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Answer three of the following.
You will be graded on thoroughness (write like a boss!), creativity, and insightfulness.

· In relation to Didion’s

The Year of Magical Thinking
and Buffy (in

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
) how do humans show various reactions to sudden death (or sudden realization of another’s death)? Using your choice of concepts from class, how do Joan and Buffy struggle with the sudden reality that, as Joan puts it, “life changes in the ordinary instant?”

· Regarding the death of a loved one, how is it virtually impossible for a survivor (who truly loved the departed) NOT to experience some type of

survival guilt
? Drawing upon Joan Didion in

The Year of Magical Thinking
and Conrad Jarrett in

Ordinary People
, as well as your choice of concepts, is survival guilt necessary to experience as one tries to recover? How can a person grow from such guilt?

· In specific regard to

Rabbit Hole
, how is interpersonal grief among intimates(experienced by Howie and Becca together) complicated? Using lecture concepts of your choice, how would you characterize Howie and Becca in regard to how they are dealing with traumatic loss? What are signs of trouble and signs of hope for them in regard to the shared future as an intimate couple?

· What is the myth of closure and how does it relate to grief? What specific complications associated with grief and the myth of closure, in your opinion, most affected Becca/Howie (in

Rabbit Hole
) and Conrad (in

Ordinary People
)? Again, in your opinion, did Becca/Howie and Conrad reach closure? How so (or how not so)?

· In regard to the segment from

Friday Night Lights
and the death of Matt Saracen’s father, select any concepts of your choice and describe the process that Matt goes through as he struggles to deal with his father’s death. What do you see as Matt’s major struggle and why do you see it as a major struggle?

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Death and Dying: Sociological Perspectives


The Sociological (and specifically, the Social Psychological) study of death and dying includes a few priorities. First,
the emphasis is more on those who survive the deaths of others. While the process of dying remains, obviously, important and relevant,
our orientation to death and dying, as survivors, represents the perspectives of those who have confronted the death of another or others and struggle to adapt to this reality. This struggle is explicitly evident on regard to particular losses that have made a deep impact on us, as survivors of such loss.

Second, from the perspective of the survivor, various powerful emotions can serve as overwhelming reminders of our loss—
and our confrontation with a significant breakdown in our familiar social world (or even, social worlds). This breakdown relates to many commonly used phrases and descriptors such as adjusting to “a new normal,” or coping with various “triggers” or reminders of our loss.

The Social Psychology of Grief and Bereavement—basically, grief indicates the deep pain of having lost—usually, lost someone through death, but its use is wider than pertaining to the literal end of another’s life. We can grieve over the loss of objects, the lass of place, the loss of people who did not die but disappeared from our sensory world.

Bereavement is more associated with facing the reality of deprivation (which is also painful). Whereas grief pertains to a pure (and raw) emotional state, bereavement pertains to one’s cognitive (mind oriented) orientation in regard to facing reality away from, permanently, the presence of others.

Of sociological interest,
grief and bereavement serve two metaphorical masters: one, an internal master represents our own personal and individualistic style—
we, as individuals, cope with our emotional despair and loneliness (grief) as we also alter our lifestyle to be in a world without the company of a trusted and valued other. Two, grief and bereavement become a societal issue, often transcending our personal (and idiosyncratic) style. We as a society create normative expectations regarding grief and bereavement—indicating to us
what is a “normal duration” associated with feeling (grief) and
what constitutes a normal mental adjustment associated with managing everyday life (bereavement).

While internally, the pain of loss endures (and leaves us feeling raw),
we are expected to create and maintain a societal post-grief face that manages external impressions. This so-called “post grief face” is a “social lie,” of sorts

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