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coastiegirl96's avatar

Possible solutions offered by characters in the play...

Asked by coastiegirl96 (630 points ) March 25th, 2012

Okay, so in English we have to submit a paper saying the solutions offered by the characters in “An Enemy of the People” I honestly don’t get this at all. Anyone, help! Please!! I have to finish English by tomorrow!

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3 Answers

josie's avatar

Did you read it? It is pretty simple. A town tries to make money from tourists by offering healing and relaxing baths. A local doctor discovers the water is contaminated and may be harmful. Everybody has an idea about how to handle the problem. Only one of them advocates being honest about it. Simply reading the play will tell you how the others want to handle it.
Sort of like the story in the book and movie “Jaws”. Anyway, the assignment is easy. I bet you didnt read it. You should. It is a terrific study of the ad populum fallacy.

Kardamom's avatar

Did you read the book? I’m afraid I haven’t read it, so I can’t give you any specifics. Are you just having a difficult time figuring out what is meant by “solutions”?

If you have read the book, take out a sheet of paper and write down the names of the main characters. As Josie said, the water is contaminated. Write down what each of the characters says should happen to fix the situation. Do any of the characters take any actions or make any comments about what they think they could do to solve the problem of the contaminated water or what is best for their town (right or wrong)? Is fixing the problem the right thing for the town’s economy? I just read a summary and it looks like there’s some good people and bad people. Just write down what they think about the situation.

SmashTheState's avatar

@josie The problem isn’t ad populum, it’s a failure to properly apply vox populi. A person’s right to participate in a decision is directly proportionate to the amount the decision will affect hir. In this case, the problem is that while the town will be affected, so too will those who use the contaminated water, and so they, too, must be permitted a voice in the decision.

Human beings are logical creatures. We don’t act without reason. Voting in favour of one’s logical self-interest is only a problem when the distribution of executive decision-making power is vested in only some of the people involved. The anarchist solution has always been to show people that their own long-term best interests are served when everyone involved is given the opportunity to shape policy to the degree that they are involved at all.

To the OP: If you want some serious bonus points, you might try working a summary of the exchange that @josie and I just had into your essay.. It will show you understand not only the material, but the subtext of the material.

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