Man Vs. Corpse Analysis

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In my middle school years, I went through the awkward pubescent phase that all preteens do, yet with a little extra flair: I was kind of ‘emo’. I listened to hard core rock songs about death and betrayal, and wrote so many short stories with the main character being brutally murdered via either a bus, gun, or goblin that I look back upon these notepads and just laugh. Perhaps this was some kind of inspiration from the angsty fanfiction I was obsessed with reading, but I became fascinated with the concept of death. I wrote so freely about the demise of others, creating characters to try and form a connection with them before inevitably slaughtering them. Yet, it was not until my reading of the essay “Man vs. Corpse” that I realized: I never, among all of that death, had given any sort of consideration to my own.
Zadie Smith’s essay “Man vs. Corpse” explores the human relationship with our own mortality, and how we live our lives in tandem to this. The piece that initialized her thinking was Man Carrying Corpse on His Shoulders, a 16th century drawing by Luca Signorelli. It depicts a naked man with a strong
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She proposes that art “can waken us to truths about ourselves and our lives; truths that normally lie suffocated under the pressure of the 24-hour emergency zone called real life” (Winterson 2). Winterson furthers this with describing how art “challenges what we are...remind[ing] us of all the possibilities we are persuaded to forget” (3). It seems that this is what particularly struck Smith to write her essay in the first place, Signorelli’s drawing serving as a point of her awakening to the subject of her own mortality. Art serves as a vessel in which to display hard truths, and there is no harder truth for man to accept than

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