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Death and Bereavement Role in Society

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Death is humankind's inevitable demise. The passing away of the human race is a fact that hits a man's emotions hard. In ancient times, it was in place, but much of its content was not put into the public domain. The advances in technology that introduced social media and television problems have led the current generation to have more murder cases, people committing suicide, and fatal illness-related deaths than their ancestors, but even the older generation had more experience facing death. Different media, such as news, drama, and cartoons, differently represent death. News
The press is nowadays one of the ways to learn about dying, death and bereavement, and reactions and interpretation of such situations. In most cases, death is depicted in a hidden from the public view manner. For instance, Larry and Renee’s son, Travis got killed when he was struck by a particular passenger train. The incidence attracted an intensive reporting by the media: press, radio, and television. Later on, there was the television documentary film about a woman who had died out of breast cancer.

Two kids were attempting to cross the tracks in Texas City when the pickup they were in was hit by a train moving at a speed of 70 miles per hour through the municipality. The intersection had no warning lights – it was just marked with white railroad crossing signs. The parents were forced to share this horrible experience with the media. On the other hand, there was this documented case of the woman who had died from cancer, she had struggled for a long time, and was later killed after the destruction of her breast tissues.

The broadcast of the former death incidences went against the will of the kids’ parents and never respected their rights to grieve privately. Despite the media aired the death incidence against the will of the parents, they agreed to share their reactions to the press. The members of the focus group to the woman who had died of breast cancer were not pleased either as they considered the images shared in the media to have violated the rights of those with cancer.

Thus, in both cases the media did the public broadcast to fulfill the rights of the public to be informed of the issues touching on the civic safety.

Drama

Literature uses death to deliver its message. In the Shakespeare’s plays, suicide is dramatically used to address the interests of the characters. During those times, suicide was a sensitive matter that was given attention by both the church and the state.

In the Roman play, suicide was majorly done to protect the reputation of the characters, and avoid disgraceful life. For instance, an incidence of death occurred when Julius Caesar committed suicide out of humiliation faced after a defeat by Octavius Caesar and Mark Antony. The incident of death occurred after the loss that made the conspirators, Cassius and Brutus, fall on their sword to avoid being humiliated and being stigmatized as well. When incidences of death related to suicide or murder happened, family members distanced themselves, and never wanted to be associated with them. The family members responded to such deaths as undesirable to have their loved ones named in the death records for having committed suicide, and they could do everything possible to cover such acts.

Cartoons

Most of the animated movies are accompanied by death complications. Disney films depict many death episodes. Incidences of death are used to bring tension and depth to the story and bring the essence of a moral lesson. In Quasimodo’s Mom-The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), the child takes off and runs away after being accused of stealing. The other one then follows her to try to save her life by seeking in the church. No matter, how much she banged the door asking for help, nobody responded. Later an officer arrives and takes Quasi away from her mom; out of grief, she slams her head on the church steps and instantly dies.

Children have their perception of death mostly from Disney films, i.e. mostly misunderstand and interpret death beyond the obvious cognitive limitations. Children do not perceive the death scene that happens at the church entrance pleasantly and seems frightening. The mother of the child also took the situation too harsh because of the much love to her already disfigured daughter. The animated movies target children with low understanding about death and do not understand that it is inevitable and irreversible.

In the entire media, death is an irreversible state, and not pleasantly welcomed as it sets a sad mood among the bereaved families. However, the portrayal tends to be different in certain aspects. For the media, the bereaved families considered them to have violated their private rights by broadcasting incidences of the death of their family member. On the other hand, drama portrayed death through suicide only as humiliating, there were no possibilities for other explanations; no one longed to be associated with someone who committed suicide. Deaths in the Disney movies mostly were shown as phenomena only associated with the elderly, without any better understanding of the reasons of death.

Media is considered as the most important and reliable source of information. The manner in which information regarding death is conveyed to the public will significantly influence the way in which death is be perceived. The passive nature of the information will make people quickly understand the causes of death. Nowadays, the media portrays it very revealing and as a source of fear. In the daily encounter of media materials, the effects of deaths are portrayed in nearly all ages. Moreover, the media is very fundamental in influencing the understanding death through other media like Facebook and twitter. More deaths are likely to take place in the movies.

The treatment of death does not vary much with the target audience. This is because death is associated with human beings who happen to be the same target audience. Besides, there is a close relationship between the advertising sponsor and treatment of death. The situation is inevitable and nobody can evade it, and therefore the sponsor will at last face the reality of death as well.

Thus, despite the fact that we encounter much more incidences of death than our grandparents did, there is hardly more experience with death nowadays. The availability of media, drama, and cartoons reveals a lot of information regarding death, and mostly such information is not taken kindly. Moreover, these data are not always shown correctly as well. People still turn out to be not ready for this indefeasible part of the life since it is mistreated and described as evil or only for those who are up in years. It is obvious, of course, why most people wish to be secretive and bereave privately. However, humanity is what makes us human, and compassion, sympathy, and support have never been unwanted when facing the death. More openness from people and more reasonable media, to my opinion, would strongly influence not only the perception of death as such, but also bring up more prepared and understanding generation to be.

October 20, 2021
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