Assessing The Cask of Amontillado and The Interlopers Essay

In his novel As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner uses an enveloping symbol of Cash’s tools in order to underline the development of the characters throughout the novel.

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At this point, however, her discovery remained incomplete, unfounded, theoretical. As Redniss writes, “It was as if the elements had been grasped only by shadows, and so could be considered no more definitive than, say, the word of a Spiritualist medium.” The Curies, along with other Parisian scientific eminences, happened to frequent séances, and speculated that there might be a connection between these mysterious phenomena and the radiation they were studying. If the Spiritualist professions were true, Pierre wrote, they would be among the most important scientific discoveries ever. Harder heads resisted the claims both of Spiritualism and of the latest physics. Physicists might be inclined to buy what they couldn’t see or touch — they believed in rays — but chemists were not so readily convinced. Identifying the elements by their radiation was not the same as isolating and weighing them.

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In “,” her doctoral dissertation, Marie summarized the procedure. With the aid and advice of the chemist Gustave Bémont, the Curies worked to separate out known elements from the pitchblende. Their initial work indeed produced substances many hundreds of times more radioactive than uranium, suggesting the presence of some new, unknown element. Eventually, after months of painstaking work, the Curies were able to purify the substance enough that spectroscopic analysis showed an absorption of wavelengths of light that could not be caused by any previously known elements. This method gave additional evidence for the existence of a new element, which Marie called polonium, after her native country. Within months, the Curies had also discovered radium, which, millions of times more radioactive than uranium, would become her signature achievement. But as Goldsmith writes, the process by which these discoveries were made was as revelatory and far-reaching as the discoveries themselves:

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Radium presented grave dangers, however. The patent-medicine radium cure-alls were generally diluted hundreds of thousands of times in some bromide or other, but the radioactivity remained uncommonly strong, and it could do immense harm. A prominent American industrialist hooked on the putative restorative powers of the miracle elixir Radithor saw his face cave in from cancer of the jaw. Factory girls in New Jersey painting radium watch dials, who licked their brushes to put a finer point on them, died of radiation poisoning. People who definitely ought to have known better were not careful, and were not immune. Amputation, blindness, and sterility plagued key researchers. The Curies themselves understood that radiation could do serious damage but somehow did not believe it would damage them. The facts proved otherwise, though to the end the Curies did not connect their physical agonies with their mental triumphs. Redniss writes, “The powers of radium with which they were so enamored — Marie had taken to sleeping with a little jar by her pillow — were steadily corroding their bones, straining their breathing, burning their skin. Their entire lab was toxic.... Radioactivity had made the Curies immortal. Now it was killing them.”

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Pierre proved to the dubious Marie, who had been so badly scorched by love, that he was the only sort of man for a woman like her: a man who lives up to his own ideal of dedication and probity, who disdains the worldly prizes coveted by so many stellar intellects, who does not let himself become small. How could she resist? She had found the man most like herself. Pierre and Marie were married in July 1895 in a simple civil ceremony. In response to a family member’s offer to buy her a wedding dress, Ève writes that her mother said that “If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark, so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.” After the wedding they honeymooned on new bicycles, pedaling away all summer.

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A prime example of this is displayed in Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, where the protagonist, Jane, suffers through a particularly difficult life; her love is constantly stripped from her the moment she is relishing it most.