Ladie and Gentlemen - 1991
In society today people are seemingly becoming more and more materialistic. People are judging each other on, which gadgets you are the owner of and what kind of clothes you wear. The increased wealth in the western parts of the world equals a greater gap between the different financially blessed (or cursed?) classes of society. If you are rich, you get recognition. If you are poor, you are a failure. In the short story The Island, which was published in 1991, the author deals with the increased materialism and greed that we are facing today and asks the question, if even the family relations have been corrupted by the power of money. The passengers of the S.S. ...view middle of the document...
In several cases, the captain notes, the spouse was the one to suggest sending the parents on the cruise, but in all of the cases their own child agreed.
The picture that the author is painting is quite a sad one. It is a vision of a future, where possessions matter more than social relations and friends. In the short story the family ties between the parents, and the children are overshadowed by their financial problems. The need for money is more important to the children than having parents, and letting their own children have grandparents. It is a cold future, where emotions do not seem to have any kind of role any more, when the lives of your family can be discarded so easily. But it is not only the children and the parents, who illustrate this new, cold society. The captain and the owner of the ship, even the crew, are hollow shells of how man should be. The captain speaks to them in the beginning in the way a real, professional salesman would.
He greets them, introduces himself, speaks of the lovely surroundings, the island and the waters surrounding the island, and then suddenly he starts to address problems that the passengers have encountered on the ship.
The problems’ categories span everything from vermin to bad service, even unjust pricing.
Apparently the employees of S.S. Ariel have been getting complaints, otherwise the captain would not know about these. One of the first problems that he mentions is that of the poor quality of the cabins. Many of the passengers evidently were not satisfied with the condition of the cabins, and the captain begins to apologise, but quickly he disclaims the responsibility for the whole miserable business by blaming the advertisements. He says that it is a misunderstanding and an...