Easter Island

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In Jared Diamond's "Twilight at Easter," we travel across the mysterious Easter Island as he describes the most intriguing fact about this place: the island consists of monolithic stone statues that had once been found all over the island despite the apparent lack of means to create them or ways of transporting them to their different coastal locations. This central mystery of standing statues had been explored since the earliest recorded European contact by Jacob Rogeveen in 1722. While the mystery initially centered on why and how the statues were built on this denuded island, Diamond explores the mystery in modern terms and focuses on the environmental context, in particular the lack of trees that would have been used to sustain life in this remote place. Yet apart from the historical and scientific explanation of these people – seemingly so remote from us –Diamond makes striking and apparently strange direct comparisons with our way of life. In particular he mentions competition among islanders due to limited natural and economic resources; a competition present in today's society. How does this unusual strategy work in detail? And how does this strategy relate to the author's stated intention of using Easter Island as a metaphor for our own times?

After Diamond talks of the Spanish exploration in the middle of the piece, we see a direct remark about Hollywood. Diamond directly relates Easter Island's boasting characteristics to those of Hollywood's. The statues on the island became a symbol to gain "bragging rights." This competition is similar to the competition in Hollywood. For example, superstars will not settle for a house that is as big as another superstar's. The better star always has the better house! Living in Hollywood puts expectations on a person. This is one of the reason's Diamond emphasizes this specific detail. People on Easter Island have to live by the expectations of their surroundings. Once these enormous statues started to be...
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