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Mitford: The Curtain is Pulled.

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Introduction

Steve Radabaugh ENGL 106.12 Essay #1 17 Feb 2003 Mitford: The Curtain is Pulled How would you like to be put on a cold metal tray and have your body invaded taking out your blood and filling you with fluids to preserve your organs, all while your family has no idea about it? This is the issue Jessica Mitford brings to the table in "Behind The Formaldehyde Curtain." She raises questions about the legality of embalming, and ends up going into gory detail expressing exactly what goes on in the back room of funeral parlors nationwide. She talks about how the family of the deceased does not know that they are being embalmed, how to make a body look life-like, and what goes on at the burial site. Jessica Mitford writes an excellent article and it is reinforced by her graphic words explaining the issue, and the information she has presented. However, there are some flaws in her article, including her tendency to over elaborate, her lack of credible sources, and her one sided view on embalming. In the essay, Mitford uses excellent words to explain the process of embalming. She is using words that help in her explanation of embalming, and they are so graphic, whether you want to or not, you can picture what is going on in the room. ...read more.

Middle

We would never know how to prevent lip drift, if Mitford wouldn't have gone out in the field to find out for us. One of the flaws in the article is her ability to over elaborate on the situation. Although all of her knowledge is appreciated, she says some things that make you feel like she is just saying that for emotional appeal. Some things like, "he is covered with a sheet and left unmolested for a while" is an example of one of her exaggerations (184). Using terms like unmolested leads us to believe that the body has been touch or prodded in ways that it should not be. This is a big exaggeration because in no way is the body ever "molested" that it needs to be left unmolested. Also Mitford exaggerates on the intentions of the funeral director. She says that the funeral director prefers to have the ceremony in their funeral home, to show it off to people who are close to dying, making their funeral home an optional place for their own funeral, suggests that the funeral director is only interested in his needs, and could care less about the needs of the grieving family (186). This also leads us to believe that the funeral director is looking for clients to have their funeral services in his parlor. I bet he has a line of shoppers wanting to reserve their place there, fulfilling his expectation of another funeral. ...read more.

Conclusion

She states "the family is never asked whether they want an open casket ceremony; in the absence of their instruction to the contrary, this is taken for granted" makes us believe that the funeral director has the final word no matter what (186). The use of the word never makes us think that not only does the funeral director never ask for the opinion of the family, but also makes us think he doesn't care. A funeral director, who always has compassion because he is always around grieving people, has to care about the wants and needs of his clients, or else he would be out of business. Without the resources and hard core facts to back up what you say, no one can tell whether they should believe you or not. You want people to value your opinion but you also want them to think that you are knowledgeable on the subject. The use of examples and the ability to see the argument from both sides increases your chance of being thought of as knowledgeable. Jessica Mitford seems to have a lot of textbook answers and opinion in her paper, making us unsure of how knowledgeable she is. So back to my opening question, how would you like to be put on a cold metal tray having your body invaded taking out your blood and filling you with fluids preserving your organs, all while your family has no idea about it? Consider all of the information and how credible Mitford is when you think about this. ...read more.

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