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This essay argues that the main theme of T Coraghessan Boyle s ...... More...
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This essay argues that the main theme of T. Coraghessan Boyle’s short story “Chicxulub,”-- which provides parallel stories about the death of a child and a civilization-ending meteor, is to get meaning out of life by appreciating the moments with loved ones.
Chicxulub Introduction There are few scenarios worse imagining in life than those offeredby T Coraghessan Boyle in his New Yorker short story Chicxulub Thetitle refers to the first scenario as it is the name given to the giantasteroid that struck the earth millions of years ago and caused theextinction of the dinosaurs In Chicxulub a civilization-threateningmeteor hitting the earth is one unimaginable scenario offered The secondscenario relates to Ted and Maureen Biehn who get a phone call late atnight telling them their
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We are powerless. When shedoes, they collapse in joy as they realized "This is not our daughter"(Boyle 83). In the face of considering civilization-threateningmeteors and the death of his daughter, Ted Biehn comes to realize meaningdoes exist in the world. Hit by afemale real-estate agent who "loses control of her vehicle," Ted andMaureen receive a call that all parents dread (Boyle 78). Boyle usesparallel stories, symbolism, allusion, epiphany and other literarytechniques to reinforce his central theme that what is most important inlife and what most adds meaning to life is appreciating those we love andthose around us we often take for granted.Work CitedBoyle, T. "Chicxulub." The New Yorker. The joy of the Biehns' soon turns to quiet appreciate as theyrealize that another young girl, Kristi Cherwin, is dead and her parentswill soon get the same dreadful call they received. Boyle uses tensions and suspensein this scene to convey the ultimately relief the Biehns' feel when theyrealize the truth. In comparing the death of civilization to the death of a child,Boyle is able to demonstrate the horrors of human vulnerability in the faceof an often cold and uncaring universe. What bothers Ted most about Chicxulub is not itsimpact on the Earth but its implication that it represents "the deeperimplication that we, and all our works and worries and attachments, are soutterly inconsequential" (Boyle 81). We are bereft. And thegods...are nothing but a rumor" (Boyle 83). 75882 Chicxulub Introduction There are few scenarios worse imagining in life than those offeredby T. While he lingers in this state of unknowing, he imagines the huge"punch" the Earth took from Chicxulub and might if another meteor collideswith Earth. After imagining the impact on human civilization if amajor meteor strikes the Earth, Ted laments, "So what does it matter? 1 March 2 4, 78- 83. Not for me" (Boyle 83). The painful process of havingto identify their daughter's corpse befalls the Biehns. No sun" (Boyle 79). Flashing back atthis point, Boyle is showing the comparison between the threat of losingall of life and the threat of losing the life of one's dearest possession,a child. Because of this, he now appreciates each moment of lifedeeply for the things he does have - a loving family, friends, and humancivilization. Coraghessan. Both the meteor and the accident make Tedrealize this. Body Ted Biehn narrates "Chicxulub," explaining the asteroid that hit theearth millions of years ago, causing a "detonation" equal to the"combustive power of eight hundred Hiroshima bombs" (Boyle 78). As he stands overthe sheeted body on a gurney, Ted becomes frozen as he remembers all thelovely little idiosyncrasies that make his daughter Madeleine "Maddy."Maureen must rip the sheet off the body, something Ted cannot do. At thesame time, he provides an account of his 17-year-old daughter who is forcedto walk in the rain because her car is in the shop for repairs. As they feverishly drive in therain, Ted imagines the biggest asteroid to ever hit the Earth, the"Chicxulub" (Boyle 8 ). This moment of epiphany makesTed realize life is meaningful for human beings, despite our vulnerabilityin the face of a harsh and uncaring universe. Whatdoes anything matter? Waiting for the news of theirdaughter's condition is likened to waiting in "purgatory" by Ted (Boyle82). The Biehns understandthat life is precious and few things matter when one is faced with losingthose one most cares about. Using allusions to Christian doctrine and ideology ties in toBoyle having Ted contemplate the end of the world, an Armageddon for humancivilization Before he learns of his daughter's condition, Ted has a crisis offaith and meaning. No forage. As Maureen answers the telephone, Ted flashes back to the Tunguskaexplosion, which "stifled all plant growth for a period of a year or more.There will be no crops. This techniqueof using parallel stories helps Boyle underscore the importance of histheme. Their relief is the relief that, despite the lack of meaningTed referred to, some things in life equate to the precious moments andpeople that do add meaning to our lives. In "Chicxulub," a civilization-threateningmeteor hitting the earth is one unimaginable scenario offered. The secondscenario relates to Ted and Maureen Biehn, who get a phone call late atnight telling them their beloved daughter is in the hospital because of acar wreck. As he says at the end of the story, "The rock is coming, thenew Chicxulub, hurtling through the dark and the cold to remake our fate.But not tonight. Ted's fear of a meteor hitting the earth is paralleled with hisfear of the phone call that might represent the loss of his daughter. Conclusion In sum, "Chicxulub" is meant to convey the random and harsh natureof human existence. Hearing their daughter is in the hospital, the victim of a caraccident, the Biehns rush to the hospital. These parallel scenarios offered by Boyle illustrate that whatis most important in life and what most adds meaning to life isappreciating those we love and those around us we often take for granted. Coraghessan Boyle in his New Yorker short story, "Chicxulub." Thetitle refers to the first scenario, as it is the name given to the giantasteroid that struck the earth millions of years ago and caused theextinction of the dinosaurs. This meaning comes from those family members,friends, and others who we cherish or rely on for existence. He knows at any moment he could lose the things mostprecious to him. Byusing "death" imagery, this literary technique enables Boyle to compare thedeath of human civilization with the possible death of the Biehns'daughter.
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