The Themes Of Destruction In End Of The World Literature

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How can the apocalypse be associated with an abstract body of knowledge like the arts? The end of the world, an event normally viewed as catastrophic and devastating, is not commonly associated with the beauty and finesse of Literature. Seemingly an oxymoron, End of the World literature uses literary works ranging from poems to short stories, along with a plethora of literary devices, to highlight the themes related to the extinction of humankind. Poems such as “Ozymandias”, short stories such as “Violence of the Lambs”, and novels like “Cat’s Cradle” reveal the themes of fragility of human life, the illusion of religion and authority, and destruction caused by humans through devices such as imagery, allusion, and irony.

“Ozymandias”, “Violence
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Humans are inferred as responsible for bringing about the destruction of themselves and the world. As aforementioned in “Ozymandias”, the statue used to symbolize the power and control of the great king Ozymandias was reduced to “a colossal Wreck, boundless and bare” (1.13). This is ironic because a “colossal Wreck” is the opposite of the power and eminence the king wanted to display in the statue, instead, it ended up portraying the destruction of it. Hence, this suggests that the king’s vanity led to his own destruction; similarly, human vanity could consequently lead to our own demise. Furthermore, in “Violence of the Lambs”, humans are blamed for the demise of the planet. The story states that it is “not sure [if] we’ll ever say the world is ours again…that [this] may be for the best” (16). It is ironic because we are the perceived dominant inhabitants of this earth, and that without humans the world would not have progressed and transformed into what it is today. Hence, it is will not make sense or be “for the best”, if we do not rightfully own the world. However, this irony suggests that in spite of our contributions to the world’s advancement and development, the world is still better off belonging to some other species because of the destruction we have brought about i.e. global warming. Therefore, the fact that the world should not belong to us implies that humans have …show more content…
In the novel, physicist Felix Hoenikker is the inventor of the world’s first atomic bomb and a new chemical isotope known as ice-nine. The first invention wrecked havoc when it was dropped on Japan in World War II, and the second nearly eradicated the entire human race when it came into contact with water. Unfortunately, Felix was a scientist who created these things with harmless intentions, and in the pursuit of knowledge because “the more truth we have to work with, the richer we become” (41). There is irony in this statement, because that “truth” led to scientific inventions that caused mass destruction. Hence, the novel suggests that human innovation, regardless of its intentions, can potentially bring about severe

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