Death watch the film psychology assignment help

In this unit we will continue our exploration of death and dying. 


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Our “Grand Tour” questions for the next couple of weeks include:

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·  What is death?

·  How are we affected by death?

·  What does it mean to die?

·  What is a “good death”?

As you view, jot down questions, thoughts, notions, and topics for discussion.


You are going to view a feature film version of the play Wit, written by Margaret Edson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for this work. You will have to access this film on YouTube via the link I provided above, or on your own through NetFlix or any video vendor you choose to use. As you watch, jot down your questions, thoughts, ideas, notions, what you have learned but didn’t know before . . . that sort of thing. We will discuss this and the other videos in Discussion Forum. I have provided the text of the John Donne poem Death Be Not Proud. This is important as it is recited at the end of the film by Emma Thompson. Note how she emphasizes the last line and punctuates it, and compare it to how Donne wrote the poem.

Margaret Edson: You can learn more about Margaret Edson at the following sites.

Wit: A Film directed by Mike Nichols, starring Emma Thompson


48-year-old Vivian Bearing is a professor of English literature whose classes are known for their brevity and her intense knowledge of metaphysical poetry, especially the Holy Sonnets of John Donne (1572-1631). Her life takes a turn when she is diagnosed with metastatic Stage IV ovarian cancer. Oncologist Harvey Kelekian prescribes various chemotherapy treatments to treat her disease, and as she suffers through the various side-effects, she attempts to put everything in perspective. The story periodically flashes back to previous moments in her life, including her childhood, her graduate school studies, and her career prior to her diagnosis. During the course of the film, she continually speaks with the viewers, looking into the camera and expressing her feelings.

As she grows increasingly ill, Vivian agrees to undergo more tests and experimental treatments, even though she realizes the doctors treating her, including a young man who had been a former student in her classes, Jason Posner, see her less as someone to save and more as a guinea pig for their treatments. The only person who seems to care for her as a person is Susie Monahan, one of the nurses on the staff.

Late in Vivian’s illness, the only visitor she receives in the hospital is her former graduate school professor and mentor, Evelyn Ashford, who reads her excerpts fromThe Runaway Bunny. As she nears the end of her life, Vivian regrets her insensitivity and realizes she should have been kinder to more people. In her time of greatest need, she learns that human compassion is of more profound importance than intellectual wit.

Vivian Bearing is dead at the end of the film, with her voiceover reciting “death be not proud.”

***You can learn more about John Donne by going


Death Be Not Proud, by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.

Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally

And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

This discussion is focused on the videos you have viewed this week. Each student will have viewed and synthesized their knowledge and thinking about the videos as a whole. Your initial post may, if you wish, focus on one particular video that really appealed to you, or you may want to include two or all three videos in your initial post.

Questions to answer below (Should be about a page in a half, 11 font, doubled spaced):

·  What does it mean to die?

·  What is a “good death”?

·  Did the main character in our film have a “good death”? Why or why not?

·  How could we help the protagonist (main character) in the film we watched have a better death, based on what you learned in the Corr chapters?

·  How do you think Hospice could have changed her quality of life at the end?

·  What is the hardest aspect of dying young, do you think? In general, but also for yourself.

·  What is young? When is too young to die a good death? For example, you can have an 8-year old who has lived a good life, working to help others, and is “ready” to die (facebook is full of these stories!); yet again, we can also have a 76-year old who feels cheated at their impending death, and railing against the life they have left/still want to live.

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