Monday, August 12, 2013

Something Strange & Deadly Book Club: Week Two

Hello again and welcome to week two of the Something Strange & Deadly book club sponsored by Epic Reads. If you missed my post for last week's question on this outstanding debut by Susan Dennard, click here or if you want to see what the book club is all about and how it works, click here.

This week's question: Magic and ghostly elements frequent the Something Strange and Deadly series. Even though corpses do awaken from time to time and hauntings are hardly that uncommon, the people of Philadelphia seem determined to pretend the Dead are not a growing threat. Do you think that's a part of human nature? To push on and ignore the danger at our door? Or do you think Philadelphia's ignorance - or for that matter, any ignorance/false sense of safety in modern days as well - can be pinned on politicians? Can you think of any examples where something similar happened, but rather than the Dead, it was a natural disaster/growing crime rate/etc.?

This question is a deep one with the potential to be incredibly explosive, so I am going to tread cautiously. When examining if something is a part of human nature, one has to remember that there are over 6 billion humans alive on this planet at present. Then one also must take into account all the humans of the past, the situations they faced, and how they responded. In this case of Philadelphia's ignorance, I think it showcases how people jump to extremes. As we see the situation through Eleanor's eyes, it appears that most people cling to one extreme and the idea of normalcy. Then when readers meet the Spirit Hunters, they see the other extreme: people who not only acknowledge the Dead as a threat, but have devoted themselves to putting an end to this growing danger.

The cause of ignorance must also be considered. Is it that people aren't being informed so of course how could the possibly know how much danger they are in; or is it that they know and choose to blatantly disregard the truth? The answer to this affects what examples may be drawn up for the second question posed. In everyday life, people believe what they want, picking pieces of the truth that best support their argument. Go to this school because of the accolades it has received. Don't vote for that person because this one situation that happened. The people of Philadelphia - for whatever reasons, be them the result of personal experiences or propaganda - know that there are Spirit Hunters exist and are other people fighting, so they have made that small truth enough despite the fact that the Dead are a growing threat. This truth reinforces their hope for normalcy. They are being told the situation is being handled and aren't being informed of the full truth: that the Spirit Hunters need more help and resources. (After all, how can they help is needed? Though admittedly, it's pretty clear to anyone who can open their eyes in Philadelphia that there was trouble and it was only getting worse.) People cling to the good things to keep the bad at bay, both in fiction and in reality.

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