Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Chapter 1, A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste Summary & Analysis

Mary Roach
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Chapter 1, A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste Summary and Analysis

Chapter 1 addresses using cadavers to teach surgical techniques. Author Mary Roach attends a facial anatomy and face lift refresher course, watching as surgeons practice on decapitated heads. Realizing that severed heads can prove daunting even for trained professionals, the author asks one of the attendants, Theresa, how she copes. Theresa explains that she prefers to think of the heads as if they were made of wax.

Roach explains that objectification is the coping mechanism that allows surgeons to dissect something which so closely resembles a living human being. Heads and hands are the most familiar and therefore psychologically difficult for doctors to work with. Objectification affords needed emotional distance.

The doctors, while clearly nervous, both because they work with human remains and because they are...

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This section contains 447 words
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Buy the Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Study Guide
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