When Breath Becomes Air Themes

Paul Kalanithi
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The Connection between Literature and Life

As author Paul Kalanithi simultaneously explores the relationship between life and death and takes his own personal journey between the two, he explores several different, but inter-related, aspects of the experience. The first is an exploration that, as narration describes it, he had undertaken for most of his life, one of looking into the relationship between literature and life – or, more specifically, the meaning of life.

In the first section of the book, he writes of how his mother, of Hindu descent, became passionately involved in both the education of her sons and in the education of the larger community in which she and her family lived. On both levels, that education was, for her, primarily grounded in reading a variety of texts, writers, and perspectives. As a result of his mother’s efforts, Kalanithi writes, he began the process of discovering not...

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This section contains 2,075 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the When Breath Becomes Air Study Guide
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