Culture in the United States of America

For a long time, culture has defined society's role in dying and death. Different cultures define dying and death in different ways. They also place distinct values on the dying and the dead. When these are contrasted and used to draw conclusions, a country's culture is defined.
Death, dying, culture, and finality are key words.
Dying and Death in Popular Culture
Death is the end of a person's worldly life. Its meaning is generally influenced by culture. Diverse cultures have different ideas about death and dying, which shapes their perspective on it. Some cultures are strict on their cultural practices related to dying and death while others are not even   concerned on whether you follow the practices or not. (Northcott & Wilson, 2016.) All in all, most of these cultures have the cultural belief on life after death. Culture stipulates the procedures to be followed when the deceased dies.

Usually, a ceremony is held to mourn the death of the deceased. Culture dictates what is supposed to be done and how people are required to behave. In different cultures, people may choose to fully follow, modify or even abandon these practices according to how they view culture. Therefore, in following cultural practices, preference is key since people carry out practices according to how they prefer them done. In this chapter, Canada is used as an example where the writer examines the different cultures in Canada. (Northcott & Wilson, 2016.) The writer looks into dying and death, how people in these cultures view it and what beliefs they have associated to dying and death. The writer also examines guidelines on mourning and grieving according to the culture of these groups.

Some of the communities which have been sited include Coast Salish, Cree, Dene, Muslim, Hindu and Chinese. They have different views on dying and death and this makes the difference between their cultures. In all cultures, they believe in death as well as life after death. The burial ceremony was present in all communities where they valued this ceremony since they gave their last respect to the deceased. These communities also have ceremonies which they carry out. In these ceremonies, they believe that the spirits of the deceased come and communicate with the living. This communication also happens in dreams. (Northcott & Wilson, 2016.) The deceased appear in dreams and pass a message to the living.

In the Coast Salish community, they believed in life after death. They believed that when someone dies, they go to the spiritual world where they are taken care of. They carried out rituals which were meant to heal those who lost a loved one but not to lessen the pain of loss. A proof that they believed in life after death is the burning of goods after the burial of the deceased. This was done with the belief that the items burnt will reach the deceased so that they may be of use in the spiritual life of the deceased.

Compared to the Coast Salish community, the Cree also believed in life after death. Goodbye was what they used to signify affirmation of a relationship. When death occurred, composure and self-control was expected on receiving the bad news. Grief was shared among the people to help mourn the deceased and console those who lost the deceased. A burial ceremony was carried out where they prayed, burned sweet grass and smudged the deceased. They believed that death was natural and was a part of the process of life. (Northcott & Wilson, 2016.) Here, composure and self-control was aimed at preventing those who belonged to the family of the deceased from crying. They believed that crying would hold the dying person from joining the spiritual world.

According to the Dene community, death was bad. In the case where suicide is carried out, it was not publicly spoken as it was a taboo. (Northcott & Wilson, 2016.) Despite making it a taboo, school children usually ignored it as they spoke in public about death.

In a research done on the Inuit community, they preferred to tell their stories one by one. These stories were based on the research topic, loss and pain. They did not mind how much time it would take hence this made the research time consuming. Research was also carried out among the Muslims, Hindu and the Chinese.

These communities also had medical beliefs. These medical beliefs reflected the view of a community on the dying. Some believed that if one got ill and needed medical attention, he or she is entitled to receive medical attention. Others believed that he or she was meant to die and hence had to be left isolated so as to die. Before the coming of modern medicine, traditional methods of treatment were carried out. (Northcott & Wilson, 2016.) Many people believed in medicine men as well as traditional doctors to cure the sick.

The research on this led to a generalized conclusion on the culture of Canada as a state. According to the Canadian culture, they believe in life after death. They respected the dead and gave them a peaceful sendoff. The role of the community in death was burying the deceased and offering support to the family of the deceased. They were also responsible for carrying out various rituals which commemorated the deceased. The role of the community in dying was either helping the dying or abandoning them to die.

The Canadian culture not only defines death as bad, but also as threatening and that full of repulsion. A long time ago, the society was responsible for taking care of the dying, the bodies of the deceased and also supporting the bereaved. In these times, this is a duty that has been left to be completed by medical institutions. In these institutions, there are professionals who are responsible for taking care of the dying and the dead.

The Canadian culture denies death due to their view on death. Though we cannot deny death, there is a way which can make death a distance away from us. This is by convention. The conventional aspect in the language of death makes us a distance away from death as it is often indirect. Death brings about strong emotions which are dealt with by either distancing ourselves from death or viewing death from a better perspective than that which we currently do.

Despite death being unwelcome but inevitable, it still remains a major concern among individuals, the society and influence culture at large. Usually, the media airs the possible fears of death that might occur. At the same time, they also talk about possible solutions that can prevent the occurrence of these deaths or that can eliminate the fears of death. This shows that despite the chaos amid death and death, it is more than possible to keep away from dying and death.

In dying and death, various unanswered questions are raised. Death is defined as bad. Therefore, a question arises on whether those who die are bad? Another question is if those whose people are faced by death are bad as well? Culture brings about paradox in dying and death, hence raising a question. Why should culture allow us to display or show our emotions yet control how we should show them?

The author was successful in convincing the audience on dying and death. The readers understand the role of the society in dying and death. They also are able to compare the sudden change where medical facilities are involved in dying and death. With the various cultures mentioned in the book, the author has achieved a message on the cultural practices involved in dying and death.

Dying and death is a topic that has raised great concern in the society. With different people having different views on it, death and dying has become dependent on individual or family preference. People will handle dying and death how they prefer to do. This makes the procedures stipulated by culture kind of useless, though these people still borrow from them.

Works Cited

Northcott, H. C. & Wilson, D. M. (2016). Dying and Death in Canada (Third edition). Canada: University of Toronto Press.

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