Fail Safe Essay

2761 words - 11 pages

Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler’s Fail-Safe explores the complex moral and ethical decisions that arise out of a dangerous situation. Published in 1962 the novel draws heavily on the fear of the Cuban missile crisis. It utilizes the shared fear of an accidental nuclear attack to present a hypothetical situation demanding of a near impossible decision. Fail-Safe remains a novel worthy of study because of the ethical and moral complications of the decision faced by the President. Fail-Safe attempts to offer a decision that has no perfect or easy solution. These decisions require a deep and personal knowledge of morals, in order to have the ability to make the correct decision. When no easy ethically correct solution stands out the decision becomes dependant on knowledge of metaphorical “line that cannot be crossed.” When all possible solutions require compromise on morals, it becomes necessary to know at what point it becomes impossible to compromise any further without losing the soul or meaning of the person. Fail-Safe aptly creates a situation that stresses this compromise onto a grand scale to evaluate the moral compromise more effectively.
Eugene Burdick (1918-1965), born in Sheldon, Iowa, and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 4. He studied at Stanford university and participated in the Rhodes scholar program to study at Oxford where he earned his Ph.D. in psychology. He returned to California to teach at the University of California where he took an interest in political science. His interest in political science led him to investigate the Cuban missile crisis and publish Fail-Safe with Harvey Wheeler. His interest in the possibility of accidental global nuclear war echoed the fears of the population during the stressing times around the missile crisis.
Harvey Wheeler (1918-2004) began his college studies at Wabash but took a break from his studies to serve in the European Theater of WWII. Upon returning he utilized the GI bill and finished his education at Indiana then moved on to Harvard where he received his Ph.D. He later taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Washington and Lee. After writing professional articles for multiple scholarly journals on many separate topics including the Cuban missile crisis he collaborated with Eugene Burdick to write Fail-Safe.
Literary Analysis:
The carefully designed characters in Fail-Safe exist to supplement the focus of the novel on the difficulties of the impossible choice by offering contrasting views and beliefs. Each character has a carefully crafted back-story and over the course of the novel the authors attempt to create sympathy with many of the characters and the difficult position in which the world has placed them. By taking the time and energy to focus diligently on the characters, the authors create a believable group that work well together and succeed at creating suspense and wonder over the results of each action. Through the careful...

Find Another Essay On Fail-Safe

Congress Members and Bills: The Safe Child Act of 2014

1002 words - 5 pages consuming task. There are eight steps that a bill must undergo and pass successfully to become law. The legislative process naturally makes it hard for bills to become laws. "Before Bills become laws, they typically pass successfully through several stages in each house. Bills that fail to attract majority support at any critical juncture may never be passed" ( Davidson, Oleszek, Lee 215). There are more opportunities for a bill to die than

The Effect Domestic Violence Has Upon Children

825 words - 3 pages proceeds through this stage with the proper support, they will learn to trust others. Otherwise, if the parents are violent, abusive, or the environment they grow up in is not safe, then they will lack that inherent trust in others. Later in life, these individuals may become either criminals or the victims of the violence. Over the past half century, violence in the United States has increased dramatically. Children who were raised in a

Dr. Strangelove - end of the war, and i feel fine

3089 words - 12 pages Elspeth Wilson Politics & Film Final Paper December 15, 2000 It's the End of the World...and I Feel Fine! (The role of intellectuals in the creation and justification of nuclear weapons.) In Fail Safe and Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Sidney Lumet and Stanley Kubrick question the relationship between technology and humanity by emphasizing mankind's tendency to create machines that cannot be adequately

Explanatory Essay

1037 words - 5 pages Not every event has a guaranteed outcome- sometimes, one has to take a gamble in the game of life. There are some, however, who would prefer to travel within the safe, confined lane of actions with a definite outcome. Deciding whether or not to take risks in life can be tricky, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” This quote means that people should take risks in

The Cloning Debate

945 words - 4 pages nucleus may not be compatible ■An egg with a newly transferred nucleus may not begin to divide or develop properly ■Implantation of the embryo into the surrogate mother might fail ■The pregnancy itself might fail”(Genetic Science Learning Center)” Already animals are being cloned for food. Some agree, but no one has a way of knowing if it is safe to eat. But even knowing this people are trying to get approved by the FDA. I mean, Dolly was one

My Educational Philosophy Statement

497 words - 2 pages unconfident. Teacher may fail in their attempts to teach but eventually the teacher learns teaching style, philosophies, and beliefs. The teacher will soon learns "to skate" without falling.� My philosophy are based on a Progressive style. I recognize that students have abilities and disabilities but they all can learn. School should be a sanctuary for all students. School should be a safe- haven for both the students and teachers. Teachers hold the

Senior Citizen Driving

554 words - 2 pages that not only are other drivers safe but them as well.One possible solution that has been considered to cure the nations problem is to simply remove them from the road. This is how it would work. First, a proposal would be put into action that required the entire nation to widen each and every sidewalk in America. Next, all senior citizens would be required to pass an yearly exam proving that they could drive by the current standards. If for any

Distinguish the pricing of service from product

648 words - 3 pages " non- returnable". Whereas, customers can return, reuse, resale, exchange or alter the product (Groth, 1995). When marketers fail to meet customer expectation, customer probably may not accept the compensation or offer a second chance to the marketers to provide the service. Besides that, "services unlike products, where business can often have spare parts or fail- safe systems, services do not lend themselves to replacement." (Docters et al

Animal Testing is Necessary, but Should All Testing of Pharmaceuticals be Carried Out on Animals?

931 words - 4 pages drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.” ( Conclusion Testing of pharmaceuticals needs to be performed to determine if the drugs are safe for humans. Animal testing is needed to test the side effects on the organism as a whole and to find cures of diseases. However there are negatives with drugs declared safe

AIG Failures

1086 words - 4 pages in the late 1990s, the AIGFP discovered a new way to make money. A new financial tool known as a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) became prevalent among large investment banks and other large institutions. CDOs lump various types of debt - from the very safe to the very risky - into one bundle. The various types of debt are known as tranches. Many large investors holding mortgage-backed securities created CDOs, which included tranches

breaking people - Religion - research paper

1121 words - 5 pages department of immigration has sent out hundreds of letters demanding applications – complex 60-page forms that must be completed in English – be finalised within 60 or 30 or 14 days. Final reminder to apply for a Temporary Protection visa or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa by The Guardian on Those who fail to meet the deadline risk losing any welfare payments, the right to work, the right to healthcare or even the right to ever apply for

Similar Essays

The Cold War Essay

1842 words - 7 pages what we have in life we always want more. This is more commonly defined as an arms race, and can be easily recognized as the start of the cold war. Both the Soviet Union and the United States have the power to essentially destroy everything. The posing question is who would have the guts, and who could deal with the guilt of killing so many innocent people. The two films released in (1964) Dr. Strangelove and Fail-Safe, addressed the issues of

Cafeteria Food Essay

764 words - 4 pages in schools and on campuses. I think that cafeteria food is not safe to eat. Every time you take a bite you are harming your health. Unhealthy cafeteria food is a problem for countless reasons. Eating unhealthy foods at school at an early age can lead to bad eating habits for the rest of your life. This leads to obesity in children, and continuing to adults. “Currently over two thirds of states in America have obesity rates. For adults over twenty

Review Accelerating Corporate Transformations

1320 words - 5 pages barriers.Any successful transformation of company can be characterized by the faster execution, focus on few goals, periodic reviews and team work form top to bottom. Whereas many transformation initiatives of companies fail because of lack of people buy in for such initiatives, as they are the ones who will execute the vision into reality. They become recalcitrant and disengage themselves. CEO' with grand vision many a times fail to understand this fact

Cold War Essay

1782 words - 7 pages , it's a serious political movie about the cold war and the tension between soviet union and United States. American bomber planes which are totally controlled by computers pass the fail safe point with no return by a wrong command of attack and pilots are trained for not to take commands from the president but to throw hydrogen bombs to Moscow. This is another movie which shows the context of the cold war and it's really succesfull, showing s how