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The Ash Garden: Just War
Transcript of The Ash Garden: Just War
As a just war is a last resort, all other methods of reaching a peaceful outcome must be attempted In The Ash Garden, Dennis Bock uses a universal theme of responsibility to convey the moral, physical and emotional repercussions of a war Passage pg 250 Conclusion Through analyzing Anton, Sophie and Emiko; three characters who experience war in unique ways, it is clear that there is no such thing as a just war What do you think justifies a war? Just War Theory Is killing innocent people ever moral? RESPONSIBILITY Anton Emiko Sophie guilt culpability duty task job liability blame role fault What circumstances make it morally permissible for a person to stand by and watch another die? Anton allowing Sophie to die is an analogy for allowing the Japanese citizens to suffer as a result of the bomb He convinces himself that his actions are for the greater good, similar to dropping the bomb to end a war. Who's responsibility is it to make these decisions? MORAL EMOTIONAL PHYSICAL "Us or them"
"Cold hard facts must remain that: cold hard facts" (pg 10)
Butcher, war criminal, mass murderer For Emiko the war was unjust Psychological Effects Emotional Stress Physical Damage The war affected Emiko
and psychologically. The physical effects that she had to endure was the radiation burns and how they made her look
She had been covered in keloid scars How can a war be seen as ethical and acceptable that negatively impacts the lives of three characters who represent different victims of war? Anton responsibility Sophie Emiko (those behind creation) (victims of
war) Because of her traumatic experience, Emiko shows symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (society) responsibility responsibility JUST
WAR She has difficulty removing herself from the traumatic events that were a part of her life.
We are also able to see that Emiko struggles to connect with others
Bock is able to show this through the flashbacks that she experiences throughout the novel The war affected Emiko emotionally due to the amount of loss that she was faced with At which point do we stop sacrificing each other and our moral, emotional and physical well being for the "greater good" and take responsibility for
our duties? Family
Self-esteem “But when he saw the bomb fall away like a great dinosaur egg, his sense of purpose returned. He knew how powerful this thing was said to be. But he’d trained himself not to contemplate it. Remember the big picture, he thought. That will to abstraction. Win the war. “ (pg 268) Anton believes that he is doing the right thing by dropping the bomb for the greater good
He realizes that as a scientist, it is his duty to do the right thing
"I could convince myself of anything in those days. I was a young man capable of whatever he desired. That is the definition of an idealist, don’t you think? I thought I was doing a good thing. The right thing" (pg 240)
Anton is a fictional character, yet his position as a scientist in this project mirrors that of the real life scientists involved in this project such as Einstein Anton's physical damage as a result of the war is demonstrated by his actions and how they ruin the lives of others Scientific Anton Human Anton Above the surface Anton shows little remorse for what he has done. However below, he feels his morals eat away at him in the form of guilt (he uses the sugar packets to temporarily mask the taste of what he has done) “After he got back to Hiroshima the taste of ash began to creep into his mouth while he slept” (pg 60) He has this need to sacrifice and make decisions that go against his moral compass in order to satisfy the greater good “But that was a sacrifice for the greater good. To help end the world’s suffering. They knew him as a refugee of conscience, not of religion or race, “and that,” he said one evening as he returned the sugar spoon to its bowl, “is the free man’s worst fear. The decision is his own to make. What if he chooses incorrectly, or if for the wrong reason? He must live with the consequences” (pg 99) Physically, Anton seems to be unharmed by this war, free of scars and radiation exposure. However, his physical self became destructive post-bombing Anton sees himself as a bomb. This motif is paralleling the way that a bomb destroys itself and everything around it, with how Anton views his own actions “His own solitude came upon him as hard as he’d ever felt it, turning as real and physical as the coins in his pocket. A secret brought up from somewhere, dark and surprisingly slick. You are a walking bomb, he thought" (pg 147) Aspects of Sohpie's life are mirrored
by her intricate garden Emotional Moral "That's when she
would concentrate on refining her
garden's design, sitting there in the kitchen. It was an interest he could not understand, but he knew it gave her strength."(pg 174) Physical Lupus is one of the immediate affects the war had physically on Sophie Anton’s entire personality was changed when he returned from the war. Upon returning, he finds it difficult to make emotional connections with anyone, specifically his wife Sophie Sophie Refers to the disease as feeling like death "Maybe she was dying, she thought for the first time in her life. Maybe she was already dead. The mind holding on a few moments longer, able to observe the tide lowering as life was drained from her body."(pg 139) Because of the disease Sophie had she was not able to have a child and have the life she'd always dreamed of having Passage Did Anton make the right choice in his life if he says "When temptation to look back is greater than the temptation to look foward"? Sophie loses a lot due to the war
the ability to bare children Sophie turns to her garden for emotional support and works through her physical pain, but also her emotional pain Once longing to see her again and writing about how amazing their lives will be, he now becomes resentful of her, likely due to PSD “He had looked to her for strength. He needed the memory of their life together to keep him focused. But now this life repulsed him, and he resented her ability to carry on as she had always done. He did not ask her about her family. Nothing about what she had lost. It was as if that blast had destroyed the ability to see beyond himself” (pg 66) "This was an ambitious project. She envisioned entire schools of exotic and indigenous fish that, by mid August, would be splashing their way up the property from the lake" The disconnect Sophie feels between herself and her husband comes from an underlying feeling that what had happened was not the right thing to do Jackson's Hill:
It represents his loss of innocence and the longing he has to regain the life he wishes he could have had
With his father involved int the previous war, he never got to feel that innocence. He experienced this sacrifice, when his father sacrificed his relationship with Anton to fight in a war Stefano symbolizes the wall the war has put up between Anton and Sophie
It was Sophie's moral decision to go behind Antons back
Sophie felt no other option because her husband was not mentally with her "It was easier to picture him holding a paintbrush than to imagine him gripping a butcher's knife or carrying a side of beef on his shoulder" (pg 69) Who is he and who does he want to be?
The scars left by Anton’s actions are physically and emotionally damaging to those around him.
Should we make decisions based on the greater good, or are we all responsible for each other? Anton himself cannot justify the dropping of the bomb, he keeps going back to the day to search for answers Cultural and Social Influence Bioethics: the moral and ethical implications of new science
- Consider the time period of the war and creation of the bomb
- Bioethics was not as relevant in this time
- This would have been difficult for Anton and the other scientists to grasp because they were so excited to be involved in such a dream project Anton will feel guilty about the Hiroshima bomb for the rest of his life Anton saved lives, but at what cost?