Sunday, June 13, 2010
This is one of those books that once I finished it, I started it over and read the whole thing over again. And even after that, there were parts of it that I kept re-reading and thinking about. Before I go into my long review, I wanted to just mention that this book had one of the most nightmarish and horific scenes that I have ever read in my life. It contained almost no details at all, and none of the sparse details were graphic or gory. And that made it even scarier. My imagination provided more than any author ever could. It's been a few days and I can't get that scene out of my mind.
There are so many ethical and moral arguments brought up here and almost no clear cut answers. Here are just a few of the dilemas that come up or discussed about:
1.The obvious ones: abortion, stem cell research, tissue and organ harvesting.
2. In the case of minors, where does the line between "guardian" and "owner" cross over? The parents in this book treat children as property from the day they are born. They are things to donate to churches, sell for money, "put to sleep" when they are being a nuisance. When the parents sign the unwind orders, the State becomes the guardian of the minors. When the minors run away, they are considered to be stealing government property.
3. The power of euphamism. There are many terms and phrases in the book that seem very neutral, nonthreatening and almost positive. All the while, these terms mask draconian, horrific and barbaric rituals. I think a big message of this book is that euphamisms can be used as propaganda. People condone actions that they wouldn't normally condone because the euphamisms soften the messy harsh realities.
I find it interesting that some people were offended by the book and claimed it was too pro-life! I thought the book was very pro-choice. The author set up a world with abortion being illegal and the world being over-run with unwanted babies, who were discarded on random porches or put into massive institutions where teenagers were gotten rid of to make room for the mass influx of new babies. The message sometimes seemed to me that if you made abortion illegal, then the population would explode and children would be neglected and devalued to the point that people would sell their teenage children to organ harvesters because they needed the money or the kids were too inconvenient or annoying. There is no mention of illegal abortions or mandatory sterilization of undesireables