ERIC Number: ED043068
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Oct-8
Reference Count: 0
The Management of Death in the Middle Class American Family.
Clay, Vidal S.
Starting with the observation that attitudes towards death cannot be divorced from attitudes towards life, the author proceeds with a critical and reflective look at American society's poor management of death, both in terms of the dying person and the bereaved. Denial is the mechanism used to protect ourselves from facing the fact of death, and the result is a cold and inappropriate ritual which assigns the primary roles to the undertaker and the physician. Much is said about the stages through which a dying person goes in making his peace with death, and about the "grief work" of the bereaved in learning to live with his new situation. The unfortunate and lonely ways in which people are forced to handle these critical periods is examined. Specific suggestions for changing the attitude toward death includes: (1) stop denying its existence; (2) humanize the procedures that surround it; (3) redesign the rituals so as to humanize them; and (4) teach about death, appropriately, throughout life. (TL)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Connecticut Univ., Stamford.
Note: Paper presented at the National Council on Family Relations Convention, Chicago, Illinois, October 7-10, 1970