The Heat Death Of The Universe

1116 Words5 Pages
Little Worlds In today's busy world, many people get so caught up in their own ambience that they overlook all the other things out there. Some people seem treat their surroundings as if it were their own 'little world';, creating tunnel vision to the array of the actual real world and all the things that occur in it. Pamela Zoline addresses this and many other issues in the short story, 'The Heat Death of the Universe';. This piece reports the abstract, somewhat crazy thoughts, of the world from an ordinary housewife to the reader. At first, these thoughts appear to be coming from a severely confused and mentally unstable person, with no point what so ever. Contrary to the evidence stated in the text, 'Sarah Boyle is a vivacious and intelligent young wife...proud of her growing family which keeps her busy and happy around the house'; (192), the reader can see that the main character, Sarah Boyle, is quite unsatisfied with her place in life. This unhappiness stems from a wasted education, causing the apathetic housewife to resort to ceaseless contemplation, which shapes the life she has created for herself and the home she is trapped in. The fact that Sarah Boyle was well-educated is pointed out clearly in the first few paragraphs, 'Sarah Boyle is a vivacious and intelligent young wife and mother, educated at a fine Eastern college'; (192). This fact can be also be easily deduced by the reader after observing the knowledge Sarah presents and the vocabulary she exhibits, such as 'ONTOLOGY: That branch of metaphysics which concerns itself with the problems of the nature of existence or being'; (191) and 'ENTROPY: A quantity introduced in the first place to facilitate the calculations, and to give clear expressions to the results of thermodynamics'; (193). Clearly, such words are not ones that would be regarded as common knowledge or everyday conversation topics. The terms used by Sarah throughout the story lead the reader to regard her as some type of advanced science major. In addition to the vocabulary usage, the manner in which her mind functions and the habits she displays also guides the reader to the same assumption. Sarah demonstrates scientific thinking methods constantly; always making lists, noticing irrelevant and abstract things, counting and lettering objects, constantly pondering ideas... ... middle of paper ... ...es a thermodynamically closed system, and if this were true it would mean that a time just finally come when the Universe 'unwinds'; itself, no energy being available for use'; (200). Sarah applies this theory in her housekeeping techniques, thinking that the more organized she is, the less disorder she creates. Therefore, she is not contributing to entropy in her own Universe, her house. Keeping entropy at a constant therefore would not contribute to the 'heat death of the Universe';. Evidently, this abstract thinking is indicating some mental problems. At the end of the short story, Sarah displays a mental breakdown, combining all the unexplainable ideas that float though her mind in a physical and mental explosion. Throughout this short story, Pamela Zoline effectively addresses many relevant issues in today's society. Through a common housewife, Sarah Boyle, the reader can observe the daily trauma and feeling of worthlessness that one may experience at what it can result in. WORKS CITED Zoline, Pamela. 'The Heat Death of the Universe';. Writing As Revision. Ed. Beth Alvarado and Barbara Cully. Needham Heights: Simon and Schuster, 1998. 191-200.
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