Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Themes

Mary Roach
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Death is inevitable. A cadaver or "stiff" represents death or the eventual fate of all humankind. The idea is so fundamental to the human experience that it necessarily invokes a personal response in the reader. Implicit in every passage is the realization that every human being will eventually be "it" or the cadaver, the decaying remains of what once was a human being. This experience is something that reader brings to the text before the book is opened.

Roach addresses the two ways that human beings traditionally struggle with the death of a loved one. These methods are funerals and preservation. Funerals, the author demonstrates, can amount to expensive pageantry and potentially even discourage the bereaved from mourning in the manner of their own choosing. Coffins cannot prevent the eventual decay of organic tissue nor can embalming. Regardless of what the living do on the cadaver's behalf, the...

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This section contains 828 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Study Guide
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