Death, Dying, Grief and Mourning

            "Death is always the same,
                               but each man dies in his own way."

Carson McCullers, Clock Without Hands, 1960

   

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in Western Literature

An Anthology by  Adrienne Nater

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James Joyce, Ulysses, 1922

 

Paddy Digham’s Funeral


Episode 6: Morning of Paddy Digham’s Funeral:

—The Lord forgive me! Mr Power said, wiping his wet eyes with his fingers. Paddy! I little thought a week ago when I saw him last and he was in his usual health that I’d be driving after him like the. He’s gone from us.

—As decent a little man as ever wore a hat, Mr Dedalus said. He went very suddenly.

— Breakdown, Martin Cunningham said. Heart.

He tapped his chest sadly.

Blazing face: redhot. Too much John Barleycorn. Cure for a red nose.

Drink like the devil till it turns adelite. A lot of money he spent colouring it.

Mr Power gazed at the passing houses with rueful apprehension.

— He had a sudden death, poor fellow, he said.

— The best death, Mr Bloom said.

Their wideopen eyes looked at him.

— No suffering, he said. A moment and all is over. Like dying in sleep.
No-one spoke.

Dead side of the street this. Dull business by day, land agents, temperance hotel, Falconer’s railway guide, civil service college, Gill’s catholic club. The industrious blind. Why? Some reason. Sun or wind. At night too. Chummies and slaveys. Under the patronage of the late Father Mathew Foundation stone for Parnell. Breakdown. Heart

White horses with white frontlet plumes came around the Rotund corner, galloping. A tiny coffin flashed by. In a hurry to bury. A mourning coach. Unmarried. Black for the married. Piebald for bachelors. Dun for a nun.

— Sad. Martin Cunningham said. A child.

A dwarf’s face, mauve and wrinkled like little Rudy’s was. Dwarf’s body, weak as putty, in a whitelined deal box. Burial friendly society pays. Penny a week for a sod of turf. Our. Little. Beggar. Baby. Meant nothing. Mistake of nature. If it’s healthy it’s from the mother. If not from the man. Better luck next time.

— Poor little thing, Mr Dedalus said, It’s well out of it.

The carriage climbed more slowly the hill of Rutland Square. Rattle his bones. Over the stones. Only a pauper. Nobody owns.

— In the midst of life, Martin Cunningham said.

— But the worst of all, Mr Power said, is the man who takes his own life.

Martin Cunningham drew out his watch briskly, coughed and put it back.

— The greatest disgrace to have in the family, Mr Power added

— Temporary insanity, of course, Martin Cunningham said decisively. We must take a charitable view of it.

— They say a man who does it is a coward, Mr Dedalus said.

— It is not for us to judge, Martin Cunningham said.

   

 

 

   
 

Adrienne Nater, 2008

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