Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts
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Jessica Bessette
Saul Bellow: The Importance of Male Role Models
The Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Accident
 
Saul Bellow
The use of nuclear energy evolved from scientistsí first creation of nuclear energy for warlike purposes, such as the atomic and hydrogen bombs, to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Even nuclear reactor buildings built for peaceful purposes, however, held their dangers. If a nuclear building had any construction flaws, an accident could occur. The Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident of 1986 was an example of a reactor building built with construction flaws. The high levels of radiation hurt humans, the environment and animals. Children were diagnosed with thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure; the environment, especially the soil was contaminated with nuclear particles, and animals had birth defects and abnormalities. Organizations were created to provide relief for those affected. For example, The Children of Chernobyl Organization was established to provide relief for children, who were directly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. Many of the children came to the United States for medical treatment for their cancer. The organization allowed children to stay in the United States with host families . Despite serious damages and other consequences of the nuclear reactor accident, the Chernobyl disaster did help create government safety regulations that would ensure the safety of all nuclear reactor buildings against any possible chances of radiation leaks in the future.
Saul Bellow, an author of Russian descent, values the importance of male role models in his novels. The male role modelís main responsibility is to act as a constant support, guiding another, younger male character through difficult choices and at the same time helping him shape who he is to become. The main problem that the younger male characters face throughout his novels result from their damaged relationships with their fathers. In Seize the DayTommy Wilhem faces problems with his father. His father does not support Tommy in the choices that he makes. They lack the communication that makes a healthy father and son relationship. The solution to his problem is an alternative father figure, who is Dr. Tamkin. In More Die of Heartbreak, Ken faces problems with his father accepting his career as a professor. The solution to his problem is an alternative father figure, who is his uncle, Ben Crader. In The Adventures of Augie March, the main problem that Augie faces is an absence of a true family, especially a father figure. The solution to his problem is two alternative father figures, Mr. Einhorn and Mr. Rening. Male role models play an essential role in the development of the younger male characters, by guiding and encouraging them in everything that they do.

Major Work Consulted:

Bellow, Saul Seize the Day. New York: Viking, 1956.
--. The Adventures of Augie March. New York: Viking, 1953.
"Soviet Secrets 15 Dec. 2000 htpp://www.belarusnews.de/nachricten/archive/chernobyl/secret_151200_en.shtml>(13 Feb.2003). Macaulay, David. New Way Things Work. USA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.
Picture Credit: Dictionary Of World Biography The 20th Century.Vol. 7 Salem Press, 1999.
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