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Comment on each of these three deaths:a) An infant dies just after birthb) Someone with...

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crazygirll29 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 25, 2009 at 7:20 AM via web

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Comment on each of these three deaths:a) An infant dies just after birthb) Someone with a lot of promise(health,looks,personality) is killed in an

 

accident at the age of 20

c) a middle aged person commits suicide shortly after retiring

(comment as if you would take the form of a letter to the dead person, expressing your reactions to his/her death

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted August 29, 2009 at 2:32 PM (Answer #2)

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Have you noticed the most interesting elements of these three deaths?  In all three cases, the common element is the potential realized or unrealized by the person's death. 

What might you say to an infant who doesn't even know what he or she is missing?  Would you focus on an afterlife for this infant?  Would you console the infant by saying that even though there was no potential realized, the infant has missed the pain of living? 

The young person who has "promise," who dies at 20, would be completely aware that the potential was unrealized.  What can you offer such a person?  Perhaps you could say that he or she was lucky to have experienced a childhood and adolescence filled with promise.  Perhaps you could say it is better that he or she lived at all, that this was a death preferable to a death in infancy.

The adult who commits suicide after retirement I would speculate had suffered from clinical depression.  But there are other possible reasons.  Perhaps the person had a degenerative or fatal disease and wanted to have control over his or her destiny.  Perhaps the person had realized all of his or her potential, and was simply tired of life.  Perhaps the person had found retirement to be a disappointment.  If I were writing to a suicide, I would have many questions! 

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM (Answer #3)

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All deaths are sad. By asking this question, you may be putting a priority on one or the other. This is an old ethical dilemma. I agree with the last poster that all had unrealized potential. Before we became an advanced technological society, infant mortality was common and a fifty year old would often be at the end of his life. In that case, the young adult would be the most promising. Today, infant mortality is not as common and people live well past 50. In this scenario, only the young adult was a contributing member of society. From an economic standpoint, he is the most valuable. In our society, we don't put a priority on one life or the other.

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