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Warm Bodies: the movie

The movie ‘Warm Bodies’ does not do the book ‘Warm Bodies’ justice. There were many pieces that were left out but there were two themes that were emphasized in the movie portrayal of ‘Warm Bodies’: love conquers all and the zombie apocalypse is a human caused situation.

The very first thing that I saw that was different in the movie was R’s attire. Although it is a very small detail, it makes a difference in the characterization of R. In the book, R is wearing a white shirt with a red tie. He theorizes that based on his outfit, in his lifetime, he may have been a businessman. Marion had used this element to further his capitalism allegory. Although R may have been a businessman, he was one of the dead who had maintained some humanity. Warm Bodies (the book) was about how although one of societies’ fears is that capitalism will ruin the world, it can also fix the world again. The end of the world is not based upon capitalism but rather how humans treat each other. In the movie, R is dressed in a white shirt and a red hoodie. The color red was significant because it’s the color of blood and passion: two things a zombie is incapable of producing. And the movie kept the color scheme similar. But in the movie, R theorizes that he was a college student. This completely changes R’s character. He is no longer an adult trying to grapple with the problems of his zombie world but rather a college kid trying to understand his surrounds. The stage of adulthood makes a difference in the portrayal of a character because the mentality of a work professional and a college student mean different things. In my opinion, R’s clothes makes a difference in that a theme of the book is lost in the movie. Marion’s opinion of capitalism is difficult to interpret in the movie so it is just completely left out. The movie loses some of Marion’s meaning in this way.

When the movie first showed the ‘Stadium’, I was surprised to see that in the movie, it wasn’t a stadium but rather a wall around a city. It reminded me of the Berlin Wall: the separation of the communist from those who believed in a democracy. The ‘Stadium’ walls in the movie separated the humans from the dead. In the book, the stadium stood as a symbol of capitalism defeated. Stadiums are used for recreational activities because through capitalism, our nation has been able to create a market for non-essential services. In Rome, there was one major recreational arena built: the Coliseum. But in the United States alone, we have a dozen multiple purpose stadiums let alone all the other types of stadiums. The book used the stadium to show the lack of recreation and to an extent, the lack of humanity left in the living. The movie instead showed this as a wall surrounding a part of an existing city. The movie did not have to worry about the dome covering like in the book because the dead could not fly. At the end of the movie, the walls surrounding the city fall and the world of the living and dead are merged together as one. It paralleled the falling of the Berlin Wall. The movie starts off with images and a narrative about war and disease. It evokes reminders of the terrible forms of warfare that were researched and funded during the Cold War such as a biological warfare. The movie tries to create a connection to familiar symbols and objects in an attempt to create the same image. In my opinion, the wall does not serve the same function as the stadium because in a city with walls around it, there is a distinction between people who will be saved and those left to the zombies. It is a physical barrier. An image of a stadium is more of a shelter for anyone who can reach the destination; there are no distinctions on the type of people who migrate to a place of shelter. It is the image of asylum.

The movie can only portray the key elements of the book: a zombie apocalypse can be fixed if there is human compassion and the sense of cooperation left. Although R’s age may have been distorted in the movie and the form of shelter was altered in the movie, the movie still managed to show that zombies can be created or cured by humans.

 

 Works Cited

Warm Bodies. Seville Entertainment, 2013. DVD.

Marion, Isaac. Warm Bodies: A Novel. New York: Atria, 2011. Print.

Difference in Approach to Depression

The movie American Splendor and the book Marbles portray two different images of depression through comics. American Splendor is “about the life and work of a file clerk who finds love, family, and a creative life by documenting his everyday existence” whereas Marbles is about an artist coming to grips with her illness and its effect on her identity (Meyers 41). Forney identifies herself as a creative person and being bipolar, she believes initially, discredits her personality traits whereas Pekar does not directly identify himself as creative. But by seeking out his creativity, Pekar is able to find happiness in his otherwise mundane life.

American Splendor and Marbles depict depression in two different lights: Pekar discounts it as a life changing illness whereas Forney depicts it as a life defining illness. In the movie, Pekar does not come out and say that he has had chronic depression. The movie is a film version of an autobiography: it outlines his accomplishments as a comic writer, it shows his struggle with cancer, it shows his love story, and it shows his friends. Pekar narrates to his audience what he wants characteristics he believes defines him. Joyce mentions his compulsive need to do things at various times throughout the movie but there is barely any mention about Pekar suffering from depression. The Fulford article confirms that he suffered from depression. As Fulford pointed out, the symptoms point to chronic depression but it did not appear that it was his defining characteristic. His decision not to discuss it in great length in the movie may be a reflection of the stigma that is attached to mental illnesses. On the other hand, Marbles is a novel about Forney coming to understand herself as a person diagnosed with bipolar. The comic is written almost in a medical way: it has information about the medications and their side effects and price and she outlines the DSM’s definition of bipolar. By describing her illness through its medical effects, she creates a case study. For Forney, the diagnosis of bipolar was a life changing milestone that now defines who she is as an artist.

Although both American Splendor and Marbles both use the medium of comics, the comics are very different in nature.  American Splendor is a “documentary-meets-narrative-meets-comic-book flick” as pointed out by Meyer. It is a comic book about his life and its mundane events. In Marbles, Forney chronicles her diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder. The comic book is written whimsically to describe her feelings and actions but then written very factual when describing her medication. Forney’s comics are almost educational, in a sense. Pekar’s comics are “funny and self-referential” (Meyer 41). Pekar and Forney use comics to depict different two different things: one is an autobiography whereas one is an episodic biography.

Forney establishes herself as a creative person, an artist. Creativity isn’t just a trait in a list of her characteristics; creativity is the single most thing that defines Forney. She used to think that her personality traits were unique but then all of a sudden, she was already a described and define character: bipolar. Marbles chronicles her journey of rediscovering herself. Her comic isn’t just about a bipolar person dealing with her illness but it’s finding a personal identity through a devastating incident. Pekar’s creativity allows for him to finally find happiness. Pekar does not define himself as someone creative. As Fulford points out, he has a “weepy self-assessment” of who he is. Fulford calls him a “world champion exhibitionist” but he assesses himself as an ordinary man who lives a mundane life.

Both Marbles and American Splendor “jump nimbly between the ‘real’ and a vivid, imaginative version of reality”. Forney’s imaginative reality can be seen when she draws her emotional periods of time. It is her reality because that is how she felt at the time. It is an imaginative reality because she is going through a manic or depressive stage so it is an exacerbated condition. In American Splendor, the movie switches between depicting the real Harvey and the actor playing Harvey in the same scene. There are multiple instances in the movie when the comic depictions of Harvey are on the screen right next to the character playing him. There are three different levels of imaginative reality in American Splendor: the person Harvey Pekar, the comic Harvey Pekar, and then the actor playing Harvey Pekar.

Pekar and Forney both suffer from depression but their art depict their illness in very different ways. There is no mention of Pekar’s depression the movie American Splendor whereas Forney’s comic novel centers on her illness. Pekar’s depression was not emphasized because it was simply another illness alongside high blood pressure. Forney’s depression made her question her identity and her diagnosis with bipolar eventually helped her figure out her identity.

Works Cited

“Finally, It’s Chic to Have the Blues: Film Based on Life of Harvey Pekar Sparks New Interest in Mental Health — by Robert Fulford.” Finally, It’s Chic to Have the Blues: Film Based on Life of Harvey Pekar Sparks New Interest in Mental Health — by Robert Fulford. 26 Aug. 2003. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.

American Splendor. HBO Video ;, 2004. DVD.

Meyer, Andrea. “The Strange and Wonderful World of “American Splendor”” Independent Film & Video Monthly 15 Sept. 2003: 40-43. Print.

Public Health and Public Safety

An outbreak of a disease incites public safety and public health concerns. Right now, there is an outbreak of measles that has been identified in 14 states with an estimated 102 reported cases over the course of a few month; despite the fact it was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000. Although not to the same magnitude as the AIDS outbreak, illnesses tend to be entrenched in distorted facts that cause a delay in response times. The movie “And the Band Played On” sheds a light on the outbreak of AIDS in San Francisco and follows the outbreak through the political, cultural, and scientific arena.

The public expects a national response but it is isn’t always dealt urgency and typically, it is characterized by frustration in public groups, such as politicians and medical professionals. In the movie “And the Band Played On”, the CDC scientists are frustrated with the lack of cooperation between the public, other agencies, and business owners. The head of the research group at the CDC decides that they will not disclose the initial information about AIDS. Although the research team believes there is a link between the bathhouses and the disease, it cannot provide enough evidence to impact any meaningful action. Based on the activities of the men who died from what appeared to be non-life threatening illnesses, the CDC determines that the bathhouses attribute to the spread of the illness. But the bathhouse owners will not close their businesses and the public safety commissioner does not require them to close their doors. It may be due to the fact that the bathhouses were a symbol of the gay community in San Francisco. Since the illness was first identified in the gay community, there was a stigma attached that it was ‘gay cancer’. This social stigma further slowed the progress towards a national response. It was a misconception. After further research, the CDC concludes that the illness can be spread through blood. The CDC had strong reason to believe one particular person had AIDS and that his blood donation was the reason a different patient had AIDS but the director at the blood bank center refuses to disclose the information about the patient unless there is ‘irrefutable scientific evidence’. Epidemiology traces the line of illness by determining who came in contact with the ill patient; it cannot prove its knowledge without comparing it to the known. To make matters worse, the FDA refused to perform blood tests on the blood samples because it is too expensive and the tests were not specifically designed for detecting the AIDS virus. At this point, 89 percent of severe hemophiliacs have AIDS that resulted from blood transfusions. The government knew there was a high probability there was an issue with the blood banks but did not address the issue. The point of creating specialized organizations is to facilitate a speedy national response. Instead, there was conflict among these groups. It is difficult to say the public was misinformed when the scientific community could not come to a consensus about the illness.  “And the Band Played On” shows the complexity of a nation dealing with an illness.

Similar to the current outbreak of measles, there was a political polarization of the issue. The federal government, under the leadership of Reagan, does not recognize the necessity of funding AIDS research so Francis lacks the funding to research the virus. He does not even have an electron microscope, a basic piece of equipment for a laboratory. The movie does not attack the Republican Party; it shows how the nation dealt with its first major outbreak: a pool of confusion and a slow response time. A few potential 2016 presidential candidates have made comments about a possible link between vaccines and mental illnesses but have maintained that it is important to get vaccines. Senator Rand Paul and Hilary Clinton have tweeted about the significance of getting vaccines. Again, it is important to highlight that the measles’s outbreak is not merely on the scale of the AIDS outbreak but the measles’s outbreak has encountered similar issues.

The worst part of public safety and public health is when there are practices that may assist in slowing the spread of an illness but these practices are not implemented. Inoculation rates for measles fell so low that measles came back despite having previously been eradicated. If 90 to 95 percent of people had been vaccinated for measles, it would not have spread; it could not form a chain of infection. AIDS was a brand new disease that was introduced to the community. It stunned the gay community at how quickly it spread and lead to death. It stunned the scientific community who faced many difficulties identifying the virus. As a result, AIDS spread rampantly. As new discoveries were made that could clot the spread of the AIDS, the public was not ready to hear about the topic until it affected their lives. The nation was faced with a case it had not seen previously. The response to AIDS was a lesson to the scientific community and to the government about how to effectively handle outbreaks.

Work Cited

Patel, Kavita, and Rio Hart. “What the Anti-Vaxxers Are Getting Dangerously Wrong.” The Brookings Institution. The Brookings Institution, 6 Feb. 2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.

And the Band Played on. HBO Home Video, 2001. Film.

Cancer Unit Conclusion

Art can be categorized as real and fiction. In the cancer unit, the ‘real’ depictions come from Lorde’s Cancer Journals and Vanhoutte’s criticsm of W;t. In the fictional forms of art, we had the play W;t and the movie The Fault in Our Stars. Lastly, there is a cancer blog that shows a families use of music to cope with cancer. All the mediums of art attempt to convey a form of reality to the reader and reflect a form of reality from the author.

 

Lorde’s reality with cancer is depicted in The Cancer Journals. Throughout the journal, she provides dates to show the progression of her attitude with cancer. Her medium of art is journal entries because it is her reality: she lived with the disease for a particular amount of time. Her intention behind publishing the journals illustrates the reality of her life. In the early 1980s, cancer was a silent killer. It was ignored an issue and woman were dying in vast numbers. Lorde published her experiences with cancer so that she may provide a voice to other woman with cancer. In the opening of her journals, she states “I am a post-mastectomy woman who believes our feelings need voice in order to be recognized, respected, and of use” (Lorde 1). She connects her experience as an individual to the struggle of woman collectively. Her reality comes from a time when she could have been one of those women who died a silent death from cancer.

 

W;t conveys the image of cancer through the form of a play. Vivian is a strong, independent, and intelligent woman who finds out that she has stage four ovarian cancer. The play gives the readers a sense of time through its dialogue. Vivian tells the audience the play takes place in about two hours because that’s how much time she is alive. The play W;t comes from Edson’s reality: she wrote the play based on her experiences at a cancer clinic (McGrath). Also, she created the character of Vivian based on some of her own qualities. In an interview, she stated, “we both argue with ourselves. The only difference is I’ve figured myself out” (McGrath). In the play, Vivian is a strong, independent, and intellectual professor who teaches on the subject of John Donne’s sonnets. Edson became a kindergarten and then sixth grade social studies. The character of Vivian is a reflection of Edson and her reality. It is interesting to note that her job as a clerk at the cancer institution was more than two decades before she wrote the play. Edson’s reality was changed as a result of her job at the cancer research facility.

 

For Vanhoutte, her reality with cancer was nothing like Vivian in W;t. As she writes, “I initially hoped that the play would help me make sense of what had happened to me. The fact I now approach it in a scholarly mode is in itself an indication that the play was a disappointment to me on a more fundamental level” (Vanhoutte 391). Vanhoutte identifies with Vivian because both are cancer patients who are professors of literature. Unlike Vivian’s research seeking, cold hearted doctor; Vanhoutte had a doctor with a “noble heart” (Vanhoutte 407). Her doctor held her hand at the start of the procedures and was extremely kind towards her. Vanhoutte characterized the doctors and nurses from W;t as stereotypical, not like her reality with cancer.

 

Certain parts of W;t resonated with me because it conveyed a message to my reality. I understood her dry sense of sarcasm that tends to annoy or aggravate other people. Although the play creates a villain out of the pursuit of knowledge, I understand her constant desire to seek out facts and intellectual topics rather than figuring out her emotions. My reality is such that I am sarcastic and hard headed, similar to Vivian. I constantly want to learn new things and embark on difficult tasks, whether it is a particular class or a project, so that I can expand my knowledge. Although W;t is a play about a factious character who gets ovarian cancer, I can identify with the character of Vivian because her characteristics a form of reality for me.

 

The movie the Fault In Our Stars is a movie based on the young adult novel by the same name. Similar to many young adult novels, it tells the story from the point of view of a survivor (Campbell 358). The movie is told from the point of view of Hazel who has cancer and survives Gus. It also falls into the pattern of young adult novels because the protagonist has a terminal illness. In this case, Hazel has a terminal cancer. As a genre of literature, the Fault in Our Stars shows a particular reality of young adults: “the end of life is a presence or motivating force” (Campbell 359).

 

In the Stand up 2 Cancer blog, Deb Talan and Steve Tannen from The Weepies get through breast cancer through music. Music does not convey time so much as it conveys a particular emotion. The couple continued their love for music by writing about their experience in the form of songs. It helped Deb through her cancer treatments and it helped the family stay united and positive. Deb expressed her cancer in the form of music because she is most familiar with that form.

 

Through three different modes of art, a play, movie, and literature, cancer depicted a reality that was true for the authors and resonated a certain reality, or in the case of Vanhoutte, not a true depiction of reality. By utilized the play as the medium, Edson is able to convey the urgency of Vivian’s end of life battle with cancer with a dramatic effect on a stage. The format of a movie allows the Fault in Our Stars to track a longer time period with the Hazel and Gus on their journey with cancer. And lastly, by publishing journal entries, Lorde describes the day-to-day changes in her body and how she deals with her cancer day by day. Three different forms of art. Three different ways of showing cancer.

 

Works Cited

“Our Family’s Breast Cancer Journey in Pictures, Music and Musings.” Stand Up To Cancer. 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.

Campbell, Patty. “YA Lit and the Deathly Fellows.” Horn Book Magazine 15 May 2008: 357-60. Print.

Edson, Margaret. Wit: A Play. New York: Faber and Faber, 1999. Print.

Mcgrath, Charles. “Changing Gears but Retaining Dramatic Effect.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Feb. 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.

Vanhoutte, Jacqueline. “Cancer and the Common Woman in Margaret Edson’s W;t.” Comparative Drama 22 Sept. 2002: 391-410. Print.

Optimism verus Pessimism ?

The Fault in Our Stars is part of the new genre of young adult literature: end of life novels. These types of books are written from the perspective of a protagonist who is dying. The Fault in Our Stars is written from the point of view of Hazel as she goes on her journey through cancer. Campbell points out “nowhere do we find spiritual questioning on the part of the dying, or any consolidation of faith” (360). Hazel question her condition such as asking why suffering exists and why cancer is arbitrary in selecting its victims but it does not answer these questions or provide guidance through a religious or spiritual means.

Through Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac, we can see three different psychological coping mechanisms. The Deardorff article prescribes positive thinking along with a cancer treatment plan for the best survival rate. The movie shows three children with cancer and how they cope with cancer and ultimately, their condition.

Hazel would be classified as a pessimist who understands her world through books. Unlike most teenagers, she has already completed her GED and is attending college. She tends to make very witty and sarcastic comments. Hazel’s doctor has put her on a high dosage of anti-depressants. It’s hard to determine the source of her cancer: her pessimistic outlook or the cancer itself. According to the Deardorff article, “a positive outlook can help …alleviate conditions such as anxiety, depression, and despair that often accompany cancer”. This implies that cancer can onset psychological illnesses such as depression. The article also points out this type of outlook has a greater perceived social support and therefore more frequent, high quality social interactions. Hazel does not care to join the cancer support group because she does not understand the point of being optimistic about her cancer because it’s terminal. She does not care for frequent high quality social interaction. She tries to isolate herself and have the compansionship of intelligence. She has had unseen success with the test drug but she understands that it’s still a terminal illness. As the story progresses, the audience gets to see that Hazel’s pessimism is a source of strength for her. Her pessimism brings her the happiness that she needs to get her get through her illness but when she realizes that Augustus needs optimism for his happiness, she adjusts her perspective.

Augustus is the cheerleader of optimism. He the signature of an optimist: leaving a mark in the world, living every moment to the fullest, and always being the hero. He is a direct contrast to Hazel’s character. He believes in making grand gestures such as contacting and arranging a meeting with Hazel’s favorite author: Van Houten. Gus goes above and beyond all boundaries to impress Hazel. His trademark is an unlit cigarette tucked between his lips. He wants to prove that his great due to his ability to survive while he is holding his death in his hands. When his illness reaches its peak of pain, Gus’s optimism seems to disappear. He feels helpless, lonely, and desperate. This does not necessarily mean that optimism is not a good approach; it just shows that it’s hard to maintain a positive outlook when death is looming overhead. Hazel helps him realize that life isn’t about leaving a mark in the world but rather leaving a mark on the people involved in our life. We are significant to the people in our life.

Isaac’s life is deeply impacted by cancer but he has an indifferent approach to his cancer. He ultimately loses vision in both eyes but he isn’t depressed. He manages to keep a steady outlook. Isaac is the ‘normal’ child in this story. He has a form of cancer but it is not terminal. He has ‘regular’ emotions that involve highs and lows. He does not turn every situation into a sad situation nor does he turn every situation into an opportunity to say the world is a great place. He just lives his life day to day and deals with the situations as they arise. When he was dating Monica, Isaac is happy and cheerful. When Monica breaks up with him, he expresses his anger at her reasoning. She left because she could not deal with him losing his whole sense of sight. Isaac does not have an optimistic or pessimistic point of view. He simply deals with situations as they arise.

As Deardorff points out, a positive attitude “places an unfair burden on patients because it doesn’t allow them to express fear and anger”. There is no correct way of dealing with cancer because it is a personal choice how to deal with an illness. Each approach has its pros and cons. But ultimately, the decision lies with the individual. Fitting the new trend in young adult literature, the Fault in Our Stars has “only a bleak sense of ending, of an imminent black nothingness” (360). Augustus dies, Hazel grabbles with Augustus’s death and continues to think about her battle with cancer, and Isaac continues to live his life without vision.

Death is inevitable. It is difficult to talk about children with terminal illnesses but the movie isn’t about which psychological coping mechanism triumphs. It’s not about pessimism or optimism. It’s about pursuing your passions and being happy with your life because death is inevitable, regardless of having a pessimistic or optimistic point of view.

Tig Notaro’s Approach to Cancer

After she is introduced, the first thing that Notaro says is ‘I have cancer’. It appears that she is continuing the introduction by informing the audience that she has cancer. Her illness has become a way to identify who she is as a person. In a later section, she goes to discuss how she should format her dating site. She has cancer and that is the focal point of her life. That’s the only thing that she can think about and even she feels like it’s her only identity at this time in her life.

In the beginning, people are laughing because she is not being serious about her condition. She is simply telling people about what has happened to her. After she tells people that she is in a state of tragedy, there is no laughter. The audience feels sympathetic and upset for her. When she talks frankly about the pain she goes through during the procedures, the audience is silent. There is no laughter heard from anyone. The audience respects her pain and therefore remains quiet while she describes the painful experience of going through the process.  When she discusses how her mom died, the audience is once again silent. They listen as she explains the sadness she felt when her mother passed away. Simply listening to her narrative. There are certain times when tragedy is just that, a sad and unfortunate event.

Nataro explains that tragedy plus time is comedy. She has reached the stage where is now comfortable talking about the fact she has cancer. She has taken some time to come to terms with herself and now she is seeking solace from comedy. For Tig, it may be a source of relief that she can now actually talk about cancer in public. Her family is aware of her condition but now she can heal better with the support of her fans.

In the standup, she jokes about how she initially learned she may have cancer. It was funny that the hospital sent home a questionnaire about her mom’s stay at the hospital. Tig’s underlying sadness about the passing of her mom becomes very evident. She mocks her own self-pity about how she wished she had told her mom more things and how she was sobbing at her mom’s bedside every night. Through comedy, she is able to share those raw emotions in a way she still feels strong.

She says multiple times that she’s okay. She doesn’t talk about how she is triumphant over cancer or how she won the battle with cancer. Instead, she focuses on her current state and experience. She still remains humorous when her life was upside down. She is just saying her feeling at the moment. She turned something as upsetting as hearing that one has cancer into something comical.

Notaro discusses her experience of physical and emotional pain. Illness literature typically shows a different side of the human experience: the emotional rollercoaster associated with the discovery of an illness. For example, she talks about dying like it’s an ordinary topic. When the nurse asked about how she has a flat stomach, she answers in a nonchalant tone that it is because she is dying. She faces her fears and humanity by talking frankly about her situation. Notaro selects comedy as her avenue to discuss her illness because it is her best method of communication.

Nortaro explains the reason for her topic for that nights show and about what happened: she doesn’t know how she can make other people laugh about when she is consumed with the thought of dying of cancer. She wants to discuss what’s important to her in the avenue she knows best: comedy.

Tig Nortaro is a comedian. She expresses her emotions and reaction to situations, include drastic changes in her life like discovering that she has cancer, through comedy. Everyone expresses things differently and through her stand up, as a listener, I realized that she is definitely funny and that like the rest of us, she’s human and trying to grapple with a major change in her life, but that doesn’t make her any different. She is still the same person before and after cancer.

By delivering her experience in the form of comedy, it makes a tough topic like cancer feel almost light hearted. There’s no disputing that it is a very difficult topic to discuss when a loved one learns they have cancer, but she left her listeners with the feeling that she was going to be okay and that what matter is her healing journey. It opens the door to being able to discuss cancer if the situation were to arrive close to home.

Psychological Coping

Cancer tests the fiber of one’s being. In the play W;t, Vivian Bearing goes through multiple stages of chemotherapy while attempting to understand the meaning of death through a John Dunne poem. Through a series of flashbacks, Vivian looks at her beloved Professor Ashford’s interpretation of the last line of the couplet and her contrasting interpretation. As one of the top five experts in John Dunne poetry, Vivian holds her evaluation as a well-developed analysis rather than simply an opinion. During the play, she examines the poem, not for its analytic meaning, but rather for the meaning the poem has in her life. Vivian parallel’s her decision in selecting John Dunne as her career focus to her decision to undergo chemotherapy when she had terminal cancer: she liked a challenge. Professor Ashford says that as a metaphysical poem, life everlasting is only a pause away from death.  Life and life everlasting are not separated by barriers. In the end, Vivian believes that life and death are separate spaces. One has to cross one threshold before being able to enter the next threshold. Her last words while alive show that her definition of life and the life everlasting is separated by a semicolon; it is more than just a pause or a breath. She leaves this Earth naked and into the light where she then goes to her life everlasting.

Vanhoutte makes an interesting point about the portrayal of cancer in W;t: that cancer was an extension of the self. According to Vanhoutte, W;t and it’s use of the Holy Sonnet corroborates the conclusion that cancer is a judgment. Vanhoutte does not like that W;t follows suit with the stereotypes surrounding cancer: Vivian is a stereotypical isolated woman who has not had children and so she is responsible for having ‘contracted’ ovarian cancer; culturally, we believe cancer is supposed to be a death sentence and Vivian dies in the end of the play. Vanhoutte turned to W;t as a coping mechanism but she did not agree with the depiction of cancer. In the end, W;t served its purpose but through different means: Vanhoutte got the fuel to write her experience with cancer.

Lorde describes her battle with cancer in ‘The Cancer Journals’ so that society recognizes the voice of woman with cancer. She wants other women to break their silence about cancer they may heal.  She wants her work to encourage other woman to take action against their cancer and not let their cancer overpower them. Lorde acknowledges that cancer is indiscriminate in who it targets. Women with different coping mechanisms and characteristics get cancer therefore these women handle cancer in different ways.  Lorde, herself, goes through a rollercoaster of emotions and coping mechanisms. She has days where she describes her battle as “the small yet so important victories that make the sweetness of my life” (11). And days where she shows symptoms of helplessness and says “I am not supposed to exist. I carry death around in my body like a condemnation” (11).

According to the “Influence of psychological coping on survival and recurrence in people with cancer”, there is minimal uniform data that supports one particular coping mechanism as a factor in the survival from cancer. Currently, psychological therapy is used alongside medical treatment and therefore, it is important to understand the effects of upstaging one psychological coping skill over another. This study looked at 26 studies that included both published and unpublished studies. Although it is a common belief that having a fighting spirit will help someone get through an illness, it does not actually have a significant impact on the survival of a cancer patient.

Edson wrote the play based on her experience as a clerk in an oncology/AIDS unit that was working with AZT for AIDS patients and for treatment for ovarian cancer. Her portrayal of the nurse and doctors, stereotypical as they may be, was deeply influenced by the interaction of the patients and caregivers she observed. When someone is ill, caretakers tend to pressure one attitude over another. These caretakers, whether it is nurses or family, tend to say that there is a right way to cope with an illness. Caretakers try to push an optimistic and hopeful temperance onto patients because they believe it will make a person feel better. For those who are pessimists, the article is reassuring. It is an individual’s response to an illness and therefore should be dealt in whatever manner that individual feels comfortable. There is no right or wrong way to deal with an illness.