Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Short Essay - Answer Key

Mary Roach
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1. What is the first experience of cadavers that Mary Roach describes?

Mary Roach's first experience of cadavers being used for a facial anatomy and face lift refresher course, where surgeons operate on decapitated heads.

2. What is the advantage of practicing surgery on a cadaver?

Cadavers do not bleed, so there is better visibility of the work area for the surgeon, and they are also free of all the life support, anesthesiologists, nurses, etc. Surgeons are also able to practice and gain experience without learning or making mistakes on real people, and this gives them more experience, which helps them because no one wants to work with an inexperienced surgeon--with cadavers, they can gain experience in order to go into business.

3. How does Mary Roach describe making cadavers bearable?

Mary Roach uses coping mechanisms such as humor and objectification, to keep a distance between the surgeon and others and the fact that they are working on a cadaver's head, or body. Mary Roach says that each person is susceptible to sympathy or strangeness over one part of the cadavers' body, for her it was the hands, but she needs to keep a distance. One nurse says she thinks of them as made of wax.

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