Death Be Not Proud Theme Essay

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Literary Analysis Conflict Essay: Death Be not Proud, by John Gunther

Denial is always present in the thought of individuals with illnesses. It is extremely difficult for someone to accept the fact that they are going to soon cease to exist. Denial hinders the view of reality. When at the doors of death, denial is there to ease the pain. In the personal memoir Death not Be Proud, written by John Gunther displays how his son, Johnny, battles cancer and how he strives to accept the cruel reality set in front of him; death. His struggles represent a true man vs. himself conflict. Johnny’s first major conflict appears after Frances visits him. The subject of death is brought up between the two. Johnny later records a journal entry of his understandings. “Yesterday I discussed fears of death with Mother. For years I have had a lack of confidence in myself, fears about ultimate reality. Accept death with detachment. Take more pleasure in life for its own sake (173).” After the discussion with Frances, Johnny promises to await death with feelings of separation so he can have a strong desire to live the remaining months of his life to the fullest. He believes he’s going to see the end anyway, so why not just enjoy the pleasure in life? Pleasure such as devoting his time to science, finishing as much school work as he can, and spending time with family. He also realizes that the denial he has put in front of the actual situation can no longer substitute for the fear he has been hiding. It’s time to face reality no matter how painful it is. Johnny believes that denial will only deceive yourself. Therefore, the understandings retained from the conversation prove a man vs. himself conflict. Johnny’s next major conflict occurs at the Gerson nursing home while he is on the Gerson Diet. His cancer condition seems to be stable until his blood count starts to drop. Johnny’s health begins to decline. Based on the sudden conditions, the team of doctors...
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