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The Nightmare Life Without Fuel

- Isaac Asimov

Nightmare life: traumatic, frightening, terrifying, terrible, dreadful, horrendous, nightmarish life

About Fuel Crisis

Suburb: residential area bordering city: a district, especially a residential one, on the edge of a city or large town.

The essay “The Nightmare Life Without Fuel” by Isaac Asimov shows what will life be like when fuel has almost run out. The scene is the United States of America in the future, at a time when fuel has run out. People no longer drive cars, but ride bicycles instead. There are some advantages of not enough fuel like, the air will be cleaner, there will be less crime, mutual protection in crowds, and people will have learnt to live without facilities in a natural way. But, the essay is mainly concerned with the problems caused by the shortage of fuel. The problems are:

There will be less light in the street and homes
There will not be even possible luxuries
Because of the difficulty in transportation, it will be hard to go for miles

1. According to the author, what will be the advantage of the fuel crisis?

Ans: To begin with it should be very clear that there’s no advantage at all of the fuel crisis. Still, however, the writer has mentioned some advantages of it. But, they are mentioned ironically.

The first advantage of the fuel crisis is that the air will be cleaner and there will be no air pollution. People will have fewer colds. People will walk freely in the streets and there will be no danger of accidents. The parks will be full. On top of everything, people will communicate with each other freely and more frequently. There will be fewer crimes and the policemen will be back to their beats.

On the other hand, there will be peace in the world. Only the United States and the Soviet Union will have some airplanes, ships, and tankers. Even these countries will not be able to use such things. People will use things like sweaters, blankets and they will have fresh air in summer. People will complete their daily activities by the evening and will go to beds early at nights.

There are many disadvantages of the fuel crisis. All the scientific progress will come to a stop. The factories will be closed and there will be full unemployment. At the same time, there will be a total lack of different products in the market.

Due to the lack of transportation, people of one end of the world will die out of hunger whereas there will be food supply in the other part of the world. Similarly, medicines also cannot be sent from one part of the world to another. In those countries where there will be lack of food, thousands of people will suffer from malnutrition and brain damage. All the activities will come to an end. Machines will be replaced by the physical labor of human muscles and animals. In short, all the scientific progress will stop and human civilization will go back to the time before the industrial revolution or Stone Age.

2. In Asimov’s essay, what is happening in the rest of the world as America struggles without fuel?

Ans: The writer shows a very dismal picture of the rest of the world as America struggles without fuel. People will be starving in many parts of the world. Perhaps, not more than one in five will have enough to eat. There will be a high rate of infant mortality. Due to the lack of food, there will be many cases of permanent brain damage by undernutrition. So much so, many such people will have to be killed out of mercy.

*3. What does the author mean when he says, “the suburbs were born with the auto, lived with the auto, and are dying with the auto.”

Ans: People who live in suburbs have many problems. In one word, we can say that their entire life depends upon autos. For every little thing, may it be food or medicines, books or other commodities, they depend on autos. They carry all these things from the nearby towns by autos. In that case, it will be quite difficult for them to carry things, particularly food from towns. Otherwise, they will be almost on the verge/threshold/entrance of death.

*4. What kinds of serious problems could a fuel shortage cause?

Ans: i) No normal life ii) No food iii) No transportation iv) No industries v) No production vi) No employment vii) No civilization viii) Malnutrition ix) Brain damage x) No Medicines xi) Difficult to sustain our life

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