Name Instructor Class 10 April 2013 Political and Symbolic Deaths, Struggles for Meaning and Survival Does death drive people’s lives? Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality, directed by Patrick Shen and shown in 2003, presents a compelling universal theory on human behavior that answers this question…
They illustrate the reactions of people to death, which include a wide range of humane and inhumane behaviors. The film depicts situational irony, wherein because of death anxiety, people want to assert life-affirming ideologies, and yet the more that they do so, the more that they end up hurting others and themselves, when one of the best ways to handle it is to simply live and co-exist. Death anxiety shows that the one of the greatest ironies in life is that the more people want to preserve life, the more they hurt others to do so. Some people become inhumane because of death anxiety, and they exhibit this through prejudice and discrimination (Flight from Death). Associate Professor of Social Work at Illinois State University Daniel Liechty asserts that to fight death anxiety, “One of easiest ways to make [people] feel more than mortal is to stand as conqueror of someone else, so there’s this…tendency…to want to lift [themselves] up by elbowing people down” (Flight from Death). Prejudice and discrimination help people feel better and secure with their lives by believing that they are superior to others. McHugh shows the discrimination of the speaker of the poem against Germans: “where it must have been abandoned by/the German visitor (was there a bus of them?)…” (27-28). ...
Flight from Death emphasizes that when people fear death, they tend to overgeneralize people. Jeff Greenberg, Psychology Professor of University of Arizona, notes that after 9/11, a number of people are so deeply disturbed of being reminded of their death that they killed a man wearing a turban, when he was an Indian Sikh (Flight from Death). He stresses that because of the heightened reminder of death, several people resort to scapegoating and generalization (Flight from Death). The makkoli vendor in Krukowski’s story detests the generalization. In the end, he does something symbolic: “[He] pours the white liquid into a paper cup, eyes locked with ours. Still smiling, he pours it on the ground” (Krukowski 9). The action signifies that he does not care what he is selling because his occupation does not define his existence. When a group of people see another as different, they fear death that come from clashing ideologies, so they denigrate the other as inferior. Another way of hurting others is through competing with them in a rat race culture. Sheldon Solomon, a Professor of Social Psychology at Skidmore College, says that the American culture perpetuates death anxiety, even more through its various social expectations. He notes that it is not enough to be a person with integrity because they must also be rich, beautiful, famous, or extremely thin (Flight from Death). Otherwise, they are more likely to feel wanting in the world and more anxious of their mortality (Flight from Death). Krukowski exemplifies competitiveness in the real world that drives people’s fortunes: “Clue to the power of silent movies: Clara Bow’s career was ruined when sound revealed her heavy Brooklyn accent. This accent undoubtedly helped her silent ...
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