Natural disasters are things that are really terrifying and deadly. They mostly kill thousands and millions of people and destroy our homes. How would you feel when one happens where you live? You might be extremely scared. You'll even want to rely on somebody like your parent. “Earthquake”, a short story written by Jack Hodgins, is about what people experience and what happens during an earthquake.
In the story, a boy, who is the protagonist, gives a detailed account on what happened in his town during the earthquake, what happened to his uncles Neddie and Tobias Desmond, and one that occurred when he was eight years old. Uncle Neddie is a guy who was startled and terrified due to a strange coincidence, which was the earthquake beginning at the same time as he pulled the inaugural switch of his electric fence. Uncle Tobias is a guy who witnesses a lake entirely draining down the crack during an earthquake, which makes him exhilarated and incessantly talk about it. After referring to their stories, the boy tells his own experience as a narrator.
The earthquake began at morning. Milk was sloshing in the pail and the chimney was breaking down. The boy was so scared that he thought that it was the end of the world. His brother was giggling as if it was an entertainment, though his mother was screaming. They tried to escape, and got out to the verandah.
I'd like to know, still believing that the earth would stay steady beneath
your feet forever, fathers stay capable for heroic rescues forever,
mothers stay calm in any sort of emergency forever, and houses you
lived in stay solid and still and safe and true till the end of time? (335)
The passage above shows what the boy thought during the earthquake. Since he had reached the age of reason, he was able to realize that the earth beneath his feet can't stay steady forever and his parents aren't always heroic and calm in a way that keeps him away from danger. This passage shows the boy's epiphany, which is the theme of the story, that your parents can't always protect you. Ultimately, it means that a person must take care of him/herself and be responsible.
After a while, the earthquake stopped and the family got together. They see their house collapsed. After 15 minutes, Uncle Neddie and his housekeeper Grace came to see how much damage had been done. Uncle Neddie tells them about the strange coincidence that frightened him, and everyone laughs. Soon, when Uncle Tobias comes along, the boy's father says, “You see anything here that's changed?” (358), which is a joke. This part implies another theme of the story, which is laughing although having a hard. This means that maintaining a positive attitude will helps you overcome problems. During the frightening and tense moment of earthquake, the boy must have learned many things.
The story is about the boy and his uncles' experiences during an earthquake. During the earthquake, he started to be aware that he can't always be protected. After the earthquake, the whole family feels relief and talk to each other. The boy's father even makes a joke, which shows people laughing, to get over the damage. This story shows how life can be or how life is very well. The world is not merely a safe place, and sometimes we'll have to laugh and be optimistic, even though we're facing hardship.