What do we learn about the state of the country from the opening chapters of the novel Brother in the land? Essay
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In this essay the opening chapters of the novel ‘Brother in the land’ will be analysed and decided how we learn about the state of the country from the text.
In the opening chapter of the novel ‘Brother in the land’ it gives you a clear picture of just how much the country has been destroyed, ‘Whole towns and city-centres vaporized instantly; while tarmac, trees and houses thirty miles from the explosions burst into flames.’ This is all in a matter of seconds.
Not only have the missiles destroyed land but also houses are ‘disintegrated and vanished.’ Fireballs ‘melted and devoured’ everything, leaving the city as a ‘landscape of poisonous desolation.’
Mingled in the mass destruction were bodies, ‘in the ditch, on the verge and on the road itself.’ So not only had the nuclear bomb scarred the landscape but also the people who live in the towns. The bomb has killed off thousands of people. In addition to this, when Danny lay in the cellar he couldn’t stop thinking about Kim. ‘It was crazy. I mean, I’d known girls I’d liked before, but not so they kept me awake.’ He was so attracted to Kim because there wasn’t that much choice in any others girls, there were very few female survivors who were Danny’s age. This is because the nuclear bomb killed lots of people.
After the bomb, the survivors had expected that the soldiers would come and take control, but they didn’t. A lot of people went mad. Not raving mad, but wandering ‘aimlessly around in the ruins’, muttering; or just sitting still, staring at the ground. This is what the bomb has leaded to, people losing all hope and shutting down because they couldn’t take it anymore.
The soldiers who came down to Skipley collected all of the injured to ‘treat’ them back at Kershaw Farm but in fact they shot them. The survivors even thought that old people or children would be next. ‘And after that, somebody else and somebody else, till it comes down to us. Us or them.’ This is what the nuclear bomb has leaded to, humans killing each other for survival. Not sharing any of his or her food or shelter with anyone. In addition to this, the survivors would even steal somebody’s precessions at any chance they get. Danny and his father have to take regular night shifts to guard the food.
Mankind is very strong minded, so if something injustice happened, such as you being tricked into handing your relatives and friends to their death, you would expect them to revolt or a mass-attack. This is what Danny thought but it never happened. ‘All that happened was a lot of shouting and crying’, again this is what the nuclear bomb had lead to. Humans have lost hope, as they have nothing left and nothing to live for.
Most of the survivors have even resorted to violence and stealing. When Danny went to the well he carried a club and when he arrived at the well, someone had stolen the bucket. The first time Danny met Kim she was running from two men who were after her bag of food, two grown men taking from a young girl. This is what the nuclear bomb has leaded to; they all look after their selves because the attack has left them with nothing.
Of course food would eventually run low, but surely you would try and feed as many people until then? Danny heard two men and a women talking, they discussed that it was ‘obvious’ that the soldiers were bring the injured up into Kershaw Farm, ‘it’s like the Nazis with their gas vans’. Yet they still did not try anything to stop the procedure, their reasoning was that survivors were covered in burns and would die anyway, its ‘bad enough finding grub for too.’ The nuclear bomb has got you so you will send your own relatives off to die, thinking, ‘sooner them than us.’
In conclusion, from the opening chapters of the novel ‘Brother in the land’ was have learned that the state of the country is terrible. Houses, buildings and town centres destroyed, the majority of the population killed, survivors shutting down because they cannot take the pain any longer, people killing each other to be superior to the rest, stealing, people sending their own family and friends to die, and people have lost hope.