Your perspective on death correlating with age was rather interesting. I agree that age is a major factor
that affects our concept of death. Why does this occur? We know only what we are exposed to. Some
scholars see death as a symbolic construction, something we have cobbled together from our
experiences, guesswork, and ignorance (Kastenbaum, 2012). When we are little and question things, our
parents are our main source. Therefore, the information/feedback we are given is very biased and our
perceptions become restricted (e.g., our understanding of death).
From childhood to adulthood our perceptions can change or become altered. For example, when our
first pet dies, our parents may tell us that “he is in a better place, he’s happy there” .This experience has
taught us that death is not the end of life, only a continuation of a new life. However, as we become
older our perception of death changes as we go through more and more experiences. For example, mass
media (television shows, the news, movies, etc.). Some of the most influential constructions of death in
our society come from movies and television, with the Internet also coming on strong (Kastenbaum,
2012). Thus, we apply what we have witnessed from these sources of media to our own definitions of
death. The most common signs of death have been lack of reparation, pulse, and heartbeat, as well as
failure to respond to stimuli such as light, movement, and pain (Kastenbaum, 2012). For example, in
crime TV shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, etc., a victim is often pronounced dead once the pulse is
checked at the scene of the crime.
Everyone goes through different experiences and can be exposed to different things at different times.
However, everyone’s concept of death is constructed throughout one’s lifespan, and can change or be
altered at any time. From what I have discussed above I used a few examples to demonstrate how this
What are everyone else’s thoughts concerning accidental deaths versus being able to plan for a death?
Are there any similar experiences from your lives?
I believe accidental deaths and being able to plan for a death affects us differently mostly because of
society. Society teaches us what is of the “norm” and what is “deviant”. When death is planned society
has taught us through mass media (news, television, movies, etc.) that the death is not as tragic in
comparison to accidental death. For example, both Ryan and you used your experiences of losing your
grandparents; I have lost both of mine as well to planned deaths. This is obviously still a sad time, but
since the death was expected, you go through the typical process society has labeled as “normal” (e.g. a
funeral with family and friends). While accidental deaths create more attention and tragedy and the
process is not as simple. For example, when two sisters who went to my high school got t-boned by a
transport truck and died. The media blew this up, people who did not even know the victim or the
victim’s families were heart broken. Flowers were sent and people visited the scene to drop off candles
and gifts. Furthermore, the parents had to deal with interviews and people constantly sending their
condolences. This makes it harder to move on passed the death and accept it. The media allows the
death to be dragged on, and becomes a constant reminder of what happened that day. Even after a year passed the news was still talking about what happened to these two young beautiful girls, everyone
knew their story. Unlike the planned death of our grandparents, where all we had was a simple
ceremony in their name to reminisce about their long lived happy lives.
The examples I used above demonstrate how society’s plays a big role in how we deal with certain
deaths. When the death is accidental it’s unexpected, a shock to everyone. Therefore the death is
harder to accept and move on. Planned deaths allow us to say goodbye and get th