The Ignorance of Youth

We kids were not as afraid as we should have been. We were too young to be scared, too immersed in our own small worlds, too convinced of our own permanence. (pg 45)

In the beginning chapters of Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles, we meet Julia, a twelve-year-old who guides us through the end of her world. In this apocalyptic novel, the earth's rotation has begun to slow, causing the days and nights to lengthen incrementally. Scientists predict that the slowing will impact weather patterns, leading to earthquakes and tsunamis and cause animal and plant die-outs. In addition to physical effects on the planet, Julia and her family are beginning to experience a "[disruption of] certain subtler trajectories: the tracks of friendship...the paths toward and away from love". (pg 33) 

In one instance, Julia experiences bullying by a classmate and explains that it is due to a shifting in the social order (she'd never been harassed before). If a catastrophic event such as this were to occur, this seems to be a realistic prospect. Since many people would likely disappear and move elsewhere, a new class system would inevitably be created.

Additionally, the forming of friendships and romantic relationships would likely be accelerated. People would panic and feel the need to make the most of the time they had left.

Despite these reactions, however, young people would likely not respond with fear. In youth, people have an overriding sense of immortality and are too concerned with their own circumstances to be afraid of the threats that the outside world poses. This is not a bad thing, rather it allows young people to possess a sense of security and enables them to take the academic and economic risks that make them successful as they age.

If I were living during the "age of miracles" and, consequently, facing the end of the world, I'm sure that I would panic at first. However, as time wore on, like Julia, I would continue to live life as normally as possible. It is of paramount importance that we savor the time we have remaining- no matter how short it may be.

The End

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