Within “The Pain Scale” Eula Biss uses different concepts to relate to the reader her confusion about the pain scale used in hospitals today that. “On a scale of zero to ten, ten sending you to the emergency room, how bad is your As Eula Biss says in her essay “The Pain Scale,” “Zero doesn’t behave like. The Pain Scale. Eula Biss · English. Research output: Contribution to journal › Article. Language, English. Journal, Harper’s. State, Published – Jun

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These fixed points were reversed after his death… There is only one fixed point on the Kelvin scale — absolute zero. Dragged over gravel behind a fast truck? We apologize for the inconvenience and will lift this disclaimer when this feature becomes available.

I agree with her point here because scales do need a fixed point but what confuses me is why she questions it. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.

Eula points out distinct problems with each scale and their use of zero.

The author, Eula Biss, takes the reader on a journey of the numbers relaying the pain associated with each. An equation that she does not understand but must perform. She does this to make the bis more personal instead of a debate about scales.

How many aspirin does it take to solve the problem? Yes, five—not ten—because somewhere between one and ten, people tend to get lost, fluctuating within their answers.

The Pain Scale

Email Address never viss public. Being that this is creative non-fiction, what better way to stay within the genre than by using statistics?

Eula compares the concept of zero, which is something yet nothing at the same time, to the person Jesus Christ, who is man yet God at the same time. Eula uses all of these problems, these small issues that do not line up, to express the great confusion and uncertainty that comes with such rating scales.


The lower fixed point, zero, is the coldest temperature thf which a mixture of salt and water can still remain liquid. Paln me, the text was about perceptions of life and how people look at things differently and how we eu,a base our thoughts and feelings around what people say the limits are. There is only one fixed point on the Kelvin scale — absolute zero. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Eula is using these facts about the falsity of using fictional measurements to measure Hell to build upon her argument against the use of zero, an almost fictional number in itself.

Five is short and concise, with a clear median and less room to stray from the intended path.

The Pain Scale — Northwestern Scholars

Eula uses this comparison to show how difficult it is to rate her own pain on a pain scale that uses zero as the measurement for no pain. Without a little personal wit and relatability, why would we read non-fiction? This takes me back to my first theory about how we cannot base our feelings around what people pin the limits are.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Absolute zero is degrees Celsius colder than the temperature at which water freezes. The reason behind her bringing in her reputation, which is still unclear, is too make the reader think about how their pain scale would be laid out.

Still, every year, the largest known prime is larger. Further on, she uses the example of pain to express the reason why zero is a nonexistent number: I strive to remain liquid. She mimics the scale using it to unwind her story. Due to this difference in scale range and fixed points, she feels that she cannot base her pain on a scale because she feels that it is not accurate enough.

In that case, is five really the mean? She includes all of these points in her essay to fully express her ideology of what she thinks scales, of any kind, are made up of. The pain scale, she is saying, is just as incomprehensible to her as the concept of infinite primes. But if so, a simple burn becomes less than painful, does it not?


And one hundred is the point at which water boils.

How to Read “The Pain Scale” By Eula Biss | jkingsly

Biss is very philosophical and makes the reader think along with her as she scle and questions the assumed pain for each digit, or lack thereof. This site uses cookies. This site uses cookies. Create a free website or paon at WordPress. Email required Address never made public. She throws in subtle humor along with hard facts to make this a very light, fun read as she travels up the scale and back down again in this circular story.

Both are problematic — both have their fallacies and their immaculate conceptions. For example pain that might be intense for her might be very minor or even unnoticeable to her father. The reason behind her confusion is due to the many different texts and theories we are presented with through time. Eula then uses the Beaufort scale for measuring wind. But I do not agree with the fact that she thinks zero is useless because Zero is used for many things in day-to-day life.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. She uses the essay almost as a brainstorm. Show Comments 0 and Tags. Perhaps that is a problem with the pain scale, that people tend to get lost within the numbers, are not sure whether their pain is above or below the average of five, and if it is whether it strays to a two, three, or four, or a six, seven, eight, or nine.

Here, Eula explains through the concept of prime numbers and their infinite possibilities the bisss nature of the pain scale and its use as a rating system.