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"Clan of the One Breasted Women," and "Just Married."

Updated on October 25, 2020

Following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world began to grow weary over the use of nuclear weapons and the growing concern over the use of nuclear weapons by other countries began. “The Clan of One-Breasted Women” by Terry Tempsett Williams and “Just Married” by Brady Udell explore the consequences and effects of unbridled nuclear testing. Both follow the aftermath of an explosion of a nuclear bomb and the hardships each character face from Terry Tempsett Williams and other peoples' battle with breast cancer from the exposure of the radiation from the nuclear bomb in “The Clan of the One-Breasted Women,” to the unfortunate plight of the people in “Just Married,” including the married couple “Beverly” and “Golden” who get caught in the explosion of nuclear bomb named “Roy” and the events leading up to the explosion from the point of view of the scientists and other personal working at the facility where “Roy” was detonated. Though both works share a similar focus on nuclear testing, each writer approaches the topic with contrasting style and technique.

“Clan of the One-Breasted Women,” for instance has a much more serious tone because it deals with the issue of women who suffer from breast cancer from the radiation of the fallout of a nuclear bomb and deals with the challenges the women face over many generations. Terry Tempsett Williams recalls from her father about living near a test site for nuclear weapons:"The bomb. The cloud. We were driving home from Riverside, California. You were sitting on your mother's lap. She was pregnant. In fact, I remember the date, September 7, 1957. We had just gotten out of the Service. We were driving north, past Las Vegas. It was an hour or so before dawn, when this explosion went off. We not only heard it, but felt it. I thought the oil tanker in front of us had blown up. We pulled over and suddenly, rising from the desert floor, we saw it clearly, this golden-stemmed cloud, the mushroom. The sky seemed to vibrate with an eerie pink glow. Within a few minutes, a light ash was raining on the car."

Another difference involves a fight against the United States government for the justice they were denied. Terry Tempsett Williams and her family were given assurances that "It has been found that the tests may be conducted with adequate assurance of safety under conditions prevailing at the bombing reservation. "Assuaging public fears was simply a matter of public relations. A news release typical of the times stated, "We find no basis for concluding that harm to any individual has resulted from radioactive fallout."

In contrast “Just Married,”begins with a wedding between “Golden” and “Beverly” two people who hardly know each other that just happen to get caught in the blast of a nuclear bomb named “Roy” and also follows the chain of events leading up to the disaster. Unlike “Clan of the One-Breasted Women,” the tone of this story is more humorous. “Just Married” first follows the point of view the two people who getting married then shifts to the point of view of the people who are getting ready to test the weapon. Scientists describe “Roy” as “a seventy-kiloton device five times more powerful than the sorry little firecracker that obliterated Hiroshima. He waited in a corrugated steel cab at the top of a heavily lighted four-hundred-foot tower that looked, in the predawn dark, as.cheery as a Christmas tree.” As the bomb begins to explode the story becomes more humorous when Udell described the explosion as “A drone carrying a capuchin monkey named Alice and a dozen white mice flew too low into the boiling cloud and was flash-burned in a cartoon puff of smoke.” Another contrast is that in this story individuals recognize the errors they made when the bomb went off “The scientists, miles away behind bombproof glass, knew immediately they had severely miscalculated; Roy was more awful, more viciously destructive than any of their most liberal predictions. They didn't cheer-they were scientists-but one of them called out, "Raises all around!" and another stepped behind a file cabinet and did a weird little feet-shuffling dance.”

The two stories approach the issue over the use of nuclear weapons using different styles and techniques. The stories showed the impact nuclear weapons have on people and how very little care was shown towards the lives of people who just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

© 2020 Nathan Neel


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