Wretchedness overrides all human principles.
In this essay I will to show how wretchedness and greed override all principles taught to a person in the novel “Brother in the land” written by Robert Swindells.
This will be done by, first, analysing the word wretchedness and then looking at certain sections of the novel.
A wretch man, what does it mean? The dictionary’s definition is the following:
Wretch: Contemptible, mean person. A wretched person is someone who doesn’t care anything about anyone except himself. In the novel, the commissioner is exactly that kind of person. In fact, most of the soldiers from Kershaw Farm are like this, even Rhodes, Danny’s P.E teacher, acted that way. As I stated previously, wretchedness overrides all human principles. Since after the bombs fell, no one was able to stand up before the soldiers, wretchedness had overruled everyone. Before the fallout there were saner, than wretched people.
The decay of values is a very important factor. This happens mainly due to the “mutation” mankind has suffered. This lead to a lot of discrimination from everyone’s behalf. The reason it is referred to as a mutation is because the population of Skipley has divided into different species (Goths, Purples, Badgers, Spacers, Defectors, etc.).
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Mankind’s mutation was not a physical mutation, at least not at first; it was simply that the population divided into the different groups. Each group was very different from each other. The Goths were the people that killed people just to take their food, such as Charley. The Purples were cannibals who captured, killed and ate people to survive. The Badgers were the ones who had underground shelters and always stayed below ground. The Spacers had nowhere to go; they walked around the ruins absorbing radioactivity until they died. The Defectors were people that had escaped from the village up at Kershaw Farm and wanted to join MASADA. The Insane were the soldiers from Kershaw Farm who wanted everything for themselves (Mainly the Commissioner).
Live preservation decay is also a very important factor. This is mostly shown by the actions taken y the soldiers at Kershaw Farm. The first great hit they make against the town is when they come around for the first time in their trucks saying that they are to supposedly pick up all the sick or wounded and take to a hospital back at Kershaw Farm. Instead of caring for them and nursing them, they line them up and kill them one by one just so they do not to have to bear with them. The second atrocity is made when they finally set up the food tents at a nearby camp. Everyone goes there because they have no other choice, either they died of hunger or they take their chances with the soldiers at the park. Most of the people went. There, they were divided into different queues. It turned up that one of the queues was serving poisoned food, which didn’t react immediately. Later that day most of the people died due to the food. People kept going to the food tents because, as I’ve stated before, they had no other choice. The last great threat they were able to make against the population was when they contaminated the well. The well was the only available place to get pure water outside Kershaw farm. Without this, the survivors could only last a few months. The reason why they were killing all the sick, wounded, and weak was because they were going to need only the healthy people to cultivate crops in Kershaw Farm. The soldiers wanted to have a sort of communist system, which meant that everyone would have the same. The problem was that it wasn’t true; the soldiers would relax while everyone else worked like slaves only for a small amount of food and a roof to sleep under.
Most wretchedness came from the people at Kershaw Farm but also a lot came from Rhodes, Danny’s P.E teacher; this is part of the mutation humanity suffered. The discrimination was now towards the sick instead of the poor. Rhodes himself thinks that it is a waste effort, time and supplies to keep receiving the sick and wounded at Brandwell’s house (MASADA Headquarters). “Don’t dole it out to all and sundry! (the water) Save it for us, we need to keep our strength up.” And continues later on (Danny speaking) “A lot of defectors (people who escaped from Kershaw Farm) were sick, and Rhodes and some others thought we shouldn’t take them. They were a drain to our resources and contributed nothing to our cause.”
There were still people, apart from Danny, who were still sane enough to do the right thing; such as Brandwell, who gave shelter and food to anyone who came in need of them. He knew that the second they turned people down when they came; they would be just like the soldiers up at Kershaw Farm. Even Danny’s father was a bit greedy. He did not want to give food to the needed, he just gave a small amount the first day and that was it. Another sane person was Booth. He knew the difference between good and bad thus letting Danny live instead of shooting him, as the commissioner had ordered.
In consequence of the commissioner’s actions, many suffered and a lot died. If he had only been a kinder person like Brandwell, most of the killings and death in the novel wouldn’t have happened. The commissioner could’ve done some simple things to prevent the death of hundreds. First of all, he should he stuck to the rules and set up a hospital and feeding centre. The feeding centre would have prevented the death of all the spacers because they didn’t have to go around looking for food absorbing radiation. And obviously, the hospital would have saved most of the injured people. More important thing he had to do was to act quickly so that the number of people of people who were to die could be as low as possible.
In conclusion I can say that wretchedness and greediness, under severe pressure and despair, can turn any normal being into a miserable person who cares for himself. He becomes a self-centred person who will stop at nothing to have whatever is necessary for him to live. In my opinion, the novel “Brother in the land” is and excellent book who tells nothing but the truth. If a nuclear holocaust ever take place, the world leaders, or at least the most powerful survivors, would take control f everything and force everyone to do as they ordered. I hope that I do not have to live through a nuclear holocaust because, from what I’ve read, it’s better to die than to live.