RELIGST 2N03 McMaster The North American way of burial discussion

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RELIGST 2N03

McMaster University

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Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Why or why not?

"The typical North American way of burying the dead needs to be reconsidered."

Please include an introduction, conclusion, and a clear thesis statement.

Be sure to support your argument with evidence. This is not a reflection paper.

A complete essay will address the following questions:

1. What is distinctive about funeral and burial practices in North America?

2. How have people criticized this way of doing things?

3. How have representatives of the funeral industry defended their practices?

( please use these videos in writing the essay )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePQmd2phpDA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcMj4Az1MwE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2dvXWX3Sdw

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Hospice, Palliative Care, and the Craft of Dying Dr. Farr Curlin, MD • • • • • • • Professor of Medical Humanities Duke University School of Medicine Centre for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine Duke Divinity School (Theology, Medicine, and Culture) Practitioner of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM) Ethicist He is “concerned with the moral and spiritual dimensions of medical practice.” 1) “medicalized death” vs. hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) 2) HPM and the craft of dying (Ars moriendi) 3) Temptations and Dangers What is hospice and palliative care medicine? “The goal of palliative care is to help people with serious illnesses feel better. It prevents or treats symptoms and side effects of disease and treatment. Both palliative care and hospice care provide comfort. But palliative care can begin at diagnosis, and at the same time as treatment. Hospice care begins after treatment of the disease is stopped and when it is clear that the person is not going to survive the illness. Hospice care is most often offered only when the person is expected to live 6 months or less.” (Source: National Institute of Health, US Government Department of Health and Human Services) “Palliative care also treats emotional, social, practical, and spiritual problems that illnesses can bring up. When the person feels better in these areas, they have an improved quality of life.” (Source: National Institute of Health, US Government Department of Health and Human Services) “Medicalized death” • Using life-sustaining technology to postpone death as long as possible • Still the “default pathway” for people who die in hospital • Heavily criticized for 40+ years Why have patients, doctors, and ethicists criticized this practice? American Medical Association (1996): “In the current system of care, many dying persons suffer needlessly, burden their families, and die isolated from family and community.” 90% of American doctors agree with this statement: “For most patients, hospice provides better care at the end of life than they would have received without hospice.” How does HPM help patients recover the “art of dying well”? 1) Patients take on the role of the dying person. 2) Patients die in their own social, geographical contexts. 3) HPM considers the spiritual dimensions of death and dying. How might HPM undermine the “art of dying well”? Two temptations: 1) To usurp, replace the role of the patient, family, and community 2) To alleviate suffering to the point of passivity Jessica Mitford and the American Funeral Director Stereotypes of the undertaker • • • • Deep roots in Western history (Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain) Objects of ridicule Subjects for satire Predictable, despicable (one dimension characters) “a convenient scapegoat” “With few exceptions, from the 1930s to the 1950s, fictionalizations of the funeral director simply recapitulated familiar themes, and aroused the same range of emotions that included rage, humor, resentment, and ridicule. The caricature also served as a vehicle for a thoroughly modern set of criticisms of the American response to death: too materialistic, to secular and too unrealistic. The undertaker embodied all the critique’s of the industry, personifying everything that was wrong with American’s perceptions of death and their choices about corpse disposal.” “Popular stereotypes entertained the public, but day-to-day interactions with local undertakers and their families ensured that these images did not deter neighbors, friends, associates, or less familiar clients from entering the funeral home when someone close died.” 1) 2) 3) 4) High cost of death Predatory, dishonest, profit driven practices Denial, erasure of death Indignity of embalming “His fragile, broken body was almost unclothed and we watched helplessly as he struggled and gasped for breath until no more breath would come. It was a pathetic and tragic scene and it burned itself into our minds and forced us to relive those moments time and time again… It seemed to us, on a deep emotional level, that he continued to suffer that agony. It was not until we viewed his body after the embalming and preparation that we knew he had any peace in this regard.” - The Rev. James L. Kidd (1969) வே Ensure Original nutrition shake 9 220 26 Protein Calories Vanilla saturdan ice 8 FLOZ (237 ml)
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Explanation & Answer

Attached.

OUTLINE FOR RECONSIDERING THE NORTH AMERICAN WAY OF BURYING
THE DEAD
Introduction


Thesis Statement (In bold)

Distinguishing Features of Funeral and Burial Practices in North America
How People Criticize the North American Way of Doing Things
How Representatives of the Funeral Industry Defend Their Practices
Conclusion
References


Running head: THE NORTH AMERICAN WAY OF BURYING THE DEAD

RECONSIDERING THE NORTH AMERICAN WAY OF BURYING THE DEAD
Name:
Institution affiliation:
Date:

1

THE NORTH AMERICAN WAY OF BURYING THE DEAD

2

RECONSIDERING THE NORTH AMERICAN WAY OF BURYING THE DEAD
I agree that there is a need to reconsider the typical North American way of burying the
dead because of the unnecessary complexity of the practices involved. Treating the dead as though
they are alive through a series of meaningless procedures is common in North America. The most
common American way of burying the dead involves initially embalming the body chemicals some
for preservation and protection and others for beautification after which there is a burial at the local
cemetery all of which affect unnecessary expenses to the families and adverse effect to the
environment (Doughty, 2017). The North American style of burying the dead should be
reconsidered because it subjects the body to pointless processes, needlessly burdens families
with costly budgets, and harms the environment.
Distinguishing Features of Funeral and Burial Practices in North America
In North America, average embalming takes between an hour and half to two hours fr...


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