Term Paper: Suicide Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway

Pages: 8 (2270 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] A textbook of abnormal psychology explains it more aptly:

In general, any trait or any action of the individual will not be considered abnormal by the social group unless it proves to be an annoyance to the group. A man may possess an extraordinary fear of germs that will lead him to excessive hand-washing, but society as a whole will pay little or no attention to the peculiarity since it does not interfere with the comfort or activities of other members of the group.

Activities that are not harmful to the personal well-being of the individual, or that are not injurious to society may go unnoticed for years....Attempts at suicide are dealt with by law. Suicide is disapproved of by society, not because it is harmful to the individual, but because of social consequences. The religious taboo of suicide probably grew out of the notion that life was the property of the tribe or the state. (Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, p. 1020)

Social factors do affect an individual's sense of self and has a negative impact on his/her mental and emotional health. People have committed suicide from most minor of reasons such as failure to make it to the football team to most major such as death of a beloved. So it must be remembered that suicide is a highly personal choice of action. How a person chooses to respond to unfortunate circumstances is dependent on his/her social, psychological and emotional makeup.

Just like society and biology, psychology has its own take on the issue of suicide. Sigmund Freud believed that people who kill themselves are actually trying to exact revenge or punishing someone for his/her wrongdoing. For example a child may have been harboring a grudge against his parents but since he cannot kill his parents, he instead takes his own life to punish them. Freud's theory of inverted or reversed murder gained popularity in his times and influenced other psychologists including American psychiatrist Karl Menninger. Menninger identified the link between alcoholism and suicide. He felt that a person who wants to kill himself might have past unresolved issues with his parents. The resentment and frustration later results in a desperate urge to kill one's self. And alcohol is usually his own out of the perplexing situation. Dr. Robert E. Kendell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh School of Medicine, later worked on this theory and established the link between alcoholism and suicide.

In short suicide is a complicated social and medical issue. Why people kill themselves, why don't they communicate their negative feelings, why they do not resort to some other options are questions that plague our minds every time a suicide case is reported. But as explained in this paper, the causes of suicide differ from person to person thus making it a highly personal act completely beyond comprehension of those who see life as a gift to be cherished. It may be seen as a process through which victims try to bring order to their otherwise chaotic lives. You can see suicide as their last attempt to restore order as Douglas (1967) asserted, "the killing... Of oneself can be used as a general indication of how serious, sincere, [and] committed one is" (p. 301).

But what makes suicide even more tragic is the fact that it is absolutely preventable. However what we want is not always so easy to achieve since many suicide victims never try to communicate their feelings, many do not feel like contacting the suicide control or prevention centers and out of those who do, many simply do not want to listen as like has lost its appeal for them.

References

Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1967), p. 1020.

Douglas, J.D. (1967). The social meaning of suicide. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Emile Durkheim, Suicide: A Study in Sociology (Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1951), p. 66.

Etkind, M. (1997). Or not to be: A collection of suicide notes. New York: Riverhead Books.

Ferracuti, F. (1957). Suicide in a Catholic country. In E.S. Shneidman & N.L. Faberow (Eds.), Clues to suicide (pp. 70-78). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2004, October). Suicide facts. [Online]. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/harmaway.cfm

News release, " High Suicide Rate in Young Is Increasing," Case- Western Reserve University, Cleveland, November 1983.

Shneidman, E.S. (1980). Voices of death. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

SHNEIDMAN, E.S., FARBEROW, N.L., and LEONARD, CALISTA. 1965. Some facts about suicide: causes and prevention. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Silving, H. (1957). Suicide in law. In E.S. Shneidman & N.L.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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