Death Is a Very Sensitive Topic Essay

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Death is a very sensitive topic in our society. It is a topic which we do not understand much about. Even so, there are certain conventions which govern our reactions to death in front of others. One is expected to be sufficiently solemn, reflective, and tender. Furthermore, one is expected to focus on the deceased person, not on the phenomenon of death itself.

The essays by Bentley and Churchon are valuable because they contain reactions to death which are not expressed in front of others. Thus, the reactions are less bound by convention. This makes their reactions more honest and, admittedly, more disturbing. Disturbing, though, is precisely the way most people perceive death, so the effect is quite appropriate here.

What is a Life Anyways?

Thesis: How one will react to death depends largely on what one understands "life" to be. Bentley and Churchon take two very different approaches to death in their essays. These views are informed by their respective understandings of what a "life" is. For Bentely, a "life" is a social phenomenon, whereas, for Churchon, it is primarily a biological phenomenon

Bentley

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Bentley views a life as a social phenomenon. Be it a human life or an animal life, the significance and the meaning of one's existence is determined primarily by one's social ties and interactions. She describes the bad lion as being "…with his brother and three females: a mother and her two grown daughters. The mother had no tail. She had lost it along with two of her four cubs in a hyena attack four years ago. The two remaining cubs are the grown daughters with her now." (Bentley, 2009, p. 3). Although safaris are intended to demonstrate the exotic beauty of nature, all Bentley could see was the tragic life story of the lion.

TOPIC: Essay on Death Is a Very Sensitive Topic in Assignment

For Bentley, the murdered lioness was significant because she was an elder lioness of a pride, the mother of an alpha male, and the victim of a scorned outsider to the tribe. She characterized the lioness as heroic because she "…separated herself from her pride…to divert Satan and his brother from them, her family as it were. The females in a lion pride are related: mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts." (Bentley, 2009, p. 4). For Bentley, the significance of one's life is contained almost exclusively in one's "life story." Because death precludes further social interactions and severs all social ties, Bentley naturally views death as tragic and regretful.

Bentley's view of life causes her to perceive the actions of the lions through the lens of human sociology. She is particularly disturbed by the gruesome murder of a female lion by a particularly violent male lion, nicknamed "Satan." Bentley attributes a higher degree of conscious volition to the actions of the lions than is commonly recognized. She describes Satan's repeated murders of sexually uncooperative lionesses as "…deviant, the need to dominate gone awry, even for a lion." She concludes that Satan is a "…serial rapist, necrophiliac, (and a) killer," terms that are typically reserved only for humans.

Churchon

Churchon views life not as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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