Disaster In Amanda Ripley's The Unthinkable

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Disaster strikes when we least expect it and when we’re the least prepared. Life or death situations that leave us wondering “why?”. My own brush with death still puzzles me to this day; why was everything so slow? The car ride was slick in the dead of winter. The winding road looked wet from the previous rain storm, but instead was covered with a thin layer of black ice. The old ford lurched off the road and climbed a hill adjacent to the road, only to roll back down and land roof first into the icy terrain. As I was hanging upside down, dangling by my seatbelt, I could feel blood dripping onto my face. I remember the buzzing in my head, my mom screaming my name, but I couldn’t reply. Everything was in slow motion. The firefighters shining light into my eyes, the ambulance sirens blaring, my dad rushing to us after hearing the news. In Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable, she explores why disasters happen and what happens in people's mind during these events. She places these actions on her Survival Arc, which she created through research. You could experience denial, deliberation or the decisive moment during disaster. Our bodies have certain hard-wired physical responses which allows us to all…show more content…
Common in scuba divers and firefighters, people will rip their oxygen source away from their mouth in a panic, a strange bodily reaction. Ripley states “the other divers saw Stich...rip his air regulator out of his mouth for no reason” (160). The same tragedy occurs in firefighters on the job “who are on occasion found dead with their oxygen tanks in good-working order” (Ripley 161). This fits Ripley’s arc of denial. These people believe that they are suffocating (when they in fact are not) and rip away their life source, they’re in denial about being OK. The consequence of this arc is fear. Divers and firefighters alike fear suffocation even when the mask “suffocating” them, is keeping them
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