The Independent Self By Atul Gawande Essay

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This book written by Atul Gawande is a journey through the process of death. The author uses interesting stories to illustrate his points in every /chapter. He takes us through the process of aging, and eventually dying, in a graceful and peaceful way, pointing out several problems in the way that end of life care is done as well as the way we as a society treat our elderly, providing historical and current evidence to support his points. He even draws in a personal connection by discussing the terminal diagnosis of his father.
This book feels like it has the same natural progression of life itself. The first chapter, “The Independent Self” is a lot like childhood. There’s a lot of learning and a lot of hope in this chapter without much fear or emotional pain. Gawande compares the cultural differences between the treatment of his own grandfather who lives in India and that of his grandmother-in-law in the United States. The differences are extremely interesting. His Grandmother-in-law, Alice, lived very independently while his Grandfather lived in the home of one of his sons’ surrounded by supportive family. This comparison shows one of the concepts that we’ve been studying in class recently, the differences in healthcare in different cultures. The contrast also helps to point out how far we’ve moved away from the family structure that involves caring for the elderly. The author gives some potential explanations for why, “The veneration of elders may be gone, but not…

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