Precis: the Art of Dying
In “The Civil War Soldier and the Art of Dying,” Drew Gilpin Faust examines how the impact and meaning of the war’s death toll went beyond the numbers of Americans who died. Faust asserts that death’s significance for the Civil War generation changed dramatically from its previous prevailing assumptions about life’s proper end—about who should die, when and where, and under what circumstances (Faust, 4). Although mid-19th-century Americans endured a high rate of infant mortality, life expectancy ofmost individuals who ...view middle of the document...
Laura2013-11-23T22:52:00Wordy and slightly confusing, consider rewording
The perception of how life should end says a great deal about how an individual values life. Faust uses this perspective as an analytical tool in her discussion of the changing preconceptions of the 'Good Death,' a notion of concern across religious and secular milieus. Laura2013-11-23T22:54:00Great sentence
Mid-19th-century America was overwhelmingly Protestant, and death was understood within the context of Christian faith in salvation and immortality (Faust, 8). Death acted as an equalizer among religions and spawned ecumenical relationships between Protestants, Catholics and Jews. A 'Good Death,' which ultimately defined the life that had preceded it and forecast the life to come, occurred amidst one’s family and required a readiness to die and to embrace salvation. Soldiers’ distance from home and kin and the circumstances of war made such deaths nearly impossible. Nonetheless, men struggled to create conditions in hospitals and camps, or with comrades on the field, that affirmed these fundamental principles of how to die, even as the realities of wartime challenged the very foundations of their beliefs.