Death Should Be Kept On The Outside Reading List By Mary Roach

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When someone dies it is often assumed that the body is now useless and nothing but a decaying pile of bones. Yet author Mary Roach contradicts this assumption by arguing that the human body is perhaps the most useful dead rather than alive. Death may be brutal and difficult to cope with, but death is not at all in vain. Roach and other anatomists have objectified human cadavers by covering the body’s hands and face in order to bear with the natural emotional distresses of the human condition. As harsh as it seems, the death of one can potentially become the savior of the lives of millions. Therefore, Stiff should be kept on the outside reading list because Roach’s eloquent writing style addresses the sensitive topic of death in an entirely …show more content…

Due to the fact that her research requires a bit more explaination to fully comprehend to the average reader, she leaves various footnotes. Sometimes the footnotes explain more in detail about the topic and more often than not the footnotes are there to humor the reader. For example in this quote Roach compares the dead to a cruise ship to allude to the readers that death is not that bad as it is often perceived to be. A humorous metaphor to reassure people that death is on par with a cruise trip. “The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back.” (1). To further humor her audience Mary Roach provides a giddy and plausible explanation for the use of human cadavers in test car driving. “In an unfortunate design decision, the steering wheel shaft of the average automobile was angled and positioned to point straight at the driver’s heart.” (91). After Roach visits the University of San Diego to witness the stages of human decomposition she reminds her readers that humans are no different from any other living organism and will become prone to decompose. Death is inevitable and below the page Roach makes the upcoming footnote. “It is difficult to put words to the smell of decomposing human. It is dense and cloying. Halfway between rotting fruit and rotting meat. The point is that no matter what you chose to do with your body when you die, it won’t be very appealing.”

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