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Teaching Death and Dying$
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Christopher M Moreman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335224.001.0001

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 The Virtual Resurrection: Technology, Violence, and Interpretations of Death in a Southern University Classroom

 The Virtual Resurrection: Technology, Violence, and Interpretations of Death in a Southern University Classroom

Chapter:
(p.119) 8 The Virtual Resurrection: Technology, Violence, and Interpretations of Death in a Southern University Classroom
Source:
Teaching Death and Dying
Author(s):

Diana Walsh Pasulka

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335224.003.0011

This chapter explores contemporary representations of death in American popular culture, and elaborates on their meaning for today's youth. Death appeals to the young for several reasons. The heroes of television shows and movies present a way to negotiate the finality of death. Such characters can be interpreted as modern versions of the psychopomp. Current representations of death, particularly those that target youth, avoid a traditional interpretation of death characterized as final. Instead, death in popular culture is an extension of life—one where good and evil are more clearly defined, and where the fantastic lives. Although the apparent whimsical aspects of these representations seem to indicate that today's youth are denying death, the experiences of the classes the author of this chapter has taught suggests otherwise. The students in those classes maintained a healthy “suspension of belief” while consuming these images. These representations allow students to reflect upon death without the emotional involvement associated with more realistic portrayals of death.

Keywords:   death, popular culture, finality of death, television, media, fantastic lives

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