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The Tommyknockers And Nuclear Energy

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Joe Macirowski

English 12

June 7, 2004

The Tommyknockers and Nuclear Energy

The Tommyknockers, a book seemingly about an alien ship buried in a small town in Maine that affects the townspeople, has a much deeper message about humans and our usage of nuclear energy. There is much evidence to confirm that King as strong views on nuclear power and is trying to convey them in the book.

King's book about himself, On Writing, includes a reference to nuclear war in a passage about his early life. "I was born in 1947 and we didn't get our first television until 1958. The first thing I remember watching on it was Robot Monster, a film in which a guy dressed in an ape-suit with a goldfish bowl on his head-Ro-Man, he was called--ran around trying to kill the last survivors of a nuclear war. I felt this was art of quite a high nature." (34). He later references nuclear superpowers as a fix to overpopulation and a chance to start over (202). Before getting to The Tommyknockers, King seems to have strong ideas about nuclear war. He sees it as the end of the civilization.

The word "nuclear" appears 39 times in The Tommyknockers. The first mention (on page 56) speaks of fear of a power plant during an earthquake. On page 98, one of the main characters, Jim Gardener, thinks to himself "insanity of nuclear power" and proceeds to ramble on about conspiracies, meltdown cover-ups, and its overall dangers until the end of the chapter on page 114.

The Internet article titled with the quote "...late last night and the night before..." has a lot to say about the dangers of nuclear energy being a motif in The Tommyknockers. The author makes the comparison of the way the ship changes people (known as "The Becoming") and effects of radiation poisoning. "The Becoming" also gives people the power to build tremendous technology, such as a super hot water heater or a mind reading typewriter. However, it neglects to give them comprehension of what they are doing. The comparison to nuclear energy there is "a society of people playing around with powers they don't understand."

In On Writing, King says "I don't believe any novelist, even one who's written fortyplus

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