Summary Of The Great Influenza By John Barry

512 Words3 Pages
Scientific Research and the Unknown Scientific research can be defined using a number of different methods. John M. Barry writes about the scientific process in The Great Influenza, and he uses several different tactics in characterizing it. Barry uses metaphors and unusual syntax in order to characterize scientific research as uncertain and unknown. Barry compares scientific research to venturing into the wilderness in order to characterize it as a journey into the unknown. He begins this comparison by explaining that the best scientists “move deep into a wilderness region where they know almost nothing, where the very tools and techniques needed to clear the wilderness, to bring order to it, do not exist” (Barry 26-29). Barry introduces…show more content…
One example of this is Barry’s use of anaphora. Barry says that “uncertainty creates weakness. Uncertainty makes one tentative if not fearful, and tentative steps, even when in the right direction, may not overcome significant obstacles” (Barry 2-5). Barry’s repetition of “uncertainty” draws attention to this section of the essay, and allows him to contrast certainty and uncertainty. This characterization of uncertainty as something that creates weakness also shows the courage of scientists, and shows how scientific research can be unsettled. Barry also uses questions to show the mysterious nature of scientific research. When talking about how a scientist must find the proper tools to use, Barry asks, “Would a pick be best, or would dynamite be better - or would dynamite be too indiscriminately destructive? If the rock is impenetrable, if dynamite would destroy what one is looking for, is there another way of getting information about what the rock holds” (Barry 40-45). Barry asks several questions, but does not answer them. This shows that scientists must also ask a lot of questions, therefore showing how many unknown factors exist in
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