A Scientific Romance: EssayDeath & its Impact

Essay by michaelbudhaiHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2009

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Death is the eternal end of the natural functions that define a living organism. Death is something that can bring great effect on living beings in the world. The novel, A Scientific Romance written by Ronald Wright, depicts death having a great impact on existence in various forms. The main character, David Lambert experiences some forms of death and their overall impact on existence, through the destruction of Earth, diminishing education system, and the loss of loved ones.

The destruction of Earth has a great impact on the way of life. When David travels 500 years into the future, he notices substantial changes to the place he once inhabited. Almost everything is in ruins, with no sign of civilization, and only a deserted semi-tropical setting. Through extensive exploration, David soon realizes that it was humans that destroyed the Earth resulting in the deaths of millions of people and entire civilizations.

The following quotation said by Skeffington to Anita portrays this," 'Civilization is always a pyramid scheme. Living beyond your means. The rule of many by the few. The trick is to keep wringing new loans from nature and man.' " (Wright 66-67) Skeffington was explaining to Anita how human progress may inevitably cause the annihilation of human civilization and the destruction to Earth. In essence, he is trying to say that human progress will to lead to human destruction. This is exactly what happens to the world in the novel, and what may potentially happen to the Earth in the near future. It is global warming and pollution that causes the deaths of millions of people around the world, as a result of human advancement. Ronald Wright's novel may actually parallel the future of planet Earth. If research collected by scientists is correct, the Earth will one day be unliveable with harmful UV rays from the sun, rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions, spread of diseases and so on. The effect of global warming has already taken place worldwide. About 150,000 deaths occur each year as a result of global warming and this number is expected to double by 2030. Another quotation that depicts this theory would be," 'And as the smart ship grew/ In stature, grace, and hue, / In shadowy silent distance grew the iceberg too.' " (Wright 98)This quotation was said by Bird to David. It explains the theory at hand that devastation of the Earth caused mainly by humans, significantly impacts civilization. Therefore, it is clear to see how destructing the Earth can have the ability to result in a negative impact to civilization and human existence.

The education system is a vital sign of whether a society is superior. Education is the key to success for many civilizations. Canada is an example of a nation that is fairly successful with an exceptional economy, great health care, a literacy rate at 99% and so on. All of these items are said to be the prime result of an excellent education system. However, some countries are not privileged to good education. In the novel, the Macbeths are deprived of a proper education system. The only piece of literature that they own is the bible. However, none of them are able to read it, not even the laird. "I watched the laird's rufous eyes, how they moved over the page. They were the eyes not of a reader but of one pretending to read. His services were feats of memory." (Wright 236) This quotation reveals to the reader that the Macbeths are living in an uneducated society. Education provides guidance, opportunities, explanation and understanding of many issues, a learning environment and basic regulations such as discipline and punctuality. Diminishing educational systems in society can have a huge impact on humanity. Schooling is one of the most important institutions in society. It teaches you reason and rationality and understanding for why you do the things you do. Examining contemporary cultures, it can be noted that societies without an education system result in practices and behaviour unsafe and detrimental to humans. For example, female genital mutilation - a cultural practice of removing the clitoris from a woman's genitalia, has become common in countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia. Young women are victims of these unsanitary and abhorrent procedures, unknowing of the dangerous health consequences it can lead to. Due to the huge lack of education in those countries, the individuals practicing this procedure fail to understand that this can cause bacterial infection, sores, injuries in genital tissue and potentially, infertility and newborn deaths. This closely relates to the passion play that David is persuaded to take part in. The play turns out to be an inhumane act of human sacrifice. If these societies had been taught human rights and correct moral principles, there is no doubt that they would not choose to exercise these traditions. Overall, education is a very effective method of learning and without it people would lack understanding, awareness, and knowledge on general things, resulting in a faulty civilization.

A death of a loved one can severely affect an individual. Throughout the novel, David experiences many cherished moments of his past for his loved ones. As David explores the new world, the only way to keep in touch with other humans is through his memories. Through these memories, David is depressed. Saddened by the number of loved ones he lost to death. The loss of both Anita and his parents has a substantial affect on David throughout his life. The following quotation illustrates this rightly."...as if I'm being notified of the death of everyone and every place and everything I've loved, for the first time. Yes, I'm drinking too much, but with only one case of rum in the world there's little chance of turning alcoholic." (Wright 119) In this quotation, David is writing to Anita expressing his misery with death. The alcohol that David drinks is his way of coping with the memories of his loved ones. David drinks because alcohol is a type of drink that can make an individual feel at ease. There is a large population of people who drink or do drugs when confronted with death, because they find it is a way to cope. This is a good reason how loss of loved ones has a vast impact in one's life. After the death of David's parents, his life had been significantly changed. Since his parents died on Christmas Eve, he has troubles facing the most festive time of the year. Every year it seems to get worse for him. The following quotation proves this:Christmas Eve: eve, evil: a child's etymology that the grown-up can't unseat. And every year gets worse, because the scab on the heart sloughs away and the time-wound comes more tender, more inflamed. Why let myself be dogged by anniversaries and portents? Why keep a calendar no one keeps, (Wright 125-126)David keeps this anniversary in mind all the time because it is something that has a great influence in his life. Another piece of evidence that proves the death of his parents has a substantial impact in his life is said through this quotation:As a child, after my parents' accident, I would read and reread famous tragedies - the death of Harold, the murder of Atahualpa, the knifing of Marlowe, the loss of the Titanic, the Crucifixion - and hope that just once the ending could be different. (Wright 126)David wishes that the endings of these various tragedies turn out to be different because that is exactly what he wishes for the tragedy that killed his parents. As a child he really hoped that things hadn't turned out the way they did. It is very clear to see how loss of loved ones can affect an individual living in society.

It is apparent that death has a number of impacts on existence and on people living in a society. In A Scientific Romance, the author Ronald Wright is able to show the effect of death in its various forms. David Lambert is able to experience some of these forms through the destruction of Earth and its overall impact, the significance of diminishing education systems, and the mental response one gets through the loss of a loved one. Overall, all forms of death will have a clear impact on individuals and all of existence.

Biliography: Wright,Ronald. A Scientific Romance. Toronto.