July 16, 2017
Reflection Paper of Wity
As I started to watch Wit, I had no idea that I would be filled with so much emotion by the end. One thing is for certain, this film did a great job conveying social death in a realistic way that Kamerman describes: “Social death” is the outcome of one’s dying-role career. Sudnow doesn’t use social death in a general way, to mean being ignored or being socially isolated.” (21).[endnoteRef:1] Kamerman goes on to explain social death, I could see aspects of Vivian Bearing: “It is only when that definition leads to behavior appropriate to people clinically dead that the concept applies…. In at least some of these cases, he claims suspension of treatment might have had the result of hastening clinical death, in effect, acting as a self-fulfilling prophecy.”(21). It was painful to watch Vivian become sicker and more isolated as she ascended on her journey to death. All the way to the end, I kept wondering about Vivian’s lights being on in her home, the last time she entered the hospital. her home, the last time she entered the [1: Kamerman, Jack B. 1988. Death in the midst of life: social and cultural influences on death, grief, and mourning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.]
In my opinion, I feel as though Vivian slowly ascended into a slow social death as soon as her treatment started. “Anticipatory grief involves either grief at impending death or grief at social death…Social death may be precipitated, for example, by the separation involved in an elderly relative moving to a distant retirement community.”(71). As she began becoming more and more ill until living in the hospital was necessary I feel as though the character was slowly processing the fact that she was indeed dying. It was a self full-filling prophecy that she could not avoid, and approached with a great deal of grace. approached with a great deal of grace.
Kamerman explains social death more distinctly: “In other words, for an experience to precipitate the reactions that ordinarily accompany mourning a death, it must resemble death in important respects. It must involve some combination of separation, termination, and loss. These experiences that resemble death are called quasi-death experiences.”(71). I feel that Wit was able to convey all of these aspects in Vivian’s role, played from her cold hospital room. Hospital room. I think the most painful aspects in the film for me not only to watch her physically deteriorate, but the cold and sterile way she had to spend her last months of her life. Kamerman describes this scenario just like the film showed: “Dying patients are fit into hospital work schedules as are all other patients. In the case of the dying patients, physicians must predict the length of time a dying patient has left to live. Bad predictions….can have serious consequences for staff...