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Assignment- Comment on your peers’ posts

Student Response 1

Jacob Oppenheimer-

Option 2

There are a number of factors that indicate the significance in the fact that the narrator of “ In the Year 2889” equates Fritz Napoleon Smith to the role of “king.” One factor is that he not only saved a failing paper but brought it to remarkable success. He is referred to as the “ king of newspaperdom.” After all, there are 85,000,000 subscribers to “Earth Chronicle” who, on a daily basis, receive the news from the editor. He is like a king with his subjects, makes decisions about their lives by they should be aware of. Like a dictator, Smith controls distribution of the news and determines what is worth making public or kept from the same public.

A second way that the narrator equates Smith with being a king is by the types of people who come begging to speak with him so he can use his power on their behalf. They range from artists to businessmen to diplomats to scientists. They all want something from him. That something is to be included in articles establishing their importance and their proposals. There is no question that the inventors, artists, and scientist take directions as well as money from Smith, and the foreign dignitaries want his advice and assistance.

A third factor in the way the narrator casts Smith as a king is in his tireless way of life. If a king has benefits, he also has responsibilities. The narrator says, “Yes, a king is he. And in truth his is a royalty full of burdens. “ The long hours, the variety of meetings, the distances he travels all make clear that he is a serious and determined monarch.

Smith does seem to think of himself as a king. There is a great deal of evidence to support this. For one, he certainly seems to enjoy that role. Not only has he built himself an enormous palace, but he also feels perfectly at home in ordering people about and setting policy for his newspaper and the world. If advertisements need to be projected on clouds, he will make sure that this won’t be a problem. He sees himself as controlling nature as well as men, He ordered the scientists “ to go to work in earnest on the question of artificial clouds. It will never do for us to be always thus at the mercy of cloudless skies!”

In another way, Smith may think of himself as “king” of America because he realizes that the fulfillment of his editorial duties bring him tremendous power. There is the personal sense of superiority, as when he finishes with the scientists, “ Then, the two men bowing to him, Mr. Smith passed into the next hall.” In this country, we are not accustomed to bowing to anybody!

Finally, there is also the idea of how influential he may be. He gives an “audience” to foreign representatives. They complain and ask for help.They convince him that he can bring them what they want. The Russian ambassador tells Smith about the Chinese pushing on their borders. Smith is very confident that this can be resolved:“”O, is that all? In that case,” said Mr. Smith, “the thing can be arranged. I will speak to the Secretary of State about it. The attention of the Chinese government shall be called to the matter. This is not the first time that the Chinese have bothered us.”

All in all, Smith seems to enjoy his commanding role and the way the “Earth Chronicle” influences people and events. Although he is a fictional character, he represents how easy it could be for a powerful editor of a newspaper or other form of media to act like a king to direct attention and reaction to situations and individuals, creating or reducing conflict and problems.

37 mins ago

Student response 2 – Michael Romanelli

Option 1

In the short story “In the Year 2889,” Fritz Napoleon Smith depends heavily on technology in his personal life, in his work life, and to attain power and status for himself. From the beginning of the story, Smith’s dependence and reliance on technology is apparent, when he is described in his morning routine, “The first thing that Mr. Smith does is to connect his phonotelephote…he springs from his bed and enters his mechanical dresser. Two minutes later the machine deposited him all dressed” (Verne 10-11). In my opinion, this opening description of Smith’s day sets the tone for the rest of the story in terms of the extent to which he relies on technology to achieve his daily tasks. Not only does the technology that he uses allow him to communicate, but they also assist him in very minute tasks such as dressing himself, demonstrating his reliance on technology for personal matters. In his work life, his newspaper, the “Earth Chronicle,” employs telephonic devices that allow consumers to listen to the news of the day, which revolutionized his business. With his implementation of the telephonic devices to invent telephonic journalism, Smith took a failing newspaper and created an international best-selling newspaper, “Twenty years ago its subscription list contained but a few hundred thousand names, and then Mr. Fritz Napoleon Smith bought it…the number of subscribers grew to be 85,000,000” (Verne 7-8). Without technology, namely his invention of telephonic journalism, the Earth Chronicle under Smith would not have seen such a drastic increase in the number of subscribers, and therefore Smith would not have attained such wealth or power. His technological dependence on the telephonic device for wealth and power have also given him status similar to that of a king. As a result of his wealth and reverence for his work, Smith is considered to be a governmental and diplomatic authority to both his nation and other nations, “ambassadors accredited to the America government are awaiting him, desirous of having a word of counsel or advice” (Verne 19). His invention, which gave him power, wealth, and continued fame has allowed Smith to reach a powerful status, almost above elected officials and even the President. Smith’s reliance on technology throughout the story is significant because without it, his personal life, his work life, and his power and status as a person would be significantly diminished. Smith demonstrated time and again that technology is crucial to who he is.

Task the students had to complete

In this Discussion, we ask you to think about the “Earth Chronicle,” as portrayed in the short story “In the Year 2889” and compare it to how we portray journalists today.

Task: Write a 400 word essay in which you answer ONE of the prompts below:

1. Analyze the significance of how much (or how little) Fritz Napoleon Smith depends on technology (as imagined in the story) as he carries out his daily duties as editor of the “Earth Chronicle.”

2. Analyze the significance of having the narrator equate Fritz Napoleon Smith to the role of “king” of America in the fulfillment of his editorial duties. Does Smith see himself that way from what evidence we can glean in the story?

Assigned Reading link



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