Imagine being trapped in a world where every other country and civilization is destroyed by nuclear radiation and completely uninhabitable. Australia is the only civilization left for human beings in the now radiation covered world. The people there are from all walks of life but are running out of supplies; food, water, and gasoline. On top of running out of these necessities those people are facing not only physical conflicts but also mental conflicts. The man vs man, man vs society, and man vs fate conflicts in On the Beach illuminate the theme that nuclear war, if left unchecked, will ultimately destroy the world. This can be seen by the struggle of man to survive, how the knowledge of man led to the death and not prosperity, and how each person chose how they wanted to die in an unavoidable manner.
Man vs Man is one of the conflicts in On the Beach that can be seen and leads to the unavoidable destruction of the planet. Peter Holmes, the main character of the novel, has come to accept that the death of humankind was possible because of human alone. “It’s only the end for us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan’t be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us.” (Shute 45) This shows how the natural elements of the Earth played no role in the killing of all mankind and will continue to thrive with or in this case without human interaction. The human race is not necessary for the survival of Earth and if anything the human race has been the major factor in the destruction of the Earth and the natural environment and the development of the nuclear bomb only led to this destruction faster. The nuclear bomb was developed by man, the push to create larger and more ...
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...tion to it.” (Shute 15). “I’m glad we haven’t got newpapers now. It’s been much nicer without them.” (Shute 15). “If what they say is right we’re none of us going to have time to do all that we planned to do. But we can keep on doing it as long as we can” (Shute 133). People must accept their fate and have to be able to realize that they will never be able to live a full life.
Wars have plagued the Earth for as long as mankind has been living on the Earth. Over time the weapons used to fight wars have changed and become more powerful and deadly. In On the Beach it can be seen how powerful these weapons have become. The nuclear bomb, one of mankind’s greatest inventions, was the driving force behind the extinction of mankind and life as we know. Conflicts will always affect those that inhabit the Earth and these conflicts need to not be the end of life as we know.
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