top-rated free essay

To Hell with Dying

By char1ene Mar 09, 2011 470 Words
In "To Hell With Dying," Alice Walker writes about an old man named Mr. Sweet who occasionally falls into a deep depression and becomes so unhappy with life that he loses the desire to live. Each time this happens, a neighborhood girl would come to the rescue and shower Mr. Sweet with love by giving him hugs and kisses, as he lay on his death bed. After these “rituals,” Mr. Sweet shows a miraculous recovery and has the will to live again. This goes on for many years until Mr. Sweet finally dies of old age. Walker's central idea is that while love can make life worth living for, it cannot prevent nature from taking its course.

In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to a very young girl who is described as having a low hairline which made her look like “a baby monkey.” This young girl is a neighbor of Mr. Sweet and is also the narrator. Mr. Sweet would "call me his princess, and I believed it" making her feel very special and happy. From age seven, she remembered participating in Mr. Sweet’s “rituals” because she "had been the one chosen to kiss him and tickle him long before she knew the rite of Mr. Sweet's rehabilitation" making her his official "revivalist." At age twenty-four, while the narrator was getting her doctorate, she received notice "that Mr. Sweet was dying again and could she please drop everything and come home." Mr. Sweet is a man who had lost his true love, had to settle to be a fisherman because of his race, and was a very sad man. He lost his will to live on several occasions but did not give up because of the love he was shown from the narrator. Mr. Sweet’s death at the age of ninety was also important because it showed that everyone has a time to go and nothing, even love, will change a person’s destiny.

The main conflict in "To Hell With Dying," is the neighborhood girl's sense of reality and her sense of failure. Her love kept Mr. Sweet alive on multiple occasions and, as she grew up through college, thats all she knew she had to do to keep him alive. The narrator explains that she saw Mr. Sweet as another person her age and wished that she would've be the one he loved in reality. As time and Nature go by, ultimately, death cannot be prevented. Even at the age of 24 and in college, the narrator expresses shock and disbelief that her loving touch and affection did not "revive" Mr. Sweet as it had done so in the past. She genuinely felt that she had failed him since he did not open his eyes again.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • To Hell with Dying

    ...In the short story, “To Hell with Dying” by Alice Walker, the narrator is a young girl who reminisces about the “revivals” that took place at the house of her alcoholic and diabetic neighbor, Mr. Sweet. Many times throughout his life Mr. Sweet was near death and the narrator’s father would summon his children to surround him and remi...

    Read More
  • The Hell

    ...To My Little Sister With Throat Cancer, Happy Trails To Cancer Shirt By Sam French It was purchased just for you, when you're happy or you're blue, you can wear it on your head, 'round the house or in your bed, you can wear it in the dark, while you're . Mary And The Mouse By Trish Moyles It started all so sweetly, Mary and the mouse...

    Read More
  • Hell

    ...IMPACT OF TERRORISM ON TOURISM Posted on October 25, 2009 | Leave a comment ABSTRACT Tourism is a critical source of revenue generation and therefore a major component of economic development, a relationship that rewards states when positive conditions such as a strong global economy exist. But what happens when negative conditions exist,...

    Read More
  • To Hell with Dying Short Summary

    ...This story revolves around a beloved neighbor, Mr. Sweet, and the many "revivals" a neighboring family participates in to bring him back from the brink of death. The revival consists of the whole family going to visit Mr. Sweet, who lay on his deathbed. The children's father would say, "To hell with dying, man," addressing the dying Mr. Sweet, a...

    Read More
  • “to Hell with Dying” Written by Alice Walker

    ...In the short story, “To Hell with Dying” written by Alice Walker, Mr. Sweet is a sick old man whose multiple ailments bring him often to the brink of death; the narrator’s father and the children would call him back from his deathlike state by calling “To hell with dying, man!” (Walker 1127), and surrounding him with affection. The “...

    Read More
  • Hell

    ...Ojt Narrative Report Psu-Sc Administration and Office Administration San Carlos City, Pangasinan OJT NARRATIVE REPORT (S.P Madrid Associates and Law Firm) In partial fulfillment of the... Premium Ojt Narrative Report Fm5 March 2013 Donna Rae M. Mallari FM 4-1 On the Job Training Narrative Report Company Profile From its emergence in 1958 as ...

    Read More
  • Analysis of a short story "To Hell with Dying" by Walker

    ...To Hell with Dying by Alice Walker begins with old neighbor Mr. Sweet on his deathbed and his neighboring family gathering around him for his coming death with sad faces except the childrens father trying to put cheerful mood by saying, To hell with dying, man. He revives many times because during the times of his deaths, the family comes to his...

    Read More
  • Road to Hell

    ...Description The case “Road to Hell,” by Gareth Evens shows a moment in time between the current chief engineer for the Caribbean Bauxite Company of Barracania, John Barker as he prepares to leave for a new assignment and his predecessor, Matthew Rennalls. The case starts as John Barker, English expatriate, giving Matthew Rennalls, a Barraca...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.