Response to Gerard and Norris

Philip Gerard’s “What They Don’t Tell You About Hurricanes” details the intimate struggles that victims of hurricanes must combat as a result of natural disaster. Gerard’s tone is caustic, tinged with a mocking disdain for the objectivity of how the news media reports on natural disaster. The first half of the essay reads as a news report, incorporating statistics and figures such as “34 degrees 12 minutes north latitude” (223), “eighty-five knot winds and a tidal surge of six feet” (225), and “15 hours” (225). These empirical figures are juxtaposed with Gerard’s later intimate stories of struggles, such as the “times when you have to dodge out into the maelstrom of wind and flying debris and back across the lawns to check outside of your house” (226). Gerard tries to convey his dissatisfaction with the media coverage associated with the actual storm, rather than with the people who are left in shambles as a result of the storm. This is demonstrated by Gerard’s mention of his boat, the Savoire-Fair, which “lay impaled on a piling, sunk by the bows, only her mast and transom rising above the dirty water” (229). Ironically, “savoire-faire” is a French termed coined as the ability to act accordingly regardless of the situation. In this situation, the boat is able to rise above the debris, which symbolizes the resilience that these victims display in the face of sudden disaster.

Similarly, Kathleen Norris’ “Rain” displays the unpredictable patterns of nature. Norris describes rain as being both a blessing and a curse; its presence vital, its absence and abundance harmful. Norris and Gerard both view the rain as an unpredictable force, its aftermath both beautiful and disastrous. Stylistically, both authors employ the use of  syntax in order to mimic the effect of rain. Both authors use an abundance of commas, which can be attributed to literary rain drops: “I did not know about rain, that it could come too hard, too soft, too hot, too cold, too early, too late” (221).

Both essays are reminiscent of Hurricane Sandy, its aftermath still sending ripples throughout the community: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/07/nyregion/displaced-by-hurricane-sandy-and-living-in-limbo-instead-of-at-home.html?_r=0.

This New York Times article demonstrates the “forgotten” ones, who have lost homes as a result of Sandy. The article captures similar ideas congruent with Norris’ view of news coverage. Television stations had a media blitz covering the devastation of Sandy, but the aftermath of the storm is granted little attention: “in the areas in and around New York City that were hit hardest by the storm, almost half of the people who received assistance from FEMA got less than $5,000.” This information is startling, as those who have lost homes are only compensated at a fraction of the original price of their home, and are given little money towards reparation.

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