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Eagleman's Sum Review

In: English and Literature

Submitted By bcald011
Words 933
Pages 4
People often question what will happen once life ends. Some believe they will go to heaven, while others believe they will simply decompose; nevertheless, one common thread amongst these questions is if one will ever find the meaning of life. David Eagleman, in his book Sum, explores and sheds light on various possibilities of the afterlife, through which he criticizes the society of today (human condition). Eagleman writes in a forthright tone, which then shifts into a more reflective and critical one as he reaches the climax of each “tale” or vignette in order to effectively bring into perspective the “here and now” of life. Eagleman structures Sum as a collection of vignettes in order to leave space for ambiguity. This ambiguity, in turn, is what brings about the reflections upon the human condition as well as the criticisms on society. For instance, Eagleman, in his vignette “Subjunctive,” brings forward the idea that in the afterlife, one will “not be judged against other people, but rather against oneself” (104). He states that the better or more accomplished versions of one will be everywhere to remind one of certain aspects of life in which they failed, or did not reach their highest potential; while the lesser versions of one will also be there to inspire some degree of haughtiness. Nevertheless, Eagleman does not specifically state which version one will end up being in said afterlife, nor does he bring about this idea to be condescending toward the reader. On the other hand, Eagleman is simply trying to make the reader reflect upon their own life choices thus far, effectively making them wonder what version of themselves these choices will lead them to be. Furthermore, not only does Eagleman put into perspective what one’s choices will eventually lead to; through vignettes such as the one stated above; but he also criticizes the triviality through…...

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