The Loved One Essay

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In “The Loved One” Waugh satirises American burial customs. Discuss this statement with reference to the novel.

In this essay, it will be discussed how the author of “The Loved One” satirises the American way of death and funeral industry. This will be done by analysing aspects from the ‘Happier Hunting Ground’ and ‘Whispering Glades’. In addition, the two will be compared and contrasted followed by a brief conclusion.

Whispering Glades Memorial Park and mortuary represents a Disney Land like world for the deceased Californians. The company’s cemetery is exclusive and at times very expensive and caters to the desires of the individuals whose friend or family member has passed away. However, Whispering Glades as a whole has a superficial exterior as the reality of it is ironic and contradicting.

One example of this can be seen while Dennis is told during discussions about Sir Francis’ funeral arrangements that the cemetery is a restricted park which excludes those who aren’t on Caucasian race. Irony is present seeing as in the mean time, the founder of Whispering Glades, Wilbur Kentworthy also known as ‘The Dreamer’ has left a message (pg.34) on an elaborate wall at the entrance of the cemetery which comes along as quite Christian and innocent. For example, within the message, The Dreamer states that he dreamt of a place that could be “the Happy Resting Place of Countless Loved Ones” which in turn contradicts the racist rule of Whispering Glades.

Apart from irony, exaggeration can also be seen at Whispering Glades. This is demonstrated through the sections within the cemetery as people are able to be buried in ‘zones’ each with a different theme which preferably coincides with the personality of the deceased person. These sections are priced according to how extravagant or less appealing they are. For instance, the zone called ‘Lake Isle’ ranges at a price of one thousand dollars while the zone ‘Pilgrims Rest’ is located behind the cemetery’s fuel...
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