Painful as it may be, such experiences brings home the finality of death. Something deep within us demands a confrontation with death. A last look assures us that the person we loved is, indeed, gone forever.” (108) Cable finishes his essay by asking, Tim if his job ever depressed him. Tim in reply says, “No it doesn’t, and I do what I can for people and take satisfaction in enabling relatives to see their loved ones as they were in real life.” (108) After reading this essay I feel as though sometimes we don’t understand death so therefore we do not talk much about it. By reading about what goes on after your loved one dies and is sent to these places to be prepared and ready for burial, it helps to understand why morticians and funeral directors do what they do. Knowing that someone enjoys taking the responsibility in providing that comfort in a sorrowful time makes me appreciate these people in these occupations a bit
In the essay “The Embalming of Mr. Jones,” (1963), Jessica Mitford is describing a procedure of embalming of a corpse. She writes that people pay a ton of money each year, but “not one in ten thousand has any idea of what actually takes place,” and it is extremely hard to find books and any information about this subject. She assumes that it must be a reason for such secrecy, and may be if people knew more about this procedure, they would not want this service after their death.
Today the society is looking for ways to ease life and to find solutions for problems which oppress our lives and make it hard to live through. Because of many reasons, the traditional burials in this century are becoming a problem. (Prothero,2001). The fact that they cover a lot of land to build cemeteries and other things that are attached to these traditional burials is enough for us to search for a practical solution. About a century ago the term "cremation" was unknown to many people. It is believed that it began to be practiced during the early Stone Age and still exists today. Since that time cremations have been made all
The article, “10 Burdens Funeral Directors Carry”, written by Caleb Wilde expresses the unique struggles of those working the funeral business. They face numerous challenges through trying to aid and support those mourning a loved one. This often over looked and underappreciated field offers a salient as well as specific service desperately needed by each community. By encountering: depression, psychosis, isolation, stress, workaholism and death itself funeral directors make numerous personal sacrifices to continue to provide honor and respect to the dead.
The tone of Mitford’s essay “Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain” reflects her disapproval of the embalming process. To illustrate, she uses harrowing words like “subjected” and “gruesomeness” to convey a message of disgust and unease within the readers. It is good she wrote her essay in a simple and satiric way, so that it is very easy for the common man to read and comprehend it, while the comedy and horrible detail leaves the terrible imagery of the embalming procedures in one’s mind long after reading. Texts like this one, and ones similar to it are very important as society evolves. It would seem that many people would read this and it would greatly influence whether they would want their family members embalmed or even what they would desire
Dead?" AlterNet. In this article, Frankie Colmane looks into how dead bodies are treated in the United State even after Mitford's expose of the funeral industry was published. The article takes both a philosophical and scientific issue with the procedure of embalming sighting proven negative effects to human beings and the environment. Colmane shows that even though people are aware of the malfeasance and misappropriations of the funeral industry following pieces like Mitford's, very little has changed. Therefore problems that have been discussed in earlier works should not be forgotten. Rather they should be continually brought up until the issue is solved. During the 1800s, embalming became common practice because the dead family member would lie in state within the home for a period of days or weeks until it would be buried (Colmane 2010). The article shows the duplicity such as when "funeral directors were arguing forcefully against charges that their mediation between the living and the dead translated into social obstruction that barred the stricken from facing death with maturity, realism, and honest" (page 2). This article will be used to illustrate that things have not changed with funereal practices despite the publication of Mitford's essay.
No one can escape death. It’s one of so few unavoidable certainties in our lives and has held an important position in every human culture since time immemorial. Of course, this position has is different from culture to culture, and shifts over time. This is particularly evident in western culture. The shift is discussed at length in two essays: “Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain” by Jessica Mitford, and ‘The Fear of Dying’ by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Both explore different aspects of these themes – Mitford’s essay being deconstruction of a the uniquely North American process of embalming, and Kübler-Ross’ being an indictment of the clinical depersonalization of contemporary western attitudes toward death. Each utilize many different tools as writers, such as rhetorical modes. Rhetorical modes they share are exemplification, description, and compare-and-contrast.
Criticisms of American funeral practices have been made publicly aware since the 1920’s, and actually go back to ancient times in the scope of human’s ceremonies for the dead. Since the first published argument against modern funerals various authors joined the movement publishing their disparagements of customs for the deceased; that in essence contend the grandiosity and lavish displays are merely a social and psychological representation of the monetary opportunity of funerals (DeSpelder & Strickland, 2015, p. 306-307). Even further, regarding the encompassing funeral industry as exploiting grieving loved ones for their financial gains, while disregarding the actual needs of modern society (DeSpelder & Strickland, 2015, p. 307).
1. Watch “The Undertaking” where this video examines a family who works in the funeral industry as a window into American feelings on death and dying. Then, respond to the following questions: How do funeral rituals describe by the Lynch family show our cultural values about death and dying? How would a sociologist create a research question to systematically evaluate the claims that the Lynch family makes about death and dying? The funeral industry arguably exists to serve micro-level relationships, consoling individuals who have just lost others central to their social existence. How is the funeral industry connected to institutions at the community and
Some cultures are traditional and want to bury love ones in a traditional way. However, younger generations are more creative in the way they bury loved ones. For example, sea lovers may have their ashes put into an eternal reef and put into the sea. A positive spin is being put on funerals and now being called “celebrations of life”. The death rate is low right now but as baby boomers get older the death rate will rise, and the funeral service industry will see a big boost.
When an individual dies, their death can greatly impact the loved ones they leave behind. Each mourner may feel and perceive the death differently from one another, but one common factor that can influence the mourner’s beliefs, values, and views about a person’s death is their culture. Their culture can regulate the way the mourner copes with the death of a loved one, what they do with the physical deceased body, and how they may honor the dead afterwards (Cartaret, 2011). For me, my culture is relatively related to the Catholic, Hispanic American culture, which is a broad and subjective category, but it is what I believe that guides my views towards life and death. I have additionally chosen to learn about the cultural practices of Hinduism of Indians on death
We, as humans, often get involved only with the issues that affect us or our environment. Furthermore, sometimes we do not see what is happening around us that affects the rest of the society. The article “Drugs are killing so many people in West Virginia that the state can’t keep up with the funerals” by Christopher Ingraham discusses the fact that in West Virginia, the amount of deaths caused (mostly) by overdose has increased so much in recent years that their indigent burial program has ran out of funds to cover funerals for people that do not have the funds to pay for
At some point in our lives, we all come to realize that death is a part of life. Cultural diversity provides a wide variety of lifestyles and traditions for each of the unique groups of people in our world. Within these different cultures, the rituals associated with death and burial can also be uniquely diverse. Many consider ritualistic traditions that differ from their own to be somewhat strange and often perceive them as unnatural. A prime example would be the burial rituals of the Native American people.
As a student of funeral service, Reverence for the Dead is extremely important. I found this book interesting and it made me think a lot more about ethical practices. Todd Van Beck has been a wonderful teacher, but my time being his student has made me come to realize that he’s also a very good person. Todd Van Beck talks about very serious topics in this book from death, to funerals, to caring for the dead in a correct manner. Van Beck gives us his beliefs on the subjects along with beliefs of many well-known psychologists. The passage about Dr. Edgar N. Jackson (1910-1994) had a strong impression on me. I joined this career path because I believe in the importance of preparation, preservation, and beautification of the dead also. Dr.