Day of Triffids

Topics: Blindness, The Day of the Triffids, Human Pages: 3 (1201 words) Published: November 11, 2013
Although written in the 1950s during the Cold War, in “The Day of the Triffids” John Wyndham raises relevant questions regarding the manipulation of nature and proliferation of space armaments.  He weds the two concerns and creates an entertaining, thought-provoking story based on a credible “what if”. What if a new – perhaps man-made – form of life thrust itself forward at the same time as a space catastrophe – also perhaps man-made – occurred? The new form of life is a carnivorous and mobile plant called a triffid which is cultivated for its valuable oil.  It grows higher than a man and has a stinger which delivers a venom which in small quantities can blind but in larger quantities can kill.  Because they can “walk”, triffids are usually tethered.  However, the oil for which they are cultivated is of higher quality if the stinger is not removed, so it is usually left intact. The space catastrophe comes in the form of a comet shower which is incredibly beautiful to watch but which causes blindness within several hours.  Because blindness is delayed, much of the planet wakes up the morning after the comet shower unable to see.  When most of humanity is blind, it also becomes obvious that triffids not only can move, but they also have some intelligence, or at least animal cunning. The story follows Bill Mason, who is employed in the triffid industry and misses the blinding comet shower because he is already hospitalized with temporary blindness due to a triffid sting.  He wakes up the morning after the comet shower in hospital to discover the world has gone silent, except for distant moans and screams.   Freeing his eyes from the bandages which were, in any case, to have been removed that day, he emerges into the street to discover the extent of the tragedy; he also soon realises the extent of the danger to anyone who is still sighted.  Unable to find food, as sanitation and power break down quickly without maintenance, the blind become desperate and the cities...
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