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Books

A Reading Response To The Hot Zone By Richard Preston

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Hot Zone is based on a true story. There are many characters in the story. Charles Monet dies of Marburg. Nancy Jaax is a character who appears all through the book. Some characters are mentioned briefly before they die or the author moves on and introduces another character. The book introduces viruses and what they do and how they came to be. At one point, Washington D.C. is threatened with a virus that could spread through the whole country and wipe out the human race.

As I read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, I may say this is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read, although in the end it gave me the sense of fear. The author uses sensory imagery and symbolism to explain various terms all through the novel. This is what I really liked and found interesting in the novel. For example, the monkeys are a symbol of death. When Ebola was first discovered, it was discovered in these animals. People who had to transport the monkeys wore space suits. They had to take all kinds of precautions because Ebola was an airborne disease that could easily infect humans and kill them. The space suits symbolize a wall or a barrier. It is a source of protection. If the space suit tears, disease can creep in and cause sickness and death. Viruses easily spread. If there were no space suits, humans feel insecure and completely unprotected.

In the novel, the author uses death as a very important theme. This death theme occurs all through the book. Preston portrays death as something that is unforeseen, unforgiving, and something that can happen to all life forms. Death is everywhere in the book. Both Charles Monet and Nurse Mayinga die from viruses. Death to humans is very important. It’s also very emotional. The monkeys are dying all throughout the book as well. Monkeys died from Ebola, and were euthanized by the scientists and by people from the monkey house. Many monkeys died. In the monkey house, 450 monkeys were euthanized to suppress Ebola Reston. It’s sad that there was no other choice for the monkeys. Their lives were ended quick and in a hurry.

Throughout the whole book, fear plays a very important role. It plays a part in most every character in the book. Dan Dalgard was afraid of losing control of the situation. Specialist Rhonda Williams had fear during encounters with the monkey in the monkey house. Peter Jahrling was frightened of catching Ebola virus from inhaling the flask that contained Ebola. People in the army panicked that Ebola could go airborne. Everyone had something to fear. As I reflect on this, fear can also save your life. Fear can stop you from getting on a rollercoaster, or surfing in the Pacific Ocean. Fear can stop you from flying in an airplane to a country that’s on your bucket list. To help you with fear, you take precautions. You make sure you’re strapped in well on the rollercoaster. You fly on an airline that has a good safety rating. In this way, you are taking precautions. As for the situation in The Hot Zone, people are afraid of Ebola so they take precautions. They create warnings and they create vaccines to stop the virus.

As I reflect on the current situation with Covid-19, I too have fear. The news reports daily on the world’s quest for a vaccine. Reports keep coming in stating that health officials are testing vaccines on humans. The President says we can have a vaccine in a few months. Doctors say there is no way to do this. This creates fear among myself and my friends. We discuss things like: 1) How do you know this vaccine test won’t kill the person being tested? 2) How do you know if this vaccine will work? 3) How do you know how long this vaccine will last? 4) Will there be enough for all Americans? 5) Will the racism in America keep certain races from getting the vaccine once it is approved? All kinds of questions come up in my mind. I never thought in my lifetime that I would see an invisible disease bring an entire globe to a standstill. The whole world is suffering from Covid-19. It is deadly and keeps on killing. You go to bed and there are 9,000 deaths in the United States. You wake up and there are 10,000 deaths. It is scary and real.

Everything about The Hot Zone is surely a scary thought. Not only are these viruses deadly and incurable, they’re just something that I don’t want to have nor go through. It reminds me of what we’re going through right now with the Covid-19 virus. The symptoms of this virus are terrifying such as high fever, body aches, muscle pain, fatigue, hallucinations, blood clots, etc. So overall, The Hot Zone is an extremely well written book that leaves the reader uneasy in the stomach, fearing trips to Africa, but yet still wanting more! 

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