Drive written and performed by Incubus

Drive, written and performed by the late 90s – early 2000s rock band Incubus is a song surrounding the idea of letting fear control a person’s life. The song places the listener in the thoughts of a young man battling with the idea that his anxieties are controlling his decisions and actions and fantasizing what his world would be like without the influence of that fear. 

Fear is presented in the song initially in the opening lyrics in which the lead singer, Brandon Boyd, questions how much he is letting fear control his life. 

Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I am beginning to find
That I should be the one behind the wheel

These opening lyrics introduce us to the idea that the protagonist of the song is struggling with fear controlling his life and recognises that he needs to take back “the wheel” and steer his life in the direction he wants. Throughout our life, our decisions are almost always going to be influenced by fear in some way or another but we can gain control over it. The lyrics show how Boyd recognises how fear is controlling him and in order to reach his full potential as a person he must get rid of that fear. The overall message I think Boyd is trying to get across to his audience is that we shouldn’t let fear control our lives as it can have major consequences and can hold us back, stopping us from reaching our full ability. 

An example of where fear has had a negative influence on my decision making is completing NCEA assessed internals. When writing up the final response for my 6 text wide reading responses, I became stuck and for a while couldn’t go on. I think the main reason for this was because the deadline was very close and I was afraid that I wouldn’t finish the internal. I let this fear get a hold of me and “take control.” I told myself that I would not finish and that I wouldn’t be able to attend certain classes next year because of it and wallowed in this pit of self pity. This horrible mindset was all influenced by my fear of failure. I was able to overcome it by reassuring myself that my life didn’t depend on these credits and the fear was abolished allowing me to finish the report. 

Another idea that Boyd tries to get across to his audience is that outside influence from other people is able to affect how we perceive the world and can cause fear. 

So if I decide to waiver my chance
To be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine
And hold my own and drive?

These lyrics revolve heavily around the idea of being part of a collective. The metaphor of the hive and “water over wine,” referencing being a part of a religious group where your ideas and opinions are heavily influenced by others, suggests that Boyd has had a significant amount of outside influence in his life that has caused him fear, affecting his decision making. The idea Boyd is trying to get across through these lyrics is that, in order to become free of fear, it sometimes means freeing yourself of people who are holding you back. In this case, Boyd’s influencers (eg: religious figures, the media, etc) are bombarding him with opinions which make him fearful of doing or saying certain things. In order to free himself of this fear, he must free himself from these opinions and the people with them.

Media and religious influence are very common ideas in today’s society, especially in the youth who are growing to discover the world and are easily influenced by outside sources. When I use social media, I see images of people wearing certain brands of clothing, liking certain things and disregarding and shunning people and things that they don’t like. I’ve seen close friends making decisions about what clothes to wear, not based on actually disliking the clothes, but on what other people and media influencers think about them. Their fear of being judged and rejected by society alters their decision making. 

This song among other things has helped to teach me that is important to hold your own opinions and stand your ground when defending them. People try and influence the masses and steer them in a certain direction using the fear of rejection and isolation. This song has taught me that it is okay to stand out from the crowd and that letting other people influence me through fear is a sure fire way to stop me from reaching my full potential as an individual. 

Wool by Hugh Howey

“If the lies don’t kill you, the truth will.”
The cover statement made by Hugh Howey on his dystopian fiction novel, Wool. Set in the not so distant future, Wool takes place in a huge underground silo containing what is known to be the remainder of the worlds surviving population. This ground-dwelling society must run without a hitch in order for everyone to survive and continue the human race as it is known. Fear is used by the governing body of the silo, the IT department, to control and manipulate the population as a way to maintain order and peace. 

The first example of fear being used by IT to control the people of the silo is shown when a new recruit in IT who is sharing information with the protagonist is discovered to be sharing sensitive and secretive information and is killed by IT. After being appointed sheriff, the main character, Juliette, delves into resolving why the previous sheriff and first narrator in the story, Holston, and his wife were sentenced to the outside world to die. After going through the sheriff’s computer, she makes contact with a fresh recruit working in the IT department named, Scottie to help her figure out the files in his hard drive. After several days of Juliette and Scotty sending wires of information back and forwards, Scotty asks that Juliette comes to his office immediately. The information that Juliette had shared turned out to be schematics relating to cleaning – the death penalty.. Scottie reluctantly explains this to Juliette and starts getting very anxious and upset. The day after Juliette leaves the IT department, she recieves an alert that Scottie has committed suicide in his office. Juliette is suspicious of his death and feels inclined to investigate coming to the conclusion that he was killed by a member of the IT department.

“Oh, Jules, I just want to go back to Mechanical. I want none of this to have happened.”

Scottie was more than frightened – he was terrified. For his life.”

This quote prior to Scotty’s death indicates that he was aware that IT was going to take action once they knew he was sharing sensitive information and was terrified of the consequences. The IT department and the threat of being sentenced to cleaning was able to scare Scotty into regretting his actions and ultimately paid the price with his life. Scotty’s death was also used as a warning to Juliette not to pursue any more information surrounding the previous sheriff and the inner workings of the IT department. 

They must have found him snooping, or maybe her visit had alerted them. She wondered what IT could see, if they could break into her wire account, even.

Juliette’s thought process presents the reader with the idea that after Scotty’s death, Juliette also becomes fearful of these punishments. This was the intention of IT to prevent her from trying to find more of this information. Both of these quotes show how it is common for people living in the silo to avoid the topic of the outside world and information surrounding it as it is taboo and has become customary not to ask questions with Juliette and the old sheriff being the exception. To keep their information a secret, the IT department uses the fear of punishment, persecution and death. This means that nobody asks questions and the society in the silo keeps running smoothly. 

Examples of fear being used as a method of controlling the population are also present in the real world but are far less drastic and for different reasons. For example, in my life, NCEA is a prevalent aspect of schooling that students are programmed not to try and go against. We are taught to view it as a defining aspect of our lives with the penalty for not trying hard or doing well enough being the lack of a degree or well paying job later on in life as well as rejection by our society. I can say from experience that I have feared not passing a certain paper because of the implications I believe it may have on my future. Being poor or homeless is looked down upon by society and even the fear of being rejected by my peers because of bad grades has influenced my motivation in some cases. While being a lesser extreme, I do believe that NCEA is a valid example of control through fear.

Another example of fear being used to control population in the silo is presented to the reader throughout the book. It is shown through people’s reluctance to talk about the outside world as well as a general disinterest in the inner workings of the silo. Throughout the story, we as the reader, are made to understand that talking about the outside world is recognised as taboo and is punishable by death. This would explain why there is a lack of discussion about the outside world by the general public. However we see that instead of being fearful, the reason people avoid these topics seems to be a general lack of interest and force of habit. Over time, people have been conditioned by the fear of capital punishment. Throughout the course of many years, the people of the silo have begun to recognise talking about the outside world as something that simply shouldn’t be done instead of immediately thinking of the legal ramifications. This is a form of long term control using fear and conditioning of the minds of the people to prevent them from delving too deep into ideas about the outside world. 

“They didn’t want people talking. Thinking was fine; they would bury you with your thoughts. But no collaboration, no groups coordinating together, no change of ideas.”

This quote presented in the later part of the text clearly identifies the intention behind the members of IT. The phrase, “no change of ideas,” shows the reader how the principals and customs that people lived by since the beginning of the silo have remained consistent and how the idea of manipulation and conditioning has been implemented over a long period of time.  

Humans are curious creatures by nature. In the real world, control through fear is a common theme used by governments to keep their people safe and their societies functional. Here in New Zealand, we have rules and laws set in place that mean if someone underage was caught drinking or smoking then there would be legal ramifications and punishments. While these punishments aren’t as extreme as the death penalty, there is still the fear of being fined or sent to prison that stops us wanting to take part in these activities. If these laws were not in place then there would be a stronger inclination to do these things. These laws have been reinforced over a long period of time so we know not to break them. When someone talks about underage drinking then we simply think they shouldn’t take part in it, not for legal reasons, but because we’ve been conditioned to think that way. 

Wool depicts the inhabitants of the silo as unaware and unable to think any differently than what they know from their limited existence within the silo. As a person living in the society and the world I live in today, I have a different perspective on the events that unfolded in the silo through the course of the novel. I am able to understand and see that IT is using fear to manipulate and control the population while these people remain oblivious as they have never known any different and are unable to comprehend the fact that there could be another way to live. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

“Ready Player One,” written by Ernest Cline, is a story based in a not-so-distant future in which planet Earth has become a nasty end result of global warming, a lack of fossil fuels and constant warring and killing. In this world people choose to live out their lives inside a virtual gaming console known as the OASIS. Fear is presented in Ready Player One through the idea that people are afraid to face the reality of their situations. Ernest Cline uses the idea of hiding your true identity as well as living in a false reality to show how people can be afraid to accept the world around them as well as who they are as people. 

An example of where fear stops a person from presenting and exposing who they truly are is shown all throughout the book but more predominantly through the main character of the story, Wade Watts. Wade is the protagonist and narrator of the story and we see everything through his eyes. Wade presents himself and his situation, living in a poor and poverty stricken area of the US with his only escape from reality being the OASIS. Wade relishes in the fact that he is able to change his appearance and, to put it plainly, who he is, inside the OASIS. 

“I’d designed my avatars face and body to look, more or less, like my own. My avatar had a slightly smaller nose than me, and he was taller. And thinner. And more muscular. And he didn’t have any teenage acne. But aside from these minor details, we looked more or less identical.”

This quote from Wade identifies his lack of self-esteem and how he dislikes his own appearance and who he truly is and, out of fear of being judged, chooses to present himself as a different person inside the OASIS. 

“Online, I didn’t have a problem talking to people or making friends. But in the real world, interacting with other people – especially kids my own age – made me a nervous wreck.”

This quote shows how Wade dislikes the real him and chooses to present himself differently inside the OASIS. Because of this, he is able to make friends and easily interact with others in virtual reality. These two quotes present the idea that people can view the OASIS as an escape from their fear of presenting themselves as they truly are. This is a common theme in today’s society as well as in the story. 

In society today, we are constantly bombarded with media that presents us with an idea of how we should look and act and feel about the world. When we adhere to these ideas we feel good about ourselves. We feel as if we fit in with everyone else and being a part of a group makes us feel valued and wanted. If we don’t fit into these categories then we can become reclusive and feel bad about our body image and the way we act and the clothing we wear. Therefore we become afraid to not fit in and be apart from the crowd. 

Another example of fear presented in the story is through people being afraid to accept the reality of the world around them. In the book, we are presented with the idea that the world has gone to hell and, because of this, most people have gone to the OASIS to escape it. They choose to block out their problems and the fact that the climate is ruined, people are homeless and dying at alarming rates, crime is through the roof, etc. An example of this presented during the text is shown when Wade is having a conversation with his friends concerning what they’d do with a fortune of billions of dollars.  

“Don’t you want to build a huge interstellar spaceship, load it full of video games, junk food, and comfy couches, and then get the hell out of here?”

This quote shows how the people on Earth recognise the state of their world but would rather ignore it than bask in the existential dread knowing that the planet is dying and they will eventually go along with it. They choose instead to escape to the OASIS for a sense of comfort inside of a false reality. This is a common theme in the real world as well.

In our world, despite the fact that climate change is a very real and steadily impending threat to us and our planet, most of us choose not to do anything about it. We ignore the movement to act on it because we are afraid of the fact that our world is changing in such a big way. As individuals, the change we think we can make is minimal and therefore, ignore it. 
Throughout, “Ready Player One,” Ernest Cline presents the idea of fear by showing how people can be afraid to accept the world around them as well as who they are as people. Today we are so self conscious and not conscious enough about the world around us. I think that while we should care about our self image, it is nowhere near as important as using our might as a collective to change the world for the better.

Snowpiercer directed by Boon Jong-ho

“You need to maintain a proper balance of anxiety and fear and chaos and horror in order to keep life going. And if we don’t have that, we need to invent it.”

Fear. Created by violence and death with the intent to control. This is a pinnacle idea in the 2013 film, “Snowpiercer,” directed by Boon Jong-ho. The story of Snowpiercer is centered around the remains of humanity surviving on a frozen future version of Earth. They live in a train that circles the planet in constant motion, never stopping. If the train stops, everyone freezes to death. To maintain order on the train, there is a hierarchy put in place with the lowest class living at the back and first class living in the front. This hierarchy is kept in place with the members of the higher class using fear to oppress and control the lower class. Fear in this sense is presented as a barrier that stops people from realising their full potential. 

The first example of fear being used as a method of control is presented to us during the first section of the film in which a lower class man  attempts to rise against his first class oppressors. During a routine inspection, the first class law enforcement of the train take a child from the rear of the train to bring the front. The father of the child pushes through the crowd of lower class passengers and is brutally beaten by law enforcement. He is then subject to capital punishment when his arm is forcibly exposed to the cold temperatures outside, frozen solid and smashed into peices. 

“Now, as in the beginning, I belong to the front. You belong to the tail. When the foot seeks the place of the head, the sacred line is crossed. Know your place. Keep your place. Be a shoe.”

This quote combined with the violent punishment administered to the offending man shows the viewer how fear can be used by someone in a position of power to quell and abolish any kind of backlash or resistance from people they deem inferior. The punishment instills fear of death or injury in the lower class passengers and the message that is presented to them encourages them to stay in their place or they’ll be the one receiving said punishment. This removes the idea that these lower class passengers are able to become anything more than they are perceived to be by their ‘superiors’.

This idea of control through fear is present in the world today’s, especially in countries like China where punishments are enforced when someone steps out of line. Even something as small as accessing a blocked website or using a certain app can result in hefty fines and even prison time in a lot of cases. Punishing people for doing these certain things discourages them from wanting to do them again. They become afraid of the punishments that they may be subject to as a result meaning that fear is being used as a method of control. 

The second example of where fear is used to control the population is shown when the fear of death is removed when the people of the tail section realise there are no bullets in the guns carried by their law enforcement. When the protagonist of the film, Curtis, a member of the tail section of the train, goes to rise up against his oppressors, the main thing stopping him is the fear of death. However, he has a firm belief that there are no real bullets in the guns carried by law enforcement who would not question killing him otherwise. Upon a second routine inspection, Curtis runs up to the nearest guard and points the gun at his head, pulling the trigger. The gun does not fire and upon realising this, he calls for everyone to rush forward to overwhelm the guards. 

“No. I think the guns are literally useless. They used up all their bullets in the last revolt. Bullets are extinct.”

Through the belief Curtis has in the ‘extinction’ of bullets, Curtis’ fear of death and physical harm is removed. This instills confidence in him and allows him to carry out a plan to rise up against the guards. If this fear wasn’t removed, he would have maintained his status and place as a lower class passenger with no rights, living in poverty. This shows us that once fear is removed, that people become more confident, willing and able to take part in certain things. 

An example of this removal of fear I have experienced is when I am performing with my band on stage. The first few times I performed in front of a live audience with my band, I was nervous and the fear of failure and judgement were the only thoughts crossing my mind. Those performances were poor and, reflecting on them, I know that being afraid of judgment stopped me from engaging with my audience and singing to the best of my ability. After a couple of years of experience playing in front of audiences, that fear has been removed. Overall, I have become a more confident person on stage and am able to engage with the crowd, sing well consistently and just play better shows in general. 

The message presented to us about fear throughout, “Snowpiercer,” is that it can act as a barrier that can be used to prevent us from reaching heights we never thought possible. This idea is important in today’s world where we are frequently exposed to ideas and opinions of celebrities and influencers who tell us we should do and act in certain ways. The majority goes with these ideas and ways of living without much questioning for fear of being rejected by society. Overcoming that fear can allow us to become more independent thinkers and be capable of more than we previously knew possible.

The Iron Giant directed by Brad Bird

“I am not a gun.”

The movie, ‘The Iron Giant,’ directed by Brad Bird, is a heartwarming film based around the relationship between a young boy, Hogarth, and his newfound, giant robot friend. The story is  about Hogarth’s discovery of the robot and having to teach him how to live and survive in a 1950s American town all while keeping him a secret from his family and friends. An idea that is presented throughout the film is that decisions made in fear are not always the best answer to a problem.

One of the best examples of where fear could be detrimental to the situation is shown towards the end of the film after the robot succumbs to his original programming. Over the course of the film, Hogarth forms a friendship with the giant robot and they grow to understand and care about one another. Hogarth tries to maintain this friendship all the while keeping the giant hidden from the rest of the world, especially from the prying eyes of a secret government agent named Kent Mansley. This proves difficult for Hogarth and towards the end of the film, the giant is forced out of hiding and becomes violent towards the population of the town, using a variety of weapons to destroy and kill. The movie comes to a climax in the middle of the giants rampage when Hogarth, knowing the giant has good in him, attempts to stop the robot, stepping into the line of fire to prevent any further harm. By speaking to the giant, Hogarth manages to help the giant remember who he is and he becomes passive. 

“No, wait! It’s me. Hogarth, remember? It’s bad to kill. Guns kill. And you don’t have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose.”

This quote shows us how Hogarth was able to make a rational decision to stop the giant despite being afraid. He puts faith in the friendship and relationship he has with the giant and the experiences they shared to be able to stop the rampage. In this situation, if Hogarth were to let his fear get the better of him, he would have never stopped the giant and the situation would continue to get worse and more people would die. 

A real world example of where fear has had the potential to worsen a situation is during my rowing finals at Maadi Cup. Rowing up to the start line for my final race of the season, the main though running through my head was, “what if I fail?” I know from experience that the fear of failure has been detrimental to my results and experience in other races. However, knowing that I had an entire season of training behind me and I was fit and strong and that, logically, I was going to do well, I was able to overcome that fear of failure. I ended up coming in third place overall. I know that if I let my fear of failure overcome me then my result wouldn’t have been as good as it was. 

An example of where decisions made based on fear worsen a situation is at the end of the film where Kent Mansley chooses to launch the missile at the giant. During the film, we are presented with the idea that Kent Mansley is determined to hunt down and eliminate the threat of a possible alien weapon. He tries and tries again to locate the giant to no avail until the latter stages of the film. Upon finding the robot, he alerts the government and they send troops and tanks to take down the giant. This causes the giant to go into a rage. After Hogarth calms the robot and restores it to it’s passive state, Kent Mansley, still determined to destroy the robot, orders a nuclear missile launch on the giant’s position, despite it being in the midsts of hundreds of innocent people, himself included. 

“That missile is targeted to the giants current position! Where’s the giant Mansley?”

“We can duck and cover! There’s a fallout shelter right th…”
“There’s no way to survive this you idiot!”

This dialogue between Kent Mansley and the army General shows how, despite there being many logical factors that should have stopped Mansley from ordering the missile launch, he chose to do so anyway with no initial regard for the safety of himself or the people around him out of fear of the giant and it’s capabilities. This situation shows how when subject to fear, a person will look for the first way out without logically taking everything into consideration. Acting out of fear due to a fight or flight response is a common theme in human nature and Mansley launching the missile is a good example of how our human nature can be flawed. 

A real world example of flawed decision making due to fear has been shown in the past, more specifically during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster was a reactor explosion that caused the deaths of thousands of people in Russia due to radiation exposure. Despite the explosion being the main cause of death, the Russian officials in charge of the clean up operation covered it up, refusing to admit that it was of any harm to the people in Chernobyl at the time. They did this out of fear of being considered weak and incapable of managing the reactor. This continued exposure lead to the deaths of many more people. This is a good example of how acting out of fear and not reason and logic can have major consequences and, in some cases, can be life threatening. 

Acting out of fear is in our human nature. We are programmed to take the easiest route out in any given situation, however, a lack of logic and reasoning in these situations can prove to be detrimental in many ways, as shown in many historical examples. I think that understanding how acting out of fear isn’t always good is key for us to progress and make better decisions surrounding our future, our people and our planet.

Fear Inoculum written and performed by Maynard James Keenan

Fear Inoculum is the title track of the album of the same name, written and performed by the alt-metal band, Tool. The album, centered around the idea of becoming older and wiser, and more capable of independent thought, was released in March 2019. The song, Fear Inoculum, is centered around the journey of someone who has been able to overcome the fear of going against the radical and negative ideas presented by the major influencers in their society.

Fear is firstly presented in this song as a barrier that Maynard has had to overcome in order to achieve this higher state of independent thought. The first example of this barrier in the song is during the bridge. 

The deceiver says, he says

You belong to me

You don’t wanna breathe the light of the others

Fear the light

Fear the breath

Fear the others for eternity

But I hear them now inhale the clarity

Hear the venom, the venom in

What you say inoculated

Maynard’s lyrics describe how the leaders and influencers attempt to create ideas and opinions that will encourage the masses to believe them and discourage them from going against these ideas. Maynard then goes into how he is now able to see these influencers and their intentions – represented by the title ‘deceiver’  for what they truly are. It is suggested that these influencers tend to portray any way of thinking or ideas that contradict their own as negative and reinforce the idea that we should follow them as they are right and know what’s best for us. Later in the bridge, Maynard writes,

“But I hear them now inhale the clarity
Hear the venom, the venom in
What you say inoculated.”

These lines suggest to us that he has overcome the fear of going against these popularised and toxic ideas and has unlocked his potential for independent thought. He is able to see what these influencers truly want. 

The idea of this kind of fear and the barrier it creates is also present in smaller and less extreme social environments, for example two groups of friends at school. In my life, I have been part of many different friend groups. I have committed myself to these groups for long periods of time because I like the people in them and the relationships I have developed. However, there have been points where I have realised that I’m not being treated well or am not enjoying being around these people any more. The first thought that comes to mind is to simply walk away, however, there is an element of fear that creates a barrier for me. Instead of simply leaving, the fear of completely losing the valuable  relationships I formed at the beginning holds me back. 

The second example of fear presented as a barrier in the song is shown in the later parts of the song during the breakdown. 

Exorcise the spectacle

Exorcise the malady

Exorcise the disparate

Poison for eternity

Purge me and evacuate

The venom and the fear that binds me

In these lyrics, Maynard refers to the influencers and leaders discouraging the ideas of independent thought and action and forcibly removing any outliers from their population. Using words like ‘spectacle,’ ‘malady,’ and ‘disparate,’ refer to these outliers like a disease that people will potentially be attracted to and influenced by, destroying their perfect systems. Maynard calls for someone or something to help to purge him of his fear and attachment to this system so he is able to free himself from the ideas of these influencers that bind him. 

A real world example of this barrier is shown through the ideas presented by Donald Trump, the current president of the USA. Throughout his many speeches he makes promises to the people of the USA that he hasn’t or can’t deliver on. People are enchanted by these ideas and take his word for granted. They grow to believe that everything he says is true and correct. However, in some cases, Trump has come across as inherently racist, sexist and biggoted which should render him unfit to lead his nation. Because people have invested so much faith and trust in him, they find it difficult to go against the ideas he is presenting, despite recognising that they are wrong. They need help to cross the barrier of fear that stops them. 

The concept of fear is presented throughout the lyrics of, Fear Inoculum in the idea that fear creates a barrier for people when they try to go against the majority. This is important in today’s society because leaders who value blind acceptance and following is prominent and fear is the barrier that is stopping these people from making positive change with many contemporary political and social issues.

2.4 Writing Portfolio – “Being There”

It is spring. The broken and scattered remnants of the main street lie unmoving, splayed across the previously bustling road. The hollow remains of the now empty and decrepit shops sit still staring through their broken and darkened windows. The few lifeless, frost ridden trees still lining the road, left undisturbed by all but the biting wind and coming and going of the sun, sway and shudder, their twisted limbs reaching out for any scrap of precious sunlight.

Listen. The breeze, moving slowly and without reason through the skeletons of the ravaged skyscrapers, forms a discord choir of wails and groans resonating through the empty streets of the city. The smell of smoke hangs low in the air, choking the last of the concrete and rebar goliaths who once ruled this place. An American flag hangs unmoving from the side of an empty storefront, representative of what was once a beautiful and lively country, now a relic of an era gone by. It tries desperately to hold onto the dwindling shreds of its past, its reds and blues standing out from its monochrome and desolate surroundings. Cars in their hundreds litter the streets, most lost and abandoned by owners long gone, some home to the bare skeletal remains, the memories, of the people who used to live out their lives inside of this concrete jungle.

It is dawn. The sun watches over the bleached and war-ravaged sky, dissipating the darkness and shining through the cover of thick fog blanketing the city streets. The sounds of the receding darkness reverberate throughout the empty metropolis, bouncing around off the walls of the deserted superstructures. With no ozone layer left the sun and its rays, now a harbinger of death searches relentlessly for any signs of life but to no avail. Cold and damp, the tunnels under the city play host to a small number of lone survivors living their lives in hiding, fearful of the dangers above. Away from the harsh, white sunlight, amongst the thick inky blackness of the winding maze of the abandoned subway, a single light probes cautiously into the void accompanied by the heavy thud of a pair of boots. The dim light skips freely around on the moss-covered walls, eventually disappearing into the darkness ahead. Seemingly alone, the footsteps tread further, deeper, into the labyrinth.

Stare, paranoid into the gloom. There is no one else down here. The withering and decay of the subway walls show you that. The crumbling brick arch overhead and the rusted iron rails beneath your well-worn boots are barely visible by torchlight. Feel the cold, biting and clawing through the torn overcoat draped across your back, raising the hairs on your neck. The sound of your everpresent footfalls, echoing off the sides of the tunnel, calls for you to instinctively look over your shoulder and to keep on moving. You tread unwillingly into the unknown ahead for fear of what may be following behind. Feeling the tight grasp of the concrete tubes you call home, thoughts of the world above, grey, bleak and deserted cross your mind coming to rest on a pipe dream of meadows and rolling hills full of life and prosperity.

Frankenstein – an analysis

Victor Frankenstein – a gothic protagonist

Describe three key moments for Victor Frankenstein in the text. Explain why these moments were crucial to the development of his character. Support each moment with a quotation from the text.

Throughout the early stages of the novel, we are introduced to the idea of
Victor Frankenstein developing an obsession with the sciences, specifically in regards to the jurisdiction of life and death. Victor spends a considerable amount of time away from family and friends at university studying and consulting the professors there, eventually deciding to put his knowledge to use to create life. The first and one of the most significant defining moments of the story is when Victors creation, the Creature, wakes up and Victor is horrified with what he has done.
“How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form?”
This moment in the text is important because not only is it the introduction of the main antagonist in the story, that being the creature, but it is also a turning point for Victor. Up until the creation of the Creature, Victor was eager to learn and understand the ‘secrets of Heaven and Earth’ devoting all of his time and efforts into his study of the sciences. Upon the creation of the Creature, Victor is disgusted at what he has created. At this point he no longer cares about the sciences and instead ends up living in great fear of the Creature for a significant period of time.
“I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.”

Later in the text, several months after the creation of the Creature Victor receives a letter from his father informing him that his younger brother, has been murdered. Shocked, Victor returns to Geneva and goes to the site of his brother’s death, only to discover the Creature lurking in the foliage near the site. Despite this revelation, Victor’s family place the blame on Juliette, a member of Victors family, based on a single piece of inconclusive evidence, sentencing her to death. Despite knowing that he was responsible for the deaths of his younger brother and Juliette through the creation of the Creature, Victor chooses not to tell anyone about his creation for fear of the ridicule he will receive as a result.
“But I paused when I reflected on the story that I had to tell. A being whom I myself had formed, and endued with life, had met me at midnight among the precipices of an inaccessible mountain. … I well knew that if any other had communicated such a relation to me, I should have looked upon it as the ravings of insanity.”
“These reflections determined me, and I resolved to remain silent.”
This moment in the story is important and key in the development of Victors character because we are introduced to the idea that he is a coward for fear of being ridiculed for his creation of the Creature, despite there being people lives at stake.

Toward the end of the text, the Creature tries to talk Victor into creating another being like himself so that he doesn’t feel so alone, claiming that he and this new female creature will leave humanity alone, living their lives in isolation. After consideration, Victor agrees to the Creatures proposition and goes to make a new female creature for fear of the Creature wreaking more havoc through his attachments to humans and his desire for love and care.
“…feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control them; but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream.”
After months of procrastination, Victor is on the brink of finishing the creation of his new Creature. While finishing it’s construction in his isolated laboratory, Victor spies the Creature watching him. Seeing the Creature with a wide grin on his face staring at him intently, overcome with the guilt of the death of his family and the idea of another horrible Creature being brought into the world, Victor quickly begins to tear the new, unborn Creature to pieces on the table to the horror of the Creature looking at him through the window of his shack.
“As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the utmost extent of malice and treachery. I thought with a sensation of madness on my promise of creating another like to him, and trembling with passion, tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged.”
This is an important moment for Victor as it marks another significant turning point in Victors standpoint and feelings toward the Creature. Victor, fueled by his emotions and realizing he’s in a place of power he tears the unborn Creature apart. This is a direct contrast to his previously cowardly actions when it came to facing the Creature.

A God complex
A distressing event in their earlier life
A flaw in their moral compass
A moment of recognition or revelation
Explain what is meant by each of the statements above and identify how Victor Frankenstein displays these common traits. Use quotations from the text to support your answers.

God complex
A god complex is a state of mind that an individual can possess, believing themselves to be of a superior authority and state of being than other ‘ordinary’ people. In Victor Frankenstein’s case, he displays a god complex mindset throughout a significant part of the early stage of the story. From first discovering the texts written on alchemy by Cornelius Agrippa, moving into discussions with university lecturers about the science of life and death, Victor’s interest in life and death soon begins to manifest into the idea that he is superior than the people around him.
“One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge which I sought…”
“It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn…”
These quotes show how Victor, meddling with life and death, believes his research is bringing him closer to becoming all famous and powerful through the ability to control life and death.

A distressing event earlier in life
A distressing event earlier in life usually refers to an event, most likely in a persons childhood, that was distressing or traumatizing in a way that shapes the way a person acts or behaves or alters their motives and decision making later in life. In Victor Frankenstein’s case, during his childhood, his mother passed away due to scarlet fever. He had a significant attachment to his parents in his childhood as they were very caring and kind towards all of their children. Victor’s obsession with the ability to control life and death later in life may have been a result of his mothers death and an inability to let go and move on from her passing, despite it not necessarily being stated in the text.

A flaw in a persons moral compass
A moral compass is defined as a person’s ability to decide what is wrong and right in regards to consequences that could affect other people as individuals, a society, or the world as a whole. In Victor Frankenstein’s case, his moral compass is clouded by his obsession with the sciences and life and death in his pursuit of knowledge. In this state, Victor decides to create a Creature that is eight feet tall with disgusting facial features and a perfect body, not thinking about the potential outcome this could have for himself or the people around him after creating a monster with an unknown moral compass and potentially skewed ideas about the human race.

A moment of recognition or revelation
A moment or recognition or revelation for a person is usually a point in which a person rethinks a situation or idea, looking at it from a different point of view or mindset. Usually people are scared of things they don’t understand. In Victor’s case, when he created the Creature, he was immediately filled with regret as he was scared of it, unable to understand what he’d created. Toward the end of the story, Victor has a moment of revelation when he tears the second Creature apart, realizing he’s in a position of power over the Creature and using that to his advantage.

The Creature – a gothic antagonist

Explain how the creature learns about the world around him in the text. Support your answer with quotations from the text.

Upon it’s creation, the Creature exhibits a limited understanding of human concepts like language, expressing itself through grunts and actions rather than talking or using any form of articulate speech.
“His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear…”
The Creature is then sent to fend for itself as Victor is too disgusted and horrified by it to have any sympathy or care for it. Because of it’s limited understanding of the world around it throughout the initial stages of the story, the Creature must learn and adapt in order to survive. The first example of the Creature learning about it’s environment is when it finds a fire left by some beggars and proceeds to stick it’s hand into the embers. After being burnt by the coals the Creature cries out and removes it’s hand from the fire. “…I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain. How strange, I thought, that the same cause should produce such opposite effects!”
The Creature then proceeds to examine the fire and discovers it’s composed of wood. He then experiments through trial and error with different branches and foliage until he finds dry enough wood that he can burn and uses that to rekindle the fire. This shows us how the Creature acts similarly to a child, fueled by curiosity, experimenting with and observing the world in order to learn about and understand it’s fundamentals.

Describe the reaction that people often have to the Creature. How does this reaction seem unfair? Do the Creature’s intentions deserve the response he gets from people?

Throughout the story, the Creature comes across human being multiple times, only to be rejected or turned away, sometimes violently., despite it’s intentions being entirely compassionate and caring towards them. I believe that this reaction is understandable from the point of view of a human as people tend to fear things that they don’t understand and the Creature, being eight foot tall with disturbing facial features, is something they would most likely had never come across before. I do think that in regards to the Creature that the reaction it gets from people is unfair. It has been brought into a world with no harmful or destructive intent and simply wants to learn and understand the world around it, as well as feel the kind of compassion and love it shows for the people it comes across. The Creature doesn’t deserve the negative response it usually gets from people.

Describe three moments for the Creature that shape him into the vengeful monster he becomes. Explain how these moments would cause an individual to lose hope in humanity and turn against them. Use quotations from the text to support your answer.`

Throughout the text, the Creature has multiple defining moments which shape it into the vengeful creature it becomes toward the end of the story. The first of these moments is when Victor leaves the Creature right after it is brought to life. After creating the Creature, Victor is so disgusted and horrified by its appearance that he leaves it on its own in his laboratory, abandoning it. This leads to the Creature trying to find it’s own way in the world among people in human society. However, its attempts to interact with people always lead to rejection.
“…I entered, but I had hardly placed my foot within the door before the children shrieked, and one of the women fainted. The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me, until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons, I escaped to the open country and fearfully took refuge in a low hovel…”
If Victor had stayed and taught the Creature the ways of humanity and the workings of our society, then introducing the Creature to the outside world, maybe the Creature would have a better understanding of why the people rejected it and would have been able to cope with those ideas instead of being confused and fearful, eventually leading to his vengeful nature later in the story. As Master Yoda once said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

The second defining moment in the Creatures journey is when he is rejected by the cottagers he has been observing. After his rejection at the village, the Creature continues on walking, trying to find some form of shelter. He comes across a low hovel next to a small cottage in which an old blind man and his son and daughter live. After observing these people for a long period of time and becoming somewhat attached to them, the Creature attempts to talk to the blind father believing that he will not judge him based on his appearance and will be able to convince the other three cottagers that he is in fact gentle and harmless, contrary to his appearance. However their interaction is interrupted when Safie and the son and daughter return to the cottage, seeing the monster and chasing it away.
“Agatha fainted, and Safie, unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage.”
“…overcome by pain and anguish, I quitted the cottage, and in the general tumult escaped unperceived to my hovel.”
This is a defining moment in the Creatures development because, unlike any of the other humans it had come across before, the Creature had developed an attachment and an understanding toward the cottagers and believed that it could convince them to see past its horrific appearance. It realizes after being chased away that anyone it comes across will always judge it based on it’s appearance instead of giving it the chance to convince them of it’s gentle and kind nature.

The third defining moment in the Creatures story is when it goes to save a young girl from drowning in a river. Upon being rejected by the cottagers, the Creature moves on, heading southwest to try and reach Geneva. After days of traveling by night for fear of being spotted, it comes to the bank of a fast flowing river and, upon hearing voices, hides himself in the forest next to the water. It sees a small girl running along the precarious bank on the edge of the water. Losing her footing she slips in and the Creature jumps into the water in attempts to save her. It drags her out of the water and attempts to bring her back to life when it is approached by the girls guardian. Upon seeing the Creature the man takes the girl from it’s arms and runs into the forest. Deciding to follow them, the Creature is shot and wounded by the man.
“I rushed from my hiding-place and with extreme labour, from the force of the current, saved her and dragged her to shore.”
“…he darted towards me, and tearing the girl from my arms, hastened towards the deeper parts of the wood. I followed speedily, I hardly knew why; but when the man saw me draw near, he aimed a gun, which he carried, at my body and fired.”
To the Creature, this is a defining moment because it now believes that no matter how benevolent and gentle and kind it comes across as, it will always be rejected, even after saving the life of a child.
“This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone.”
This results in the Creature becoming vengeful and developing a hatred towards Victor Frankenstein with his sole intention being to make Victor’s life completely miserable, similar to it’s own.

Minor characters

Robert Walton
Robert Walton is a character introduced to us in the early stages of, ‘Frankenstein,’ through a series of letters. From these letters we get an understanding that Robert Walton is an ambitious scientist and pioneer, set on sailing to new and previously undiscovered lands in the name of science and his own fame and fortune. He possesses an attitude similar to that of Victor Frankenstein, having devoted all of his time and efforts into his ideas and daydreams and his pursuit of these discoveries despite the potential risks.
“Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid.”
“One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought…
Robert Walton’s purpose in the story is to put Victor Frankenstein’s character and situation into perspective. Robert has a similar mindset to Victor in the sense that he is incredibly ambitious and will do mostly anything to achieve his goals, as well as being in a situation like that of Victor during the start of the book. This helps us get a better understanding of Victor Frankenstein’s journey as a whole.

Henry Clerval
Henry Clerval is in

1.4 – Creative Writing – “Now and Then”

The Stage

Walking on stage for the first time was like stepping into a dream. The confines of the backstage with it’s familiar smell of cigarette smoke and abundance of empty beer bottles was left behind in a matter of seconds along with any feelings of security and serenity I had left. I remember clutching my brand new Fender guitar, my weapon of choice, with my sweaty, shaking hands, listening to the hysterical cries of the emassed crowd calling my name. I had no time to think, no time to question my actions before the fierce concoction of adrenaline and fear drove my legs, moving me towards the stage. I recall looking back as the door, my only escape, closed behind me and realising that I was totally and completely alone.

The crowd screamed. I strode into the seething mass of colourful snake-like cables and leads, taking each step with caution as not to trip and be engulfed by the slithering creatures beneath me. The brilliant array of colourful flashing lights pinned to the great overhanging roof, all trained on me, only made this more difficult as I moved toward the microphone which was drowned beneath the glare of the spotlight. At that time, the only thought going through my head was the anticipation of the events to come and the fear of what might go wrong. But I pushed past those thoughts and crouched down to grab the lead that would connect my guitar to the amplifiers. I remember the sound of the enormous stacked amps behind me, lining every visible inch of the walls, as I plugged the lead in. The feedback was awesome and the feeling of fear that had taken over me before was gone. I felt confident as the shouts of the frenzied crowd got even louder.

But their relentless buzz was drowned out by the heavily distorted roar of the instrument in my hands and the speakers behind me, acting in unison. The sound was bone rattling and shook the solid wooden frame of the  raised podium beneath me. That noise, that beautiful but violent noise filled me with adrenaline as my hands frantically moved up and down the neck of the guitar. I watched as the heads of the mob below me moved in time with the music like some great machine of which I was the pilot. 

But that time is long gone. Taking the first step on stage is now more like a recurring nightmare then a dream. I cherish the time I spend backstage away from the persistent deluge of noise produced by the ever present, ever hungry crowd, looking for a taste of my tired melodies. Putting down the cigarettes and picking up my old, faded guitar is something I dread, not for fear of failure, but the reluctance to walk through that door and play the same songs time and time again. There’s no rest. No time to stop and think. It’s the same thing, again and again and again. 

Making my over to the microphone now is automatic. I no longer fear the cables and leads covering the ground; I know they’re just objects and I wouldn’t care if they swallowed me up, deep beneath the ground away from this constant repetitive hell I push myself into. But they never do. I drag my feet and try to smile at the horde of people in front of me as I carry out the routine task of picking up the lead and plugging it into my guitar. As soon as the amplifiers come online I start to feel disconnected from myself in a way that’s hard to describe. It’s like one of those near death experiences you read about where a person sees themself lying on their deathbed from another place in the room. Looking down on myself, I know that it’s just an empty shell strumming that guitar; the feelings of excitement and the adrenaline rush gone with my consciousness. 

Yet the crowd still comes, time and time again. They still scream when I  saunter onto that stage and move their heads in time with the music. But the stage has lost all that drew me to it with those dazzling lights and the wonderful sounds of the heavy guitar. The familiarity of those sights and sounds reminds me of a better time when I could enjoy those things, forgotten like a dream. 

1.8 Significant connections

Being alone is not always a fun experience. For some people, short periods of total separation from other people help them to relax, clear their heads, help them focus better, among other benefits. But what if you take that separation and turn it into total and complete isolation, throwing a person into a hostile environment and leaving them oceans, if not planets, away from the nearest human being. The calming and relaxing effects of temporarily disengaging with the world, turn into feelings of despair and loneliness, leaving a person depressed and unmotivated. “Cast Away,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, “Touching the Void,” by Joe Simpson, “The Martian,” by Andy Weir and “Into Thin Air,” by Jon Krakauer are all texts that heavily revolve around the idea of isolation and the effects of isolation on the individual.

1st text
The first text that clearly shows the connection, “The effects of isolation on the individual,” is, “Cast Away,” directed by Robert Zemeckis. Cast Away is a film that tells the story of Chuck Noland, a Fed Ex employee, who, after his plane crashes over the Pacific ocean, is abandoned alone on an island and presumed dead by the rest of the world for over 4 years.
The first example of, “The effects of isolation on the individual,” is shown during the section of the film in which Chuck starts talking to Wilson – a volleyball with Chucks bloody handprint crudely plastered on the front – as he is desperate for human connection after being alone for so long. During his first few weeks alone on the island, Chuck tries multiple times to create fire. On one of his many failed attempts, the stick Chuck is using snaps and stabs into his hand and starts bleeding. Out of frustration and anger, Chuck picks up a volleyball that washed up on the island and throws it into the forest. After recovering from his injury, Chuck finds the volleyball with the handprint on the front which, in some way, resembles a face. Desperate for someone to talk to, Chuck begins speaking to this volleyball, which he calls Wilson, verbalising his thoughts aloud:
“So… Wilson .We were en route from Memphis for 11 and a half hours. About 475 miles an hour.”
“Do you have to keep bringing that up? Can’t you just forget it? Huh? You were right. You were right.”
These quotes show how, in his desperation, Chuck resorts to talking to an inanimate object that slightly resembles another person as he needs human connection to feel he is not alone in his situation. This shows us that Chuck is very dependant on human connection to be able to maintain his sanity and will to live. The effects of isolation in this case are shown as, if Chuck didn’t have anyone to talk to on the island, he would become easily depressed and unmotivated to do anything, soaking in the reality of his situation until his eventual death alone on the island.
These effects of isolation are shown again near the end of the film when Chuck is aboard his raft, trying to make it back to civilisation. During his journey back to society aboard his raft, Chuck encounters a storm which sets Wilson afloat in the ocean. Chuck attempts to recover Wilson, but to no avail and climbs back on his raft, totally alone. After a while, Chuck lays his oars down in the ocean, as he sees no hope of making it back to civilisation alive. This shows the reader that when in an isolated situation, it is in human nature to become totally dependant on human connection and without it, an individual will become depressed, unmotivated and feel they don’t have a purpose, with their only apparent salvation being death.
“The effects of isolation on the individual,” is again shown later in the film when a portaloo washes up on the shore of the island. After four years of being totally alone on the island with no connection to society, Chuck wakes up in the morning to find the remains of half of a portaloo washed up on the shore of his island. He examines it and recognises the text on the side of the portaloo reading, “Bakersfield.” Overjoyed at the sudden appearance of a piece of society after being totally alone for four years, Chuck becomes motivated to find a way back to civilisation under his own power, rather than waiting for a rescue that may never happen. 
” Bakersfield? Bakersfield! This could work.”
“And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And then one day that logic was proven all wrong, because the tide came in, gave me a sail [the portaloo]. And now, here I am. I’m back…”
These quotes show how, despite being in a situation where he has almost no hope of making it back to society alive and the most likely outcome of his situation being death alone on the island, the smallest remnants of a piece of something he recognises from his life before the island presenting itself was enough to motivate Chuck to make it back to society. This shows how in an isolated situation, it is a part of human nature to latch on to any small amount of hope we are presented with and become motivated and hopeful that we will be able to get out of that situation and see people again. 
This effect of isolation is again shown through the use of symbolism in the form of a Fed Ex package, washed up on the shore of the island. During his first few days on the island, Chuck wanders around the beaches collecting washed up items and packages that have been lost in the plane crash. Chuck proceeds to open these packages, except for one with wings painted on the front. Chuck keeps the package closed in hope of one day making it back to society and being able to deliver it back to its sender. In Chuck’s situation, the package and the wings splayed on the front symbolise his hope in that, one day, he may eventually make it back to society and deliver the package. Despite the package being a small and insignificant part of his survival, the connection that it holds to the world outside and his life before the island are enough to give Chuck hope of one day making it back to civilisation. Again, this shows the viewer that human nature is to take whatever hope we have and allow it to manifest into motivation to keep on going, no matter how bad the situation seems. 

2nd text
The second text that shows, “The effects of isolation on the individual,” is, “Touching the Void,” a non-fiction story written by Joe Simpson, that revolves around the experiences of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates when climbing Siula Grande, a mountain in the Peruvian Andes.
The first example of, “The effects of isolation on the individual,” that is presented to the reader during the text is shown after Joe has been abandoned by Simon and is trying to make it back to camp, hearing a voice that encourages him to keep doing whatever he can to survive and make it back to Simon and Richard despite being dehydrated, totally exhausted and his leg being completely crippled. 
After being left by Simon, crippled and with almost no hope of making it back to Simon and Richard alive, Joe begins to crawl, hop and use any other means of movement to try and make it back down the treacherous terrain making up the mountain of Siula Grande. After venturing for a few days down the mountain, Joe’s pace begins to slow and his motivation becomes almost nonexistent, with his main goal of reaching camp being completely abolished in favour of lying down and quietly dying in the snow. With his hope nearly gone and his physical state rendering him almost unable to keep moving, Joe stops and falls into the snow without any intention of getting back up again. This is until a voice,  most likely a product of his subconscious, begins speaking to him and encouraging him to keep moving. 
“I awoke with a start. ‘‘Get moving… don’t lie there… stop dozing… move!’ I set off crawling.”
‘Come on, wake up! Things to be done… long way to go… don’t sleep… come on’ I sat up and stared at the dark river of rock flowing away from me.”
These quotes show that despite the odds being greatly stacked against him and the fact that he just wants to give up and die, Joe is able to keep moving, focusing on the small amount of hope that he will make it back to Simon and Richard instead of the small chance he has of surmounting the obstacles presented to him. 
Like in Cast Away, this shows us that it is in human nature to cling to any small amount of hope presented to us in order to keep moving and not to set aside the idea of finding other people again. In both Cast Away and Touching the Void, the main characters are in situations in which there is little hope or motivation to keep going in order to find other people again but are presented with hope, in Cast Away it’s the portaloo and in Touching the Void it’s the voice, that encourage them to keep going despite being in situations where there is little to no chance of getting out of.
This section of the text and the quotes used throughout it also show that Joe, without the encouragement of the voice, would have died in the snow as he’d completely given up hope and wouldn’t have had any motivation to make it back to camp. After being left alone by Simon, totally crippled, exhausted and dehydrated, Joe keeps moving and trying to make his way back to Simon and Richard at camp as there is a slight chance that he may actually make it back alive. Eventually, Joe starts to give up hope almost entirely and lays down in the snow to die as he sees no possibility of him making it far enough to get back to camp alive. This is until the voice begins speaking to him and gives him the motivation and encouragement to keep moving. However, without the voice, Joe wouldn’t have picked himself up and kept going. His only reason for trying to survive was the fact that he was being encouraged by another voice other than his own. If the voice wasn’t there to motivate him, Joe would have most likely died alone on the side of the mountain.  This effect of isolation is also shown during Cast Away when Chuck drops his oars after losing Wilson as Wilson is the only human connection he has to motivate him and encourage him to keep going. This shows us that without human connection and encouragement from other people, our motivation for staying alive is almost completely abolished. In isolated situations we become reliant on other people to motivate us and keep us willing to stay alive.

3rd text
The third text that  shows, “The effects of isolation on the individual,” is, “The Martian,” written by Andy Weir. The Martian is the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut abandoned alone on Mars by his crew after he is believed to be dead. 
The first and most significant example of “The effects of isolation on the individual,” shown all throughout the text, is the fact that Mark Watney is keeping logs, writing down his day to day experiences on Mars as he needs human connection to feel like he isn’t totally isolated. 
After being skewered by the communications array dish during a sandstorm, being abandoned by his crew and left totally alone on Mars, believed to be dead and with no means of human contact, Mark Watney makes his way back to the storm beaten base of operations formerly inhabited by himself and the rest of his team. Upon reaching the hab and patching his wounds, Mark begins to write a log, explaining his situation and recounting the traumatic events that occurred the day before.
“I don’t even know who’ll read this. I guess someone will find it eventually. Maybe a hundred years from now.”
“I was really hoping I’d wake up to a functional lander, but no such luck. It’s high gain antenna is right where I last saw it. Why does that matter? Well I’ll tell ya…”
These quotes show how despite recognising he is totally alone and it is likely that nobody will ever read the logs he is writing, Mark continues to do so as he needs a way to vent his thoughts, similarly to the way he would if there was another person stuck on Mars with him. This shows us that Mark, being cut of entirely from the rest of humanity, is seeking human connection through writing his logs, in order to feel like he is not alone and to maintain his sanity and will to live. 
This connection is also show during both, “Cast Away,” and, “Touching the Void,” when Chuck begins talking to Wilson as he needs human connection, and Joe’s subconscious beginning to speak to him and motivating him to keep moving. This shows the reader that it is in human nature to require human connection to maintain our sanity and our will to live in isolated situations, and without it, we will become depressed and unwilling to do anything in order to ensure our survival and return to civilisation.

“The effects of isolation on the individual,” is shown to the reader again during the section of the text in which Mark makes contact with humanity and is trying to devise a new plan to survive long enough to be able to make it back to Earth. 
After spending a couple of weeks alone on Mars with no human contact, Mark begins to starts trying to devise plans that will allow him to create enough water and food until the next Mars mission – Ares 4 – arrives and is able to take him back to Earth. 
“I need to create calories. And I need enough to last me the 1387 sols until Ares 4 arrives.”
“I have an idiotically dangerous plan for getting the water I need. And boy, do I mean
These quotes show the reader that, despite his plans being very dangerous and having little chance of succeeding, Mark is taking them on board and is not willing to give up while there is the possibility that he will survive. This shows us that Mark is taking the small amount of hope he has in his plans working and him being able to survive until his rescue by Ares 4, and turning that into the motivation he needs in order to keep going.  This shows that it is in human nature to go to any means possible in order to survive if there is even a slight glimmer of hope that that they will come into contact with people again, no matter how much the odds are stacked against them. This connection is also shown in, “Cast Away,” and in “Touching the Void,” when Chuck finds the sail washed up on the beach and it gives him inspiration and motivation to try and make it back to society, and when Joe is encouraged by the voice and is able to keep going despite being crippled, dehydrated and exhausted.

4th text
The fourth and final text that shows, “The effects of isolation on the individual,” is, “Into Thin Air,” written by Jon Krakauer. “Into Thin Air,” is a non-fiction recount of the 1996 Everest disaster in which eight people tragically died in one day on the slopes of Mount Everest. 
The first example of, “The effects of isolation on the individual,” is shown during the section of the text when Beck Weathers, a climber on the same expedition as Jon, walks back into camp after being left for dead on the side of the mountain.

After making it back to camp four on the descent from the summit of Everest, Stuart Hutchinson, another member of the Adventure Consultants expedition, organized a search party comprised of himself and four sherpas in an attempt to locate the bodies of Beck Weathers and Yasuko Namba, two of the climbers also on the expedition who had been left alone on the mountain while trying to make it back to camp. Hutchinson had discovered both Beck and Yasuko lying partially buried in the snow, both near death. After leaving them for the belief that there was no chance that neither of them was going to make it off the mountain alive, Hutchinson and the Sherpas made their way back to camp four. The next day, Todd Burleson, another climber at camp four at the time, noticed Beck walking into camp.
“I tried to get him to sit up but he couldn’t. He was as close to death as a person can be.”
“As the mummy lurched into camp, Burleson realized it was none other than Beck Weathers, somehow risen from the dead.”
“Finally I woke up enough to realize that I was in deep shit and that the cavalry wasn’t coming so I better do something about it myself.”
These quotes show us how, despite being left for dead in the worst conditions possible, Beck, recognizing that there was no help coming to him, was able to make it back to camp under his own power. The realization that he was totally alone and the sheer willpower as a result of that recognition we enough to allow him to make it back to the other climbers on the mountain at the time, despite being severely frostbitten and unable to move the night before.
We see situations similar to Beck’s in both, “Touching the Void,” and “The Martian,” when Joe Simpson is left for dead by Simon, crippled and totally alone but ends up making it back to camp, and when Mark Watney is skewered by the communications array but is able to successfully make his way back to the hab and patch himself up.
This shows us that these men, despite being in situations where there is little to no hope of surviving due to their severe injuries and dire situations, are able to make it back to a safe environment under their own steam as they have been able to muster up their willpower realising that they are totally alone and that there is no help coming to them.
This shows that it is in human nature to be able to gather enough strength to keep moving after recognizing that there is no way they’re going to survive unless they do something about it themselves, despite being in situations where there is little to no chance of this actually succeeding.

“Cast Away,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, “Touching the Void,” by Joe Simpson, “The Martian,” by Andy Weir and “Into Thin Air,” by Jon Krakauer are all texts in which the characters were unwillingly thrown, totally alone, into a hostile environment and were faced with the effects of complete isolation. The creators of the texts focused on the idea that, when faced with the reality of their situations, the characters became unwilling to try and make it back to other people alive, however, each of these individuals found some form of hope that motivated them enough to keep moving, despite their physical and mental conditions being detrimental to their chances of survival. From these ideas, we can see that, in a time of isolation, it is not the willingness to survive that keeps us going but the possibility of seeing other people again that will motivate and keep us going. We learn that, as human beings, human connection is vital to our lives and our wellbeing especially in an isolated situation and is enough to ensure our survival.