database). Mary Shelley's depression is so intense that her husband feels as if she too has died. Her body is still there, but her real self has "gone down the dreary road / That leads to Sorrow's most obscure abode." Shelley knows he cannot follow her into depression for her own sake; he must be strong to pull her back.

View full annotation

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Sonnet

Summary:

Shelley angrily asks why some people chase after death or knowledge of it. To analyze the source of life or the conditions of its end is "vain" curiosity. Such knowledge has no benefit; it merely is a case of man trying to usurp the role of God.

View full annotation

Up-Hill

Rossetti, Christina

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem is an exchange of questions and answers that compares life to a journey. The journey is up-hill all the way, but at the end is an inn, a resting place, that cannot be missed and which has a room for everyone.

View full annotation

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Criticism

Summary:

Bleier uses the image of a lab coat as a basis to discuss the objective status of science. Is the white lab coat a symbol of purity, of aseptic neutrality, in which the scientist is wrapped? Or does it give the scientist a faceless authority that cannot be challenged? Bleier believes that our conception of science must be changed. It is not enough to simply clear androcentric bias. Scientists must recognize the values and beliefs that inform their work, rather than assuming they work in an apolitical, asocial vacuum. Scientists should commit themselves to human values.

View full annotation