Don’t Be the Moth Trapped in the Open Jar

By Zachary W., 7th Grade

May 2015

e.e. cummings once said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” In “Frost and Fire” by Ray Bradbury, Sim the protagonist’s valor and bright vision make him outstanding among his society. Sim’s optimism shows itself when he is looking at the untouched spaceship lying on a mountain. Sim thinks to himself, “intact, undamaged, lying on a mountain! There was his future! There was his hope for survival!” This quote represents our character’s willingness to look at a brighter future and find ways to lengthen his 8 day lifespan instead of despairing like everyone else in the world. Sim knows that there’s a chance, and he doesn’t dwell on bad thoughts but plans for what’s ahead of him. When society tells him to enjoy his short lifetime to the greatest, Sim chooses to step out to make things better for everyone. Determination also shapes Sim and his ability to get to the spaceship. We can see Sim’s courage when it is night, and Sim is trying to get to the spaceship as the temperature crawls well beyond what the human can endure, yet we can see that Sim pushes on. Bradbury writes, “They forced themselves drunkenly up the mountain. The cold slid along their limbs, got into their arteries” (306). When Sim can fall and die, he chooses to continue and bear the excruciating cold. He is brave enough to continue even if he has to suffer. We can also see Sim’s courage when he is trying to find the entrance hatch to the spaceship, and he is freezing. Rather than thinking that there was no chance, Sim chose to believe that he could get into the spaceship, even if it meant suffering through the cold. Because he is heroic and hopeful as no one has been before, Sim truly is outstanding among his peers.

Unlike Sim, Chion is arrogant and selfish; he does what society and man tells him. We can see Chion’s haughty nature after Chion knocks Sim over to get to the red berries. Chion says, “Tomorrow I will be big enough to kill you!”(284) This is pretentious on Chion’s part because he only thinks of how much stronger he will be, but doesn’t even consider the fact that Sim will also gain more muscle. Another example of Chion’s arrogant nature is during the war when the sun is about to come up. Sim is struggling on the ground when Chion comes and tries to take Lyte with him, leaving Sim to die. Chion believes that everything should be his, and everything needs to go his way. In addition to being cavalier, Chion is also selfish. When Lyte loves Sim more than she loves Chion, Chion wants to kill Sim by bringing Sim into war. This desire shows that Chion wants everything for himself and will resort to cruel measures for his own gain. He doesn’t even bother to consider the woman he loves, Lyte, while she anguishes over Sim who Chion brings into war. He ignores the emotions of the person he “loves” most. Because of his behavior, thoughts, and words, Chion’s defining characteristics are arrogance and selfishness. He resembles the society in which he lives.

Did you ever wonder how to train a moth to stay inside a jar (without the lid on)? Well, there’s a way. First, trap a moth in a jar, and screw on the lid. The moth will try to escape, but after a while, it won’t try anymore. When you open the lid, the moth will remain inside. This scenario closely correlates to the way in which the society thinks in “Frost and Fire” by Ray Bradbury. In their society, everyone is taught what is right and what is wrong, like the moth stuck inside the jar is taught that flying out will be impossible. Sooner or later, this lid is removed, leaving everyone open to the outside, yet most aren’t willing to fly out of this trap. Sim is the exception. From the time he can walk, he chooses that he will be different from what society tells him to be. Sim chooses to get to the spaceship while everyone tells him it’s impossible. He chooses to risk his life, and he even returns back to save his people after he reaches the spaceship. Chion embodies the society. He chooses to limit his life to everyday pleasures, causing him to become arrogant and self-centered. Even in his final minutes, he accuses Sim of betrayal and rallies people against Sim, jealous of Sim’s young appearance. Today, you have the option to escape society’s expectations and limitations. So are you going to separate yourself from the rest?

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