Presentation on theme: "“The Cold Equations” Socratic Seminar. Marilyn admits to having read the sign stating that “Any stowaway discovered in an EDS shall be jettisoned immediately."— Presentation transcript:
“The Cold Equations” Socratic Seminar
Marilyn admits to having read the sign stating that “Any stowaway discovered in an EDS shall be jettisoned immediately following discovery.” Does this admission make you any more or less sympathetic to her situation? Does this admission make you any more or less angry with Barton? Does this admission make you any more or less angry with the law?
Marilyn says, “I knew I would be breaking some kind of a regulation when I did it.” Does her desire to see her brother override the necessity to follow the law? Is the law too harsh? What does this law teach us about compassion versus technology? What lesson is the author trying to teach us?
Marilyn explains how she entered the ship by saying, “I just sort of walked in when no one was looking my way.” Does the lack of security make you feel more or less sympathetic to her situation? Does the lack of security make you feel more or less sympathetic to Barton’s role in her fate? What do you feel this lack of security says about society’s view of the worth of human life?
This story forces us to look at ethical dilemmas and impossible decisions. Would it matter if there was only one stranded astronaut instead of three? Why or why not? – Is it defensible to actively kill one person in order to save another? Would it matter if the person you had been sent to rescue was a known criminal? – Is it defensible to choose who will live or die, or do we have to rely on the rules of society to make those decisions for us?
Barton feels badly for Marilyn, but he is forced to follow the law in order to save his own life, as well as those of the other astronauts’. Could you actively participate in the death of someone in order to save yourself? What if the person you had to kill was your own child? What if there were no way to save you both…either you killed your child, or you both died?
One of the themes addressed in the story is the greater good of society. Could you kill in order to protect a societal need? What if the child is the child of the person you are to save, and the person you have been ordered to save has told you explicitly he/she would rather die than have his/her child sacrificed in an attempt at rescue? What if the above scenario were true, but the person you are to save is your own space colony's sole doctor -- who in turn will be able to save others, whereas the uneducated child is actually of no asset to your colony? What if you yourself require treatment by the doctor or you will die?
Barton is haunted by Marilyn’s plea, “I didn’t do anything to die for…” Did Marilyn do anything that deserved death? How responsible is Marilyn for her own demise? Would you feel any differently if the person who were stranded had become so because of his/her own stupidity/recklessness? – Is it any better to let someone die because of their own mistake than to actively participate in their death?