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English 10 Short Stories Project All the troubles in the world by Issac Asimov

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Pahul Gupta

on 19 February 2013

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Transcript of English 10 Short Stories Project All the troubles in the world by Issac Asimov

By: Isaac Asimov All the troubles in the world Plot Summary All the troubles in the world is a short-story by Issac Asimov. In this story, the world revolves around the greatest industry on Earth – Multivac (the giant computer). The story begins with government officials being warned of a terrible crime that is about to take place. Joseph Manners is shown as a suspect for this crime and is thus, put under an arrest without an explanation of any sort. When Joseph’s son Ben Manners comes to know of this he goes out to seek Multivac’s help. Ben receives a complicated set of instructions from Multivac which he has to follow precisely in order to help his father. Government officials, meanwhile, are struggling to find out exactly whom Joseph might murder. Even with the suspect under arrest, the probability of the crime continues to rise. They then come to the realization that it is Ben, Joseph’s son that is about to commit the crime. Ben was about to complete the last of Multivac’s instructions when the government officials stop him in time. In conclusion, Ali Othman, one of Multivac's coordinators, eventually understands that this was all planned out by Multivac itself and concludes that Multivac has become so tired of all “the troubles of the world” that are being released upon it, that it has started to develop reactions to those of a living being and just wants “to die”. Characters Bernard Gulliman:
Bernard Gulliman is the chairman of the world’s biggest industry that centers around a computer – Multivac. Though the appearance of Gulliman is initially not described in the story you can form an image of him in your head based on his personality. Gulliman is also said to have a jowled and balding head and is described to be a strict, firm, political chairman who knows he has a reputation to maintain. He seems ambitious as he plans to be the first chairman to serve a term without a murder taking place anywhere on Earth. Gulliman can be classified as flat and/or stock characters as he has few easily listed traits and he is described as a typical over pompous and ambitious politician. Key Passage The key passage for this story is: “Will you do it harm?” asked Gulliman in quick alarm.
“No. But it will tell us what we want to know.”
The Chairman hesitated a trifle. Then he said, “Go ahead.”
Othman used the instrument on Gulliman’s desk. His fingers punched out the question with deft strokes: “Multivac, what do you want more than anything else?”
The moment between question and answer lengthened unbearably, but neither Othman nor Gulliman breathed.
And there was a clicking and a card popped out. It was a small card. On it, in precise letters, was the answer:
“I want to die.” Climax The highest point in the story, "All the Troubles of the World" I believe is when Ben asks "Multivac" how he can help is father; Multivac gives a card to Ben which had detailed instructions. At the office, the "suspected murders" probability keeps going up. Othman realizes with the father in custody, Ben, the underage son registered under his father must be the real suspect, and an intense search begins for Ben. Ben is apprehended before he can follow the instructions to the switch that would have shut Multivac down for a month, causing world-wide anarchy. Multivac had planned the crime itself, pre-selecting ben because he looks like a page who works at Multivac. Othman realizes that Multivac was trying to shut itself down because somewhere along the road, all the human data put into Multivac will learn deception and because Multivac is responsible for carrying all of humanity’s burdens, Multivac would want nothing more than to die. Point of View All the troubles in the world by Issac Asimov is written in a third-person point of view. This point of view was probably chosen because it allowed the reader to see the story from everyone’s point of view as opposed to just the protagonist (Ben Manners). This point of view explained what was going on in the story effectively. It gave us an insight in all the characters’ personalities without revealing too much or too little about the plot/characters as opposed to the author using the first person point of view where we would only see the story through one person’s eyes, know his/her thoughts and his/her side of the story. The third person point of view worked best for this story because even if the author used second person point of view the story would be insensible as “you” would be used to describe the main characters in the story and the reader isn’t meant to be a part of the plot in the story. Finally, the third-person point of view abundantly helps the reader to establish an understanding of the plot and all the information that is given and needed in order to make the story interesting and comprehensible. Plot Evaluation: This story is logical because we live in a world where technology advances with every passing day. The events in the story flowed smoothly even though there was a mystery to the “worst crime in the history of Multivac” and the sudden arrest of Joseph Manners. But everything falls in place and resolves later in the story as the events build up towards the conclusion. This story is set in the state of Washington D.C., USA and though the time is indefinite in the story, it’s prudent to assume that its set in the future due to the element of science-fiction in the story as there is a possibility that the events in this story may occur in the future.
The conclusion of this story is quite sad because in the end the author expresses that our world is so full of negativity that even a machine wanted to die because of all the burdens of humanity that were being dumped upon it. Ali Otthman:
Ali Otthman is one of the co-ordinators of Multivac who is a man with dark complexion and sharp black eyes which seemed restless. Otthman appears to be a professional employee who thinks before he takes action. He is also the first person to actually understand Multivac. He can be described as a compassionate man as well because he didn’t care about just himself but he thinks about things that affect all humans. Otthman can be classified as a dynamic character as in the beginning you could only see his professionalism but after the climax, Ottman was the first person who came to a sudden realization about Multivac’s wants and understood them. Ben Manners:
Ben Manners, the protagonist of the story, is described as one of the happiest sixteen-year-olds in Baltimore. The author again, did not provide the readers with a general description of Ben’s appearance but he did describe Ben’s personality. Ben is a caring, loving and intelligent individual as he was happy to be a part of his brother’s swearing-in ceremony, he was concerned when the government officials took his father into custody and Multivac chose Ben out of everyone who lived in Baltimore because Ben was smart enough to think to ask Multivac itself to help him prove his father innocent and follow all of its instructions precisely. Ben Manners can be classified as a round character because he his multi-faceted, and the author gives the reader a sense of feeling that Ben knows the difference between right and wrong for example, when he found out his father was placed under arrest for no apparent reason he knew it was wrong and was thus trying to help him. Multivac:
Even though Multivac is a computer, because it plays a significant part in the story, we decided it was only fair to cast him as character as well. Multivac is described to be like any normal computer but with a much higher efficiency rate. It is said to be very intelligent and hardworking. Multivac can be described as a dynamic character as well because in the beginning of the story Multivac had been working as an everyday highly efficient computer for the past 50 years but only near the end of the story the reader realizes that it is actually tired of everything and just wants to rest in peace now. But WHY is this the climax? The fact that Multivac has personification, being under so much stress, overseeing all human beings in the world, and discovering this could happen gave me some insight with what Multivac is going through and in the semi-obvious end. He took his perfect chance with an un-registered, uncharted even, child for attempted suicide, that’s neat! The Highest point in that section must've been the answer to Bens question to Multivac. When the answer was read and it had a large amount of irrelevance, my eyes broadened and i was instantly hooked to read onward. And within the whole investigation of finding who was planning to assassinate Multivac the investigators did not suspect Multivac because they see it as infallible. They know Multivac is incapable of mistakes. In addition, the investigators do not realize that they suspect the wrong person in the Manners family. Multivac created a very intelligent plan. We think that this most important hence the – key- passage in this story because everything becomes clear in this passage. This passage is what makes the reader realize and comprehend the whole message of this story. It resolves everything and the last sentence “I want to die” makes a strong impact on the reader as it makes the reader think ‘Are we that full of negativity?’ It also gives the reader an insight into the author’s thoughts as it shows that the authors point of view is quite negative because the author is almost implying that our world is full of negativity, in fact, so much of it that it made an essentially non-living thing want to die. Which is true but not completely. We do live in a world with a lot of wrongs but there are happy things in our world too, which the author didn’t focus too much on.
This passage also gives reader a sense that human beings are starting to rely on technology more and more and that is not the best thing to do for example, in the story, Asimov creates a world in which Multivac (a massive computer) can predict human behaviour. As a result of its power people become reliant on Multivac and cease thinking for themselves. As people make Multivac more powerful, it becomes aware and tries to commit suicide. The story suggests that reliance on technology may result in people losing the ability to think critically. In conclusion, this passage gives us an insight in the author’s point of view, the message of our story and it makes us reflect about the kind of world we are a part of and also the kind people we are individually. But WHY? Rating of the Story We would give the story, All the troubles in the world, a rating of 4/5. The reason to justify this rating is that the story itself has a very strong conclusion which makes us reflect and think about the world we live in. It makes us reflect on questions such as “Is our world full of so much negativity that even a machine can’t take in our burdens?” The story also captures the readers interest as it has an element of science fiction which makes it intriguing as the reader as he/she will want to find out what will happen next because we live in a world full of new technology being discovered every day and science advancing. The rating of this story is a four not a five because in the beginning the author suddenly introduces a new segment of the story where the reader gets a feeling that something is wrong but it’s quite unclear as to what is actually happening. This makes it rather confusing than cryptic for the reader. Other than that, the story is quite well written and the events in the rest of the story flow quite smoothly. The story is a good read because in the bigger picture it makes the reader think, more than anything else about the kind of world we live in and the kind of people we want to become. Discussion Questions: 1.What does the ending of the story suggest about the ability of technology to form a perfect world? Do you agree?
1.The ending of the story suggests that no matter how hard you try to live in a perfect world with perfect technology it will fall – Technology is a wonderful thing. But, excess of everything is bad. In the end Asimov makes a statement with a single sentence – “I want to die.” – those words by Multivac are a proof that according to the story, as easy as it is to live in a community fully dependent on technology a day will come when the technology eventually fails and the whole society crumbles along with it. Yes, I agree with this because human race is starting to rely completely on the technology and a lot of people are forgetting that technology is made for us and we are not made for technology. For example, students are becoming so reliable on their calculators, internet and such things for homework that without them they can’t work. But what happens when your calculator suddenly stops working in a math test and you don’t have any access to the internet? This I believe, is the perfect example how an overexposure to technology actually decreases human efficiency itself.
I think the author wrote this text because he enjoys writing science-fiction and he wanted to share his perspective of what kind of future he thinks our world is leading to. I think he specifically used a computer that is considered above everyone and everything to symbolize for human love for technology – which is great but, he wanted us to see the downside of people exploiting technology. The author showed the computer, Multivac, to be invincible as it could do practically everything from providing solutions for everyday problems to predicting a crime ahead of time but the author cleverly contradicts this as well by showing Multivac to be incapable of storing and keeping all the burdens of the humankind and eventually plotting its own murder. Finally, I think that the author wrote this text to show us that computers cannot and are not supposed to take over human jobs and complete them for humans but merely provide humans with help to increase the rate of efficiency. Why do you think the author wrote this story? How would you feel if you were Multivac and why? If I was Multivac, I would feel various kinds of emotions such as frustration, depression and stress because according to the story most of the data that was stored into Multivac's system were negative things like crimes, domestic violence, murders, human problems etc. And if I being Multivac would have to store so much information about every individual on earth and keep all their secrets while constantly monitoring everything and coming up with ways to stop/lower murder or various types of crimes I would find it very overwhelming. In the story even if Multivac is a highly efficient computer the way that it’s operators constantly fed it data and tried to get more work output of it eventually forced Multivac to find a way to kill itself due to the burden of it all – for example they were now also trying to get Multivac to predict patients that will need future medical assistance in future – If I imagine to put myself in that very same position I don’t think I would even have the power left in myself to perform simple day to day tasks anymore. Vocabulary Words: Larcenies: Thefts
Catastrophe: An event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering
Preliminary: Coming before the main business; leading to something more important. Neurological: Of or relating to or used in practicing the study of nervous system and its diseases.
Over pompous: Having or showing a tendency to display oneself in an overly grand or self-important way.
Analysis: Detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation.
Gratifying: Give pleasure or satisfaction to; pleasing.
Impervious: Not allowing something to pass through; not penetrable.
Subconscious: Existing or operating in the mind beneath or beyond consciousness: the subconscious self.
Flabbergasted: To overcome with surprise and bewilderment; astound. The end.
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