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Custom Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain Essay

Introductory statements: Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain is an essay that was written by Jessica Mitford. The main idea of the author is subject of the practices of embalming, secrets surrounding these practices as well as description of the procedures followed during the embalming process. This paper seeks to discuss as well as analyze Mitford’s essay, by taking into account the writer’s view over the issue and various ways that the author uses to illustrate her points. The writer’s point is clear from the beginning of the essay whereby she is discussing the subject of embalming in the American society. The essay criticizes professionalism of the modern mortuary.

Thesis: The thesis statement for this essay will be “embalming process amounts to disrespecting the deceased”.

Summary of Main ideas. The author of the essay is opposed to what is done to human body after death. She argues most of the traditional funeral practices in the modern American society are not worthy as they amount to disrespecting the deceased instead of bringing respect to them. This paper will seek to analyze secrets behind the process of embalming as revealed to us by Mitford in her essay. As Mayer notes in his book Embalming: History, theory & practice, all cultures around the world the funeral services are a sign of paying respect for the deceased; however, this has turned out to be different in modern societies (Mayer, 2010). Many of those involved in the embalming process are after making profit from their activities as revealed to us by Mitford.

The essay by Mitford mainly focuses on the practice of embalming as it is carried out in the American society.

Claim: The author harshly and confidently communicates her opposition to the entire process that human body goes through after death.

Evidence: She goes a step further and explains in details the practice of embalming; she reveals the illogical behind the confidentiality of this process (Mitford, 1978). The author also carries out an analysis of attitude of the American society toward death as well as their funeral practices.

In the essay, the author attempts to sensitize the general public about entire process of embalming. In addition, the author also tries to attract the readers’ attention on the popular practices of the American funeral industry as well as irrationality and absurdity of these practices, with an aim of ensuring that people do not allow the embalming process as it is done at the moment (Mitford, 1978). The essay creates awareness on the drama behind the funeral business.

The author positions herself in this essay as a specialist in matters pertaining to death. She uses her knowledge to analyze the attitude people have toward death and she criticizes what she views as nonsense about the entire process of embalming. She criticizes the whole process untypically, in a shocking sobriety but with scientific rationalism (Mitford, 1978).

Significance: She uses an ironical language to communicate her discontent with what is done to the human body after death. She is opposed to those who view human death as a process of routine responsibilities.

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Claim: The author in her essay constantly questions the legality of the entire process of embalming.

Evidence: In her essay, the author refers to the various acceptable legal practices that provide guidelines on what should be done on a body after death. She gives instances where the signature of the next of kin is obtained before cremation is carried out or before the body of the deceased is given to a research school for the purpose of carrying out medical research (Mayer, 2010). The author argues that the law does not support the process of embalming since permission is not sought from either next of kin or the deceased before death. This makes her question the legality of the whole process of embalming.

Significance:  Mitford reveals to us secrets that surround the entire embalming process. She is of the view that if people are aware of what happens behind the curtains they will be totally opposed to the process, thereby reducing the income received from the funeral industry. She questions why family members of the deceased are discouraged from witnessing the entire embalming process. The author argues that procedures that are carried out to the human body after death amount to disrespect and people should be opposed to the process and come up with better ways of paying respect to the deceased in the American society (Mitford, 1978).

Claim: According to Falcony, if the practice of embalming results to disrespecting the deceased, there is the need for people to oppose the entire process (Falcony, 1999).

Evidence: Mitford reveals to us that the process should be open if all what is done behind the curtains brings respect to the deceased. From the essay it is clear that the entire process of embalming is a money making process which is used by businesspersons to cash in money from those who want to conform to the traditional funeral ritual practices.

Significance: There is a need to change attitude that people have toward death by saving their cash from greedy businesspersons who carry out the embalming process.

Conclusion

Restatement of thesis: I totally agree with position of the author that members of the public should oppose the embalming process. The procedures that are performed on the body behind the curtains amount to disrespect to the deceased.

Review of key points: The funeral process should be aimed at paying respect to the deceased but embalming does not leave to achieve this objective. The author’s position over the entire process of embalming and funeral services shows that people in American society need to change their attitude toward death in order to bring the much-needed sobriety in the entire process of paying respect to the deceased.

Concluding Statement: the entire process of embalming should be abolished. 

Custom Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain Essay

Code: Sample20

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