“Three Mile Island: A New Species of Trouble” by Kai Erikson and “The Postmorbid Condition” by Vivian Sobchack share the unique bond of how we perceive fear in the past and how we perceive it now. Various claims in Erikson’s essay show the utter fear people had when it came to the meltdown at the Three Mile Island power plant. These human made catastrophes, other wise known as technological disasters, had people at their knees. According to Sobchack’s essay, we now have fabricated violence in movies that people have become almost insensitive to. How can people have so much fear when it comes to technological disasters but view similar things in the theaters and call it entertainment?
During the Three Mile Island incident described in Erikson’s essay, the main fear of the event was the uncertainty of what was happening. Erikson uses various interviews and claims from people in the contamination areas prove his point that there was fear and uneasiness due to uncertainty. Erikson described the technological disasters that drive these fears as “dreadful”. Yet when we look on the other side of things, Sobchack’s view on fear is much different from Erikson’s. According to Sobchack, people seem to have become insensitive to onscreen horror. Both authors make claim to fear being shown in the real world and on the screen. Erikson uses the people he interviewed as his evidence and Sobchack uses various directors of violent films as her’s.
Each authors both make assumptions on their given subjects. In Erikson’s case, it assumed that everybody perceives technological disasters drive more fear through people than natural ones. Sobchack assumes that people were more sensitive to violence in films forty years ago than they are now. These assumptions are key in drawing parallels as to why these authors believe fear consumes the human mind.
Evidence is also key in comparing both Erikson and Sobchack’s essays. Erikson uses interviews of people who were at the scene...