The Hot Zone by Richard Preston Essay A proficient U S journalist and author of the 1994 bestseller The Hot Zone, A Terrifying True Story, Richard Prestonâ€™s creative capabilities revolve around alarming disease epidemics and bio- terrorism. The research by Preston for his 1992 New Yorker article, â€œCrisis in the Hot Zoneâ€ forms the basis of this non-fiction bio-thriller. The Hot Zone delineates a dramatic, chilling and realistic tale of an Ebola virus outbreak, which occurs in a monkey storage warehouse in a suburban Washington D. C. laboratory in 1989. In this laboratory, monkeys being used in scientific experiments quickly sicken and die due to a filovirus. It tells about an explosive chain of lethal transmissions begins far from Washington, D.C. laboratory and allows the lab to become a â€˜hot zoneâ€™. Preston goes on meticulously about how these viruses work and the symptoms that appear in human beings. He traces the history of these viruses from their discovery and examines their first known index cases in detail. He also delves deeply into tales of previous lethal outbreaks in Africa out of these filoviruses. The Hot Zone employs a four fold structure. The first section of this non- fiction, â€œThe Shadow of Mount Elgonâ€ acts as the exposition of the story. It zeroes- in on the history of the infective agents and speculation about the origin of AIDS. The reader is introduced to the Marburg Virus, via people who have contracted it. This section narrates the story of Charles Monet who caught Marburg from Kitum Cave in Central Africa. It analyses in detail the progress of the disease, from the initial headache and backache, to the last stage in which Monetâ€™s internal organs bleed out and fail in Nairobi hospital. The second part of the book entitled â€œThe Monkey Houseâ€ portrays the discovery of Ebola Reston Virus among imported monkeys in Reston, Virginia. This also includes tidbits on what steps have been taken to decontaminate the infected beings. The third section, â€œSmashdownâ€ serves as the climax of the story. Here, the major characters like Major Nancy Jaax, Colonel Jerry Jaax, Dan Dalgard, Gene Johnson, and Colonel C J Peters etc must encounter the virus face- to-face in the monkey house. Some hair- raising events are there during the destruction of animals, like an escape of one monkey and failures in the protective suits worn by personnel. The fourth section, entitled â€œKitum Caveâ€, signals the denouement of the story. Here Preston reflects on the origin and spread of AIDS. The Hot Zone highlights the impact of lethal viruses on human and animal population. The stars of the hot zone are these two viruses, Marburg and Ebola. These are considered to be ancient and their potential to eradicate huge masses is really high, as more and more humans encroach on the rain forest. There are well- establish cases in which Ebola and Marburg have been transmitted from captive monkeys to humans. Preston points out in The Hot Zone that these viruses have â€˜jumped speciesâ€™ from monkeys to humans at the time human activity is upsetting the habitat and survival of her primates. His first case history of Charles Monet exemplifies this. Charles Monet, a French expatriate working in a sugar plantation in Kenya, becomes mysteriously ill after visiting Kitum Cave. He experiences head aches and back aches for several days before spiking a fever and vomits huge amounts of blood with black specks. Finally the virus, Marburg completely devours him. In 1989, Ebola traveled to Reston, Virginia in a shipment of a hundred crab eating monkeys from the Philippines, imported by Hazleton Research products for medical and pharmaceutical research. The final irony is that one version of Ebola turned out not to be toxic in humans. The author also creates an effectual atmosphere of fear by showing that doctors, who are almost always viewed as being heroic, can so easily contract this virus. The Hot Zone is a Jurassic park with germs, not of dinosaurs. Here Preston constantly reminds of how tiny and how hazardous a virus is. The impact of Ebola or Marburg could destroy the entire planet if it got a grip. Within 24 hours, a virus could make its way out of Africa on a plane and into such places like London, Paris, or New York and then spread out to the rest of the world. The tiny HIV virus has already spread destruction throughout the human population of the globe, and this is a point the author drives home again and again. A very minute amount of contaminated blood is enough to infect a human with the Ebola virus, so those working in the Hot Zone must constantly be careful for the smallest little tear that might allow it into their space suits. Preston makes an effort to draw attention to the AIDS epidemic in this bio â€“thriller. The HIV virus was in reality just making its way into the human population about the time that Charles Monet contracted Marburg. It appears that the origins of Marburg and HIV are almost similar. Both seem to have originated in African monkeys, and they undergo genetic change and â€˜jumpâ€™ into human beings. C.J. Peters spends some time comparing AIDS and Ebola, as well. In the last section of the novel, the author explains the idea that as humans capture and destroy more and more of the rain forests, they may discharge many more unidentified viruses. It is as if the viruses act as the forests immune system, which is truly ironic since HIV and AIDS destroy the human immune system. In the book, Preston emphasizes the potential of such a little beasts, that are only microns in size, to wipe out the human population of the planet. In fact, the strength and appeal of this book come from the fear evoked in the reader. The gruesome, horrific deaths of Charles Monet, Nurse Mayinga, and Peter Cardinal set the reader in tension and dread of what will happen if the virus at Reston jumps into the human population. The majority of The Hot Zone is written from the third-person omniscient point of view. The author is not simply composing characters thoughts and emotions. This book recounts a true story, and Richard Preston interviewed many people to learn directly from those involved. Therefore, the reason the author is able to be omniscient is because he has taken great pains to be accurate in his telling of the tale. If he describes someones internal reaction to an event, he is relating what that person told him. He is also careful to give credibility to everyones viewpoints in the cases where people have conflicting recollections of a sequence of events. There are a few places in which the point of view switches to first person. This is a result of the authors reporting on his interviews with the various people engaged in the crisis at Reston, as well as those involved in earlier Ebola outbreaks. This serves to remind the reader that the story is not a piece of fiction, and it also allows the author to tell portions of the story in the participants own words. There are multiple settings in the book because it spans a long period of time (1980 to 1993) and follows viruses all over the world. Much of the African portion of the story takes place in Kenya and Sudan, and the real centerpiece is Kitum Cave in Western Kenya. The story starts and ends there though under very different circumstances. On the international level, there are also references to the Marburg virus stint in Germany, and a monkey farm in the Philippines. Aside from these brief mentions, the true settings of the story are Africa and the United States. The fact that the potential Ebola outbreak is happening so near the capital of one of the most powerful nations on earth definitely adds to the tension of the story. The language used in The Hot Zone is very explanatory. The novel could easily have been a litany of medical terms and acronyms. It is a factual story involving science, medicine, government, and military. The author is concerned with drawing the reader into the story. He wants to generate such a vivid picture that it is sporadically quite upsetting. Richard Prestons capacity to write literature is also obvious. His use of imagery is very successful. By the time there is an outbreak in the monkey house, the reader has been thoroughly apprised of the terribly agonizing, fierce death that awaits anyone infected by the virus. Throughout the entire story, Preston amalgamates scientific perception with fictional writing. Works Cited Preston, Richard. The Hot Zone. New York: Anchor, 1995. Litsum.com Hot Zone Stuff. 2007. http://acaclassof2010studyguides.blogspot.comÂ Â Â Â Â Â \2007\09\litsumcom-hot-zone-stuff.html
A Hobbesian and Heroic Unreflective Citizenship In Meno, Plato asks â€œwhat virtue itself isâ€ (Plato 60). This dialogue on virtue between Socrates and Meno ably frames a wider dialogue on ethics between Thomas Hobbes, the Greek heroic tradition, and the sophists of 5th century Athens. Hobbesâ€™ Leviathan and Aristophanesâ€™ The Clouds introduce three classes of ethical actors to respond to Platoâ€™s inquiry: Hobbesâ€™ ethical lemmings, the heroic ethical traditionalists, and the sophist ethical opportunists. The Meno also helps capture the essence of contemporary discussion of the morality of desire and emotivism, as articulated by Roberto Mangabeira Unger in Knowledge and Politics and Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue. Finally, I will examineâ€”and then problematizeâ€” the Hobbesian and heroic responses to ethical subjectivism. SOCRATES: Meno, by the gods, what do you yourself say that virtue is? MENO: â€¦There is virtue for every action and every age, for every task of ours and every one of us. (Meno 60-61) Meno helps Plato articulate the implications of subjectivism and the arbitrary designation of value. Roberto Mangabeira Ungerâ€™s discussion of the â€œmorality of desireâ€ (Unger 49) and Alasdair MacIntyreâ€™s description of emotivism formalize the ethical importance of Menoâ€™s inability to disaggregate the self from a definition of virtue. According to Unger, â€œ[t]he morality of desire defines the good as the satisfaction of desire, the reaching of the goals to which our appetites and aversions incline us. The task of ethics on this view is to teach us how to organize life so that we shall approach contentmentâ€ (49). In a similar vein, MacIntyre describes emotivism in After Virtue: â€œEmotivism is the doctrine that all evaluative judgme... ...valuation, but can ensure the engagement of informed citizens and offer the choice and contrast between competing paradigms. Platoâ€™s wisdom does not reside in his provision of definitions, but his understanding of the intrinsic good of an autonomous process of thinking, searching, and questioningâ€”all of which absolute standards ignore. Works Cited Aristophanes. The Clouds. Trans. and foreword by William Arrowsmith. Forrest, W.G. The Emergence of Greek Democracy. Guthrie, W.C. A History of Greek Philosophy. Hobbes. Leviathan. Trans. Herbert W. Schneider. MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue. 2nd Ed. University of Notre Dame Press: Notre Dame, Indiana, 1984. MacIntyre, Alasdair. A Short History of Ethics. Plato. Five Dialogues : Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo. Trans G. M. A. Grube. Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. Knowledge and Politics.