In T.C. Boyle’s story Chicxulub, he uses the impact of the Chicxulub meteor to create suspense and emphasize the detrimental effects it had on the world in comparison to an auto accident and how it affected the lives of a family. The meteor foreshadows events that will eventually take place in the life of the Biehn’s. The comparison of the “civilization-ending meteor” is used to emphasize the distress occurring within the Biehn family and the thought of their daughter in the hospital possibly dead from the accident. Boyle used transitions between information about the meteor and the events that occur in the Biehn family to create a suspenseful and dramatic feeling throughout the story. The overall message of Chicxulub was to appreciate moments with loved ones because they will not last forever. In simpler terms, do not take anything for granted whether it is the world that we live on or even a family member who is in good health. The next Chicxulub could strike any second.
The Chicxulub meteor is presented in the story immediately after the introductory paragraph. Here, it is used to foreshadow the events that evolve as the story continues. Already, it is apparent that something is going to have a large impact on the Biehns just as the meteor impacted the Earth. Even though Boyle says “And this was only a rock. And it was only sixty yards across”, the audience can begin to make an inference about the fate of seventeen year old wandering the streets at night. Something only so small can cause an enormous impact on the world. When the Chicxulub meteor crashed, it wiped out almost all life, and completely eradicated the dinosaurs. The auto accident also had a similar effect on the Biehns. As they were enjoying a relaxing night, it is as if the phone call about their daughter being rushed to the hospital had the same effect that the meteor had on the Earth. Humans are not designed to constantly await tragedy so when it does happen, it comes as a shock. By using foreshadowing, Boyle could draw the reader in deeper as they anticipate an answer for the transition between the two different plots.
Boyle used the meteor to symbolize death, destruction, and the unknown of the world which coincides with the mentality of the Biehn family when they received that dreaded phone call. Everyone has their own “Chicxulub” but it comes at different points in their lives. When it does come however, it is deadly and unavoidable. Everything can disappear in a matter of seconds, whether it is a civilization ending meteor or a collision between a pedestrian and a car. Boyle does not blatantly tell the readers that the Biehns are angry or upset but rather he shows it in their actions. This gives the reader a deeper feel for the Biehns and how the death of their daughter would completely shatter their lives. Fear that their child may be dead caused a great deal of stress. They could not get any answers from the nurses or even anyone else for that matter. It seems that no one cares enough about their problems because they have their own to worry about. As soon as the meteor hits, the world as we knew it was completely destroyed much the same as when the doctor brought out the gurney for the parents to see; their whole world fell to shambles. Especially being in a hospital, the Biehns already know that their life could go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. The Chicxulub meteor occurred in the same way, it was deadly, destructive, and possessed the element of the unknown.
As Boyle transitions between the meteor and the Biehn’s life, it begins to create a deep suspenseful feeling throughout the story. It seems somewhat random at first why Boyle switches between a historic event that occurred millions of years ago during the age of dinosaurs and a recent event that involves a drunk driver and an innocent pedestrian. It was apparent that the author had intentions of connecting the meteor and the lives of the…