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Anne Dalke's picture

responsibility, abandonment and death

Katie Baratz (a recent Haverford grad who has shown up in this course before) sent me a link to an article that appeared in the NYTimes Magazine last week about euthanasia.

It's of particular relevance to, and an interesting extension of, BriBell's account of our recent discussions about responsibility, abandonment, and the inevitability of death in Frankenstein. The essay suggests that women, who have conventionally been caretakers, might be especially likely to request assisted death, when they become so disabled that they are the ones who must be cared for. The article also observes that many of the disabled are "self-oppressed"; that "people with disabilities will think, 'I should give up, die, disappear for everyone else.'"

The essay ends with two (I think contradictory?) claims: that, on the one hand, being spared "protracted and harrowing intimacy with degeneration and death...would be our loss"; and, on the other hand, that having "the power to escape" might be worth more than...


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