Role Of Death In American Society

Decent Essays

Death in American Society

Life styles influence death styles. The way that someone once lived, can show in the way they’re buried. Before the turn of the century, “death usually took place in the home” (DeSpelder, Strickland 6). Basically, a coffin was built which was then set up in the parlor of the home. The funeral was held inside the home and friends, acquaintances, and other relatives would come to the family’s home to view the body and share in the act of mourning. Children even sometimes slept in the same room as the corpse! Quite evidently, each person learned about death firsthand; death was more personal in a way. It seems like now, we’re less “close” to death in a way. When one compares death to other cultures, there is a vast …show more content…

Now, in modern times, our participation in the rituals surrounding the dead is minimal. Among other reasons, increases in average life expectancy, as well as lower mortality rates, have had a tremendous influence on our attitudes and implicit expectations about life and death. Advances in medical science and in applied health case technologies have not only contributed to demographic change, they have also altered the usual causes of death as well as the setting where …show more content…

New biomedical technologies (such as the kidney machine invented in 1954) offer a multitude of choices in health care that people of an earlier time would find unfathomable, and they have altered our attitudes about death and dying (DeSpelder, Strickland 14). However, this coexistence of medicine and technology also brings confusing consequences. The same technological device that seems to extend life for one person, may to another person seem to prolong dying (DeSpelder, Strickland 16). This raises the question, “To what degree should we rely on life-saving technologies for sustaining biological functions?” Many of our attitudes toward death today are closely connected with our notions about medical technologies can and cannot accomplish. Thus, experiences of death and dying are segregated from the rest of life; unlike before. As a society, we have given over the care of our dying to specialists; caring for the dead is no longer part of our common

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