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The Dead Baby Mystery

Better Essays
The Unmaking of Words
The two articles we were asked to read this week were “A Dark Side to Optimism” and the “Dead Baby Mystery,” both of which seem to examine the subjective nature of human perception. The first article details the inability of humans to correctly adjust expectations of negative events occurring. The second article uses the story of a mother of ten dead infants to illustrate how hard science and facts cannot solve every mystery. At first, these articles seemed only loosely related until I began to consider the subjectivity of human judgment in both. I was curious as to why in “The Dead Baby Mystery,” the answer to the case came down to what the investigators were told, while the previously cautionary excerpt seemed say that people ignore facts given to them. When I compared these two articles, the lesson of the week quickly became apparent. Subjectivity in writing, in our human interactions, and in our lives, is implicit.
The apparent thesis of the excerpt “A Dark Side to Optimism” is to caution the inevitability of the optimism bias, which can be harmful to our daily lives. The anecdote of Leopold Trepper, a Soviet spy, is woven throughout the passage to illustrate how disturbing, yet truthful, information was ignored because of the optimism bias. The story goes: Trepper discovered Nazi Germany would invade the Soviet Union, despite an agreement promising they would not. Trepper reported to Stalin, who became disgusted at the suggestion, and
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The story details how from 1949 to 1968, eight of Marie Noe’s ten infants were found dead in their cribs while she was the only one in the house. The passage explores the amorphous phenomenon of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and how it’s used when no other causes of death can be found from autopsies. The author, Atul Gawande (2003), quotes a phrase to illustrate the peculiarity of the
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