Relationships of Sciences

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Relationships of Science to People

> Science is a topic that relates to everyone in someway. In many aspects

ofliterature, science is depicted in a way that shows the great significance it

holds overpeople. While the style of writing may differ depending on the

author, you can still betaken on a journey and actually experience the

situations of others. In the writings byRichard Selzer, Roy C. Selby Jr., and

Michel Brown, the reader is successfully taken onthis journey.

> "The Discus Thrower" by Richard Selzer and "A

DelicateOperation" by Roy Selby Jr. are similar in that they are both

written from the pointof view of doctors. Selzer describes his experience of

observing an old blind man whodoes not have his legs. Selby writes about a

surgeon performing an operation to remove atumor from a woman's brain,

seemingly based on his own experience. You do not haveto be a doctor, however,

in order to use science to tell a story.

Michael Brown is anenvironmentalist

who wrote "Love Canal and the Poisoning of America." He useshis

skills of investigation to show the horrors of a city plagued by the dumping of


> All three stories are similar in the fact that they paint a picture of

the medicaldistress that the people are in. Selzer goes into detail when

describing the old blindman, even going as far as to question if the man

remembers "when his body was not arotting log" (Selzer 290). When

reading about the plight of the woman, you caneasily understand the severity of

the situation. If not operated on the woman could goblind. If she is operated

on, she still has potential to lose her vision or even die. The surgeon Selby

writes about is clearly dealing with an operation that would be thedifference

between life and death.

> It almost seems like you are a fly on the wall when reading Brown's

story of thetoxic waste dumping in the city of Niagara Falls. Small stories of

the families livingthere made it impossible not to feel for them. "The

child was born with a heartbeat irregularly and had a hole in it, bone

blockages of the nose, partial deafness,deformed ear exteriors, and a cleft

plate" (Brown 300). That description shows justone of the scientific

tragedies of the city.The greatest similarity between all threepieces is that

all three authors are sympathetic to the situations they write about.

Manytimes doctors do not get attached to their patients, as it would provide

greatconsequences to their work ethic. It would be impossible to grieve for

the immense numberof patients they attempt to treat daily. Yet, in these

pieces both doctors do seem togrow attached. Though everyone has a strong

dislike for the old man in Selzer'spiece, the doctor respects him.

Selzer cares for him and watches over him when he doesnot have to. Dr.

Selby's surgeon too cares for his patient, which is seen in hisactions

after the surgery. "Though exhausted, he could not fall asleep until

aftertwo in the morning" (Selby 297). It took a call from intensive care

to calm hisnerves. Finally, Brown too shows sympathy, but it is as a narrator

for the city. Heexploits the shame that the company responsible for the waste

should have, whileportraying the citizens as

> unfortunate victims.

> While the pieces have similarities, it is important to see that they do

differ from eachother. The two hospital stories are written in the present

tense, while Brown's iswritten in the past. This style fits the mood

each story portrays. With the hospitalstories being written in the first

person, it feels like you are a part of the story inthe way that you are the

doctor's assistant. It has the feel of a live action show. The piece on

the city is an account of what the toxic waste caused. This provides as

thebest writing method for this situation, as one can look back and see the

destruction andthe pain that burdened a city.

> Another slight difference is the amount of people in each story that went

throughtribulations. The writings of both Selzer and Selby focus mostly on the

doctor/patientrelationship. On the other hand, Brown actually described

separate stories of differentfamilies in the town. One described a situation

where a family's basement containeda toxicity level of "thousands

of times the acceptable limit fortwenty-four-hour-breathing" (Brown

305). While not a major difference, this didprovide for the best presentation

to actually feel what the characters were goingthrough.Finally, the greatest

difference between the three pieces is the writing styleeach author uses.

Selzer uses a style that is void of scientific references. He simplytells a

story about a sick old man whose only enjoyment in life is an every day ritual

ofthrowing his plate of eggs at a wall. Everything is clear as it is easy to

see therespect and sympathy the doctor has for the man. Selby's piece

possesses the mostscientific language. The description of the operation

provides for some gruesome detail. "The incised piece of skull was pried

loose and held out of the way by a largesponge" (Selby 296). Still, even

with the use of such scientific terms as ahypothalamus or a dura, the story

remains quite interesting due to the detail involved. Brown provides for some

scientific talk. He goes into detail about the specific names ofthe chemicals

found in the city. However, it is written in a way where this can beoverlooked

and one can relate to the tragic human experience that the

> city is involved in.

> Everyone relates to the subject of science at one time or another. Selzer,

Selby, andBrown are no exception as they experienced science in their own way.

Whether it is from amedical operation or an environmental problem, everyone has

been or will be affected atsome point in time. Therefore, it is important to

learn about and attain as muchinformation about the topic, as one possibly can.

















> Works Cited

> Brown, Michael. "Love Canal and the Poisoning of America." Comley,

> 299-313.

> Comley, Nancy, ed. Fields of Reading. Boston:

> Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001.

> Selby Jr., Roy C. "A Delicate Operation." Comley,

> 295-298.

> Selzer, Richard. "The Discus Thrower." Comley,

> 289-292.