The Stand

 

The thing which had the biggest influence on my life was one of the greatest book which has ever been written. It is called The Stand. Perhaps you will be disappointed when I tell you it is a catastrophic book – not a horror one.

            The story begins in a factory in northern America where a dozen of scientists work on developing some new medicine. To be successful they need to use normal flu. Unfortunately they change it into some new and very infectious type of influenza. It is so highly dangerous that it can kill anybody in three days. Of course, these scientists don't know it at all. So one after another they start dying in terrible agony. Finally, one of them manages to escape before a quarantine is announced in the factory. In the last second he escapes and reaches his home where his wife and a baby toddler are awaiting. They all will die in no more than two days.

            What do you think happens when people get to know what is happening in their neighbourhood? When their acquaintances, family and friends are dying on the streets without any help. All hospitals are immediately full, people are trying to escape and instead of allowing them to hide – the government and the president try to force them to stay where they are and put the quarantine on them. Can you imagine the feeling of anxiety, despair and gloom when you are driving your own car with your immediate family through the very last tunnel in New York and you know in front of you will be just the highway and pure nature but then in a second you have to stop because the government forbade everybody to leave and the army is building up a wall right in front of your own car, just where the exit was supposed to be? And what then? To stay there in the tunnel? Even though you would like to try to get back you can't. There is, of course, a traffic-jam and the tunnel is stuffed with cars, buses and other vehicles. So your last chance is to just stay exactly where you are and pray.

            Only one per cent of population survives. Just one in the whole world! Possibly, two or three people survive in each bigger city. What will they do? As the first thing to do they have to bury their pals and relatives. And then there is still some danger. They can die of normal curable illnesses like tonsillitis or ulcers or they can be definitely injured by other evil citizens who survived. We should admit to each other that there exist pimps, addicts, murderers, kidnappers and other criminals and they threaten the good ones. So there appear a lot of rapes and murders and no one is punished as the police doesn't exist anymore. There are no rules, only anarchy.

            Jane lives at exactly that time. She is only in her early twenties when she realises she is pregnant with a boy who she doesn't even love. But she doesn't have time to solve this problem because the flu is already spreading. So her lover dies before she can even tell him he is going to be a father. At first she has to bury her parents who died in the first wave of the flu. Then she starts to communicate quite unwillingly with her neighbour. She hates him for his obesity and stupidity. But he plausibly loves her with all his heart. When they find out they are the only ones alive in the city they make up their mind and move away.

            During their long journey they meet a lot of other people from different states and finally they settle in a small city in front of the Rocky mountains. Here are the good ones and the bad guys settled in Las Vegas.

            If you want to know what will happen to these two cities I really recommend you to borrow the book in the library or to buy it in a bookshop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4/6/2010




Tests:

Level
Test title
The Stand B