Literature has long pondered the capacity for both good and evil in human nature, and Jonathan Swift is no exception with his mock travel narrative, Gulliver’s Travels. More than two centuries after Gulliver’s Travels was written, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker theorized that repressed death anxiety drives much of human behaviour, especially the capacity for evil. In The Denial of Death and Escape from Evil, Becker speculates that by repressing their anxiety of death, humans deny mortality through cultural symbols. Becker believes that we invest ourselves in immortality symbols, or anything we feel to be more meaningful and permanent than our own person. However, believing too firmly in an illusion can lead to varying levels of intolerance, including violence, when the views of others do not match our own. Like Becker, Swift continually dissected the devastation humans can cause from adhering to constructed illusions. Satire has the potential to alleviate some of death denial’s negative effects. By using humour, exposing idealized images of ourselves and drawing on paradox, satire can promote self-reflection and understanding. Becker’s theories are a useful way of re-examining some of our literary classics; conversely, Gulliver’s Travels is an ideal literary vehicle for exploring Becker’s theory because it not only highlights exaggerated immortality symbols and therefore satirically question their values, but reading it alerts us to our own death denial and its possible consequences. By holding a mirror to society, satire exposes the danger of denial that can, too often, bring about destructive violence.

In: Death, Dying, Culture: An Interdisciplinary Interrogation
Author: Jared Christman

recog- nize. Th e Gilgamesh complex is also among the most culturally and historically encompassing of psychological complexes, penetrating to the barest of human existential concerns—the pre- occupation with death. Keywords death denial, zoocide, blood rites, animal vitality Introduction Of the fears

In: Society & Animals
Editor: Andrew Fagan
This book aims to extend upon the growing body of literature concerned with dying and death. The book analyses various experiences and representations of dying and death from the perspective of academic disciplines as diverse as theology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and literature. The rationale for this is simple. As objects of study dying and death cannot be usefully reduced to a single academic perspective. One cannot hope to gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of dying and death by gazing at them through a single lens. Bringing various perspectives in a single volume aims to both accurately record those enduring properties of the phenomena, such as mourning and fear, whilst simultaneously analysing the diversity and heterogeneity of human beings’ attempts to come to terms with this most forbidding of existential horizons.

the ‘death awareness’ movement, in opposition to death denial. The essays contained in Bruno Mellarini, Il mito e l’altrove: saggi buzzantiani (1999–2016) , Pisa, Fabrizio Serra, 160 pp., puts myth at the centre of the critical inquiry and its relationship with the writer by investigating less

In: The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies
Author: Randall Holm

culture of death–denial that is perhaps reflected in later pronouncements on healing. 19 P.S. Jones, ‘The Mystery of Suffering,’ Pentecostal Testimony (September 1961), p. 7. 20 Roy Smith, ‘When Healing Doesn’t Come,’ Pentecostal Testimony (May 1984). 21 R. Skinner, ‘To Another the

In: Journal of Pentecostal Theology

the country. Moreover, "developed" people have been trying to deny the death of the earth much as they try to deny their own physical death. Denial and guilt are products of homogeneous development. We all come from indigenous roots, heterogeneous roots that created abundance. Our exis- tence is due

In: International Journal of Comparative Sociology
Author: Adam Talib

’ own death-denial instinct (to borrow from Ernest Becker) or their post-romantic biases. Al-Mutanabbī (d. 354/965) was almost certainly not an intimate of Sayf al-Dawlah’s mother, but, as a court poet—indeed primus inter pares , the poet laureate of the realm—he was expected to speak both for the

In: Journal of Arabic Literature