The Passage

by Justin Cronin

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Are there threats to mankind's safety besides the virals in The Passage by Justin Cronin?

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In The Passage, Justin Cronin cleverly intensifies the modern obsession with life and death. It is no longer expected that everyone believes in a traditional afterlife although most people hold on to some concept of an outside force and he therefore uses this rationale to support his storyline making Amy a believable Christ-like figure. In the twenty first century, treatments and cures for the most debilitating illnesses have been at the forefront of modern medicine but so have some questionable therapies and drug programs which have been used with devastating effects and they leave unresolved moral dilemmas.  

The obvious threat from "virals" in the novel is underscored by the pervading emotions that haunt the survivors. Leaving lights on to fight vampires, a long-held tradition, brings human elements into the story, reminding the reader that there may be some hope for a future. However, fear and suspicion are so strong that people easily turn against each other. Therefore, mankind represents a threat unto himself. Moral issues that confront modern readers are confounded in The Passage as irrational fear and paranoia become the norm.  Compromise and self-preservation exist everywhere and the reader must decide whether Amy is the representation of the "divine."

Misunderstandings and misinformation abound in this novel. Even "Haven," the seeming perfect society has a terrible secret which soon destroys everything. Therefore, even though the suggestion that there is the potential in all the "virals" to be like Amy could be the saving grace, human nature itself threatens mankind's very existence. The disastrous outcome is partially self-inflicted and power and control are forces of corruption in every circumstance because human pride and arrogance take a prominent position. Those who injected the "virals" apparently believed in their own infallibility.  

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