This book examines the dialectic between fictional death as depicted in the media and real death as it is experienced in a hospital setting.
Using a Terror Management theoretical lens, Davis and Crane explore the intersections of life and death, experience and fiction, to understand the relationship between them. The authors use complementary perspectives to examine what it means when we speak and think of death as it is conceived in cultural media and as it is constructed by and circulates between patients, health professionals, and supportive family members and friends.
Layering analysis with evocative narrative and an intimate tone, with characters, plot, and action that reflect the voices and experiences of all project participants, including the authors’ own, Davis and Crane reflect on what it means to pass away. Their medical humanities approach bridges health communication, cultural studies, and the arts to inform medical ethics and care.
Table of Contents
1. A Mortality Tale: Narrative Management of Death
2. Death as Vertigo: The Day Time Stood Still
3. Death as Disequilibrium: Things that Go ‘Bump’ in the Night
4. Death as a Cry for Help: An Unimaginable Prayer
5. Death as a Horrible Other: A Relationship with the Other Side
6. An Ode to Childhood’s Joy: An Antidote to the Hyperreality of Death
7. Death as a Jokester: The Last Laugh
8. Death as a Relationship: Death, Love, and Loss
9. Death as a Lover: Eternal Flame
10. Death as a Weapon: Dying for a Cause
11. Death as a Foe: Waging War on Death
12. Death as a Roommate: Living with Death
13. Death as a Way of Life: Living Death
14. Death as a Threshold: Letting Go
Christine S. Davis is a Professor in the Communication Studies Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests are in the intersection of family, culture, and health communication. Dr. Davis publishes regularly on topics such as children’s health, end of life communication, family disability, and qualitative research methods.
Jonathan L. Crane is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at UNC-Charlotte. He was written widely on genre and horror films and is the author of Terror and Everyday Life: Singular Moments in the History of the Horror Film (1994).