The human being is an analytical creature. From scientists to philosophers to star-crossed teenaged lovers, the human is internally motivated to understand the world around him. That world provides countless puzzles for the human to solve, whether these puzzles lie in the forests of the heart, the laws of mathematics or the annals of history. However, some of the most unfathomable aspects of this world have been entirely created by humans. The Holocaust is one of the most unfathomable events in human history. Countless documentaries, pieces of literature, psychological analyses and films have explored the topic in an attempt to understand exactly how humans could commit such terrible atrocities against one another. Time’s Arrow, by Martin Amis, initially attempts to answer this question by exploring the life of a Nazi doctor. To do this, he separates the narrator’s consciousness from his mind, re-living his life backwards. In doing so, Amis tries to reverse the laws of entropy, to heal by un-creating human destruction. However, as the narrator (the doctor’s consciousness) eventually finds, reversing time’s arrow does not make the Holocaust fathomable. Therefore, in Time’s Arrow, Martin Amis suggests that humans will always manage to increase entropy, despite the reversal of time and the laws of the physical world.
The term “entropy” describes a “measure of disorder or randomness in an isolated system” (Dictionary.com). According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the entropy of an isolated system will always increase over time. Therefore, disorder and randomness are constantly increasing. Amis drew from both this law and the work of the physicist A.S. Eddington in writing T...
... middle of paper ...
... undo the chaos that we had created.
Yet in Time’s Arrow, entropy is not just never truly reduced, it is ultimately increased. Thus, Amis argues that entropy’s effect on humanity is an inherently human creation. We create our own misery, our own disorder, our own chaos, regardless of the physical laws and the direction in which time is flowing. Therefore, in Time’s Arrow Amis suggests that humans are inherently entropic creatures, so much so that entropy as it pertains to us is less of a physical property, and more of a human characteristic.
Amis, Martin. Time’s Arrow. London: Vintage, Random House, 1991.
“Entropy.” Dictionary.com. 2004 http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=entropy
Menke, Richard. “Narrative Reversals and the Thermodynamics of History in Martin Amis’s Time’s Arrow.” Modern Fiction Studies 44.4 (1998) 959-980.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Time's Arrow by Martin Amis Life is no bowl of cherries. Sometimes you can't explain everything. You just can't, and Martin Amis knows this. Time's Arrow is a book on the holocaust. There is nothing new about its material, and it makes no attempt at explaining anything. So why bother reading (or writing) it. What separates this book from your average "holocaust book" is that this really will, as it says on the backcover, present you with a "different" perspective. Time's Arrow is not your typical holocaust book.... [tags: Papers]
1821 words (5.2 pages)
- Richard Amis probably believes that Time’s Arrow is a powerful book with a noble cause, bringing attention to the Holocaust by telling a story from the perspective of a Nazi doctor using an innovative reverse-chronological structure. Although Amis conjures powerful and distinctly unsettling imagery that questions cultural ethics and morality using violence as a form of healing, for example sex workers are beaten “into shape with [their pimp’s] jeweled fists” (Amis 31), this novel is anything but noble.... [tags: Jews, The Holocaust, Minority group, Nazi Germany]
850 words (2.4 pages)
- Since primeval times, people have been fascinated by bow and arrow. This combination was the first machine and the ‘extended arm’ of man – right after the throwing of stones or the spear – and is the epitome of the ‘long-distance effect’. Bow and arrow improved this long-distance effect, have mechanized it and made it more efficient. Now, the extended arm could reach farther and the distance to the target became larger and more secure. From the beginning, man has used this weapon not only for hunting, but also for armed conflict, murder and raids.... [tags: bow, arrow, missiles, mozart]
1503 words (4.3 pages)
- In Money: A Suicide Note Martin Amis describes the life of John Self, an extremely successful filmmaker of TV adverts who takes part in the materialist game characterising the society of the 1980s. The protagonist is addicted to the 20th century, where he leads a careless life based on a daily abundance of drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, handjobs and the porn industry. However, this addiction leaves its marks on the body and character of John Self. His physical as well as social health slowly deteriorate while Self is unable (and unwilling) to get off his never-ending trip.... [tags: American Literature]
1692 words (4.8 pages)
- Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God is set in the 1920's, before secularism became dominant. It begins with the image of a mask, when he tells his son not to carve the mask of a god for the white man. The mask is a symbol of change. The whole world is changing, and the people who do not change will not survive. The old priest, Ezeulu, desires change, but he cannot do it. He cannot force himself to leave the old ways behind and adopt the new ways. Thus, he sends one of his sons to learn from the white man.... [tags: Chinua Achebe Arrow of God]
1313 words (3.8 pages)
- Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis and The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood The adolescent years are often associated with turbulence, illusion, and self-discovery; however, Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim and Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman demonstrate that more often than not, the twenties possess these qualities to a greater extent than adolescence. The age period of the twenties often consists of relationships, employment and self issues and using the premise of these uncertain times, Amis and Atwood effectively satire various societal systems.... [tags: Lucky Jim Amis Edible Margaret Atwood Essays]
1591 words (4.5 pages)
- The authors Charles Dickens and Martin Amis have many stylistic differences. Even though they lived in different times, with diverse ideas about life, these two authors are still able to have a few stylistic similarities. Charles Dickens, author of the novel, "Hard Times" in the 19th century, focuses on the reality of life, and how many people seem to forget about "living" and concentrate too much on work. His ideas are straightforward, and don’t pay much attention to "fancy".... [tags: essays research papers]
1439 words (4.1 pages)
- Arrow of Time: Towards a New Epistemology of Science ABSTRACT: Humanity has tried to comprehend two fundamental events since time immemorial: the birth of the universe and the emergence of life. Recently, it is claimed that these events can be understood comprehensively by means of a metaphor: the 'arrow of time.' The purpose of the present paper is twofold: (1) to build an epistemological structure that underlies the principle of time's arrow; and (2) to pursue the unity of science in a novel fashion.... [tags: Scientific Philosophy Philosophical Papers]
3401 words (9.7 pages)
- Ezeulu's Defeat in Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God When the Umuaro people began to encounter the spreading European colonialists, most realized that the colonialists were not like their other enemies and that they could not be defeated in the same way. So, even those most fiercely opposed to the colonial presence at first eventually conformed to its power. However, Ezeulu, the tragic hero of Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God, was not the typical Umuaro villager. As the chief priest of the powerful deity Ulu, Ezeulu felt that he could be subordinate to no one and accordingly rose up in direct confrontation with both the colonialists and his own community.... [tags: Achebe Arrow of God Essays]
1521 words (4.3 pages)
- Recommendation Reject the proposal of Express. Prepare for the competition of Express by launching aggressive marketing campaign to match the price of Express in short run. Maintain and improve gross margin on BAS sales by leverage the strong relationship with supplier to get the lowest price. Continue improving the value added content, short delivery lead time and inventory management as main values of the company. Aggressively invest R&D to provide an on-line booking and ordering system to further improve customer’s time-to-market, facilitate the BAS sale order; provide the customer “efficient, low price, one-stop-shop” experience that will differentiate A/S from competitors.... [tags: Business Finance Analysis]
1094 words (3.1 pages)