Showing 1251 - 1260 of 1260 annotations tagged with the keyword "Death and Dying"

The Pulling

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: Feb-09-1994
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator observes how her dying father is changing as he dies. She experiences the process as if she were giving cosmic birth to him,

and as if she could protect him in the safety of her womb.

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The Dead Body

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: Feb-09-1994
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This dead body is to be treated with respect, not to be left alone or to be donated to the anatomy lab, or for organ transplantation. For the narrator, there is little difference between this body of her dead father and the unconscious body she remembers from so much of her childhood. She cannot make the distinction emotionally between the dead and the living father, " . . . this was the one I had known anyway, / this man made of rich substance."

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The Autopsy Room

Carver, Raymond

Last Updated: Dec-01-1993
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry — Secondary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

In the first stanza the speaker describes his experiences cleaning the autopsy room at night. Sometimes they left corpses or parts of corpses out on the table. Once they even left a woman's leg (he'd "seen them before").

At home, though, the speaker was so distracted by these experiences that he'd sit with his eyes closed, or stare at the ceiling, rather than interacting with his wife. He was distant and cold; she tried to warm him. His "fingers strayed to her leg. / Which was warm and shapely . . . . " But what about the woman's leg on the autopsy table? He ends with the paradox, "Nothing / was happening. Everything was happening." Life and death, beginning and end, warmth and coldness, closeness and distance, feeling and the denial of feeling: all are part of the whole.

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Autopsy

Stearns, Samuel

Last Updated: Dec-01-1993
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

In this avuncular poem the "recently alive" do their thing--lie "spread and silent / on the dented sink"--while the "aproned doctors" do their thing--"cut and weigh, / measuring / the diagnosis." The poem models the distance that sometimes develops between doctors and their feelings; the doctors insulate themselves from feelings. Contrast this with the protagonist of Carver's poem, The Autopsy Room (see this database; also annotated by Felice Aull).

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Fear of Gray's Anatomy

Galvin, Brendan

Last Updated: Dec-01-1993
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The author will not open Gray's Anatomy again. Why? Because he sees in its plates of various organs mundane images, rather than the personal knowledge he imagined. He had "hoped someday to own" himself, but he finds that his "geography" is composed of others' names and others' history. The author is not there. You can't discover who you are by learning the parts you're made of. Or can you?

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Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator describes the stages undergone by a person who has experienced great pain and suffering: numbness, loss of the sense of time, the great weight of depression, and finally a poetic comparison to the experience of freezing to death: "First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--."

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Katherine

Fishbein, Julie Deane

Last Updated: Aug-01-1993
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator is a physician who has just saved an elderly woman from a "natural death" only to lead her to an "ungraceful one" as her life is maintained and monitored by machines. Images of a distant farm are conjured as the doctor wishes instead for his patient's spirit to rest peacefully at home.

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Lullaby

Mukand, Jon Arun

Last Updated: Aug-01-1993
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A physician caring for a failing patient feels that he can do no more for him than "check / Your tubes, feel your pulse, listen / to your heartbeat." He wishes a swift deliverance for this patient, and would like lovingly to transform him into a compilation of facts within a medical chart: "Let me lift you in my arms / And lay you down / In the cradle of a clean manila folder."

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Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Sonnet

Summary:

The poem begins by describing many things that love cannot do, including its inability to heal. The poet observes, however, that many have died "for lack of love alone"; and considers whether, in moments of suffering, she would trade love (which keeps the individual alive) for peace/release.

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The Accusation

Van Duyn, Mona

Last Updated: Aug-01-1993
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem begins by describing how the "uncaring earth" can destroy millions of organisms "en masse" (i.e., grasses, bacilli). The author applies this analogy to humans: how easy it is to perceive that "the more lost, the less each is worth." The author then argues the value of each individual, and how irreplaceable one is, ending with another analogy: as minute details in nature are appreciated, so should individual lives be valued.

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