February 12, 2007

Prematurely Six Feet Under

As he spoke, the whole city was broken like a honeycomb. An air-ship had sailed in through the vomitory into a ruined wharf. It crashed downwards, exploding as it went, rending gallery after gallery with its wings of steel. For a moment they saw the nations of the dead, and, before they joined them, scraps of the untainted sky.
E.M. Forster "The Machine Stops"

I think that irony is an overrated tool, while at the same time, highly underrated.

In E.M. Forster's "The Machine Stops," a lot of death occurs - the death of the entire human race. In the context of the story, the entirety of human civilization has moved underground. Traditionally, underground, approximately six feet under the ground, is where the dead of humanity are placed. In "The Machine Stops," humanity is already in its traditional burial spot when it expires.

The ironic part is that, at this final moment, "the untainted sky" is in view.

Posted by Diana Geleskie at February 12, 2007 10:34 AM | TrackBack
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