In this first person narrative, I recount my personal experience family holiday on the Gold Coast in Australia. On this afternoon, I received the phone call telling me that I had been cast as Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone who was one of my dream roles.
The scent of sand and salt drifted through the pushed open window, in an attempt to cool down our humid hotel room. I laid chest down upon my stiff, stubborn bed with my small portable DVD player doing a balancing act on the curved edge next to me. As my eyes fixated on the programme, my fingers danced around the headphone cord, I had always struggled to sit still. While the episode began to reach its climax, I grew more enticed into what could possibly happen next.
Ping! Ping! Ping! The ringing of a familiar tune echoed through the apartment from my mum’s chirping phone. With a grunt and a thud, my mother’s footsteps shook the ground like an aftershock as she got up to answer her cellphone. Having been disturbed, I pushed my finger along the rigid volume dial, increasing the volume to tune out from her predictably loud conversation.
Moments past and those same footsteps that had paced to answer the phone began to draw closer to my room. My heart lept into my throat. Could this be the phone call I had been anticipating? As she walked into the room, my mum couldn’t help herself grinning from ear to ear. She held out her arm. “It’s for you.” I grabbed the phone in an pseudo calm manner and firmly clutched it to my ear. This was the moment I had eagerly been waiting months for. This was the moment I would finally learn my fate.
A brief amount of small talk went by before the lady on the other end of the phone began to reveal the casting news. Her bright voice dropped in pace as she slowly began to talk. “We had a lot of talented people audition and unfortunately we couldn’t cast everyone.” My heart numbed and my head churned with emotions. The role I spent months dreaming of began fading out of reach. I cleared my throat and let the words tentatively squeaked from my mouth, “yeah, I understand.” Accepting my heartbreak seemed like my only option.
Despite feeling helpless, the woman continued to talk: “but we’ve cast you as Fat Sam.” Within a heartbeat, all thoughts left my mind. Had I heard correctly? I sat riveted on the edge of my messy bed. I couldn’t speak. I didn’t know what to say. “Pardon me?”
“You’re Fat Sam!” she chuckled, knowing the passion I had about wanting this role. A newborn energy jolted through my veins. My silence turned and filled the room with an awkward laughter. “Holy crap, thank you so much!” The tense grip I once had on the phone was lost as it loosely sat in the palm of my quivering hand. My chest collapsed as life returned to my body. I still could not contain my laughter and excitement.
As the news slowly sunk into my brain, I heard the faint sound of another voice talking. I held the phone tightly to my ear once again to realise that the new voice belonged to the director I would soon be working with. In a flustered state I tried calming myself down to listen to what she was rushing to tell me but it was too late. Her words of advice were over before I knew she had started, leaving me eagerly wanting to know what had been said. As she handed the phone back to the first woman, thanking words spilled from my tongue once more as we mutually ended the call. The buzz of excitement and anticipation still bounced around my stomach.
Slowly, my legs shifted towards the window. I let my eyes gaze across the tall, winding buildings of the foreign city. A light breeze from the open window softly filled my grinning face. Still full of energy, I burst down the hall into the living area. Both parents sat on the couch with large boggling eyes waiting in anticipation. My smiling cheeks ached before I could deliver the news. The words I longed to say now filled my beaming mouth. “I got it. I got the part.”
This piece is written in the form of a fictitious blogpost from a student my age who has just read the book ‘Alive.’ It’s primary purpose is to inform the readers on cannibalism and wether or not it could be considered natural.
Having recently read Piers Paul Read’s book Alive based on the 1972 survival story of the Andes plane crash, I was intrigued by the thought of the survivors resulting in cannibalism as a food source. While this action was essential for the group to survive, after further research I have found evidence to show that cannibalism may be more in our nature than we care to think. To some surprise, in modern society, there is still evidence of people who currently act on cannibalism. Although this action is seen by society as being vulgar, could cannibalism still be a part of our human nature?
The book Alive portrays a ‘real life’ example of a group of people being forced into facing the decision to eat human flesh. This situation was one that a majority of the survivors initially struggled with, believing it was against their religious morals. During the initial conversation about eating the dead, Marcelo began asking “what have we done that God asks us to eat the bodies of our dead friends?” From questioning his religion, the readers can understand how deep the emotional impact is of having to turn to cannibalism. Even in a ‘life or death’ situation, cannibalism is still something that many people would struggle with, as seen by Marcelo. Although some were less willing to eat the flesh of their deceased friends, others were more open to the idea. When the suggestion of cannibalism first arose, Dominic stated “if that was the only way to stay alive…I would eat anything.” The author used this quote to show the contrasted opinions as some consider their own survival before their moral code.
After reading a series of online articles, I learnt that cannibalism lies more in our roots than we care to think. One article titled ’10 Engrossing Facts About Cannibalism’ stated that “evidence says our ancestors had cannibalistic tendencies as far back as 800,000 years ago.” This evidence shows that humans cannibalistic traits date back to our early ancestors and is believed that eating other people may have been a regular custom. The same article goes into further detail by telling readers that “the average human adult provides 30 kilograms (66 lb) of food, including fat, muscle, organs, and skin.” This helps to explain why some people turn to cannibalism as the average body contains plenty of food, particularly to those in a survival situation. In an article called ‘Survival Cannibalism’ the author spoke of cannibalism found in our closest relatives, chimpanzees. He mentioned that “in 1976, primatologist Jane Goodall witnessed two females (chimpanzees)…eat three baby chimps.” This shocking information shows that cannibalism is not only embedded in human nature but animals as well. By seeing that our closest relatives have been known to result in cannibalism, this could mean that as humans we could possibly have the potential to act in the same manner. All this evidence points to the fact that cannibalism may in fact be part of our natural survival instincts.
Although cannibalism is no longer common, there are still instances discovered in modern society. An online news source about survival cannibalism mentioned that “as of 2006, the Korowai were one of very few tribes still believed to eat human flesh as a cultural practice.” The tribe believes that they are eating demons who posses the bodies of other tribe members. As it is part of their religion, they do not see cannibalism as being bad, instead they see it as ‘cleansing their tribe.’ Another source discussed where cannibalism is found in the modern society. The article mentions that in 2012 “a Brazilian trio killed a woman and sold empanadas made from her flesh.” Unlike the previous religious example, this was done because the three Brazilians took pleasure from murdering a woman and selling her as flesh anonymous of the meats true substance. There are many reasons why people turn to cannibalism. For some, like the Andes Survivors, people become cannibalistic as a result of needing to survive. Others however eat human flesh for religious reasons or more gruesome, for their own enjoyment.
The text Alive written by Piers Paul Read peaked my interest about wether cannibalism was a natural human trait. In Alive, the group of survivors were forced to eat the flesh of the deceased as their crash location offered no other sources of food. Cannibalistic traits have been found in humans dating back thousands of years. These traits have also been spotted in chimpanzees, further adding to the idea that cannibalism may be part of our nature. In modern society, tribes and small groups of people still practise cannibalism. An article published by the World Heritage Encyclopaedia discussed the reasons why people resort to cannibalism in a survival state. The author used evolutionary theorist Lewis Petrinovich as its primary source of information. According to the article, Petrinovich’s theory states that humans resort to cannibalism “in times of extreme famine because our basic instinct to survive overtakes our usual revulsion.” This helps to prove that although cannibalism would be unnatural for someone living in our society, it may be natural for someone in an extreme life or death situation.
Alive: Piers Paul Read