English 125 Essay 4

English 125 Essay 4 - Shanna Cheng shannac@umich.edu...

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Shanna Cheng shannac@umich.edu Autopsies: A Cross Examination “Final Cut” by Atul Gawande analyzes autopsy and how it has transformed over time. He argues that autopsies are helpful, but there is a clear decline in such surgical procedures. It is shown that his decline is due to medical arrogance. In an attempt to bring to light the benefits of autopsies, Gawande uses his own experience in which he misdiagnosed a patient’s death. Through this, and other autopsy studies, it is seen that autopsies are beneficial and provide doctors a way to confirm their diagnosis or perhaps even correct them. Atul Gawande depicts death in his essay in terms of life after death. Not the spiritual life after death, but rather the emotionless process of an autopsy. He places emphasis on how a dead body is treated much differently than a live one, how crude the entire process is. In the end, a body without a beating heart is rendered helpless. Similarly, Elwood Reid also depicts death—not a physical one but an emotional one—and the aftermath of it. In “My Body My Weapon My Shame” Reid is dead to himself. His emotions are numbed, and he is controlled by his surroundings. Reid’s essay is essentially an autopsy of his dark past. He attempts to rationalize the pain he inflicted on himself as well as the hurt he experienced in his football career. As a result, he realizes that despite his past efforts to be a great football star, he died to himself and gave up his identity. An emotional death, in Reid’s case, is just as debilitating as a physical one. Elwood Reid documents his transition from life to death as a gradual one. His death looms near as he becomes more and more heavily involved in football. Much of this death is catalyzed because of his desire to be accepted. “I played because if you were big, it was what you did in Cleveland. To do anything else would be soft or queer” (Reid 1). Because Reid is Cheng 1
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essentially not given any other option due to societal pressures, he slowly falls into the role of a puppet and loses himself. Reid is under constant pressure to be a devoted jock and live up to the implications society has placed on football. Even as a young kid, Reid feared being “bid for at [an] auction” because of his “scrawny body” (Reid 2). It is clear that Reid’s constant fear that he
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English 125 Essay 4 - Shanna Cheng shannac@umich.edu...

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