Death without Weeping by Nancy Scheper-Hughes

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Death without Weeping by Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Everybody hates death, and this is not because it claims people from this earth, but because it sometimes can bring about sorrow to people. The biggest sorrow is when somebody such as a child who was begotten after much pain is then claimed by this death caused by circumstances unwarranted. This paper discusses the writings of Nancy Scheper of death without weeping and tries to justify why she had a point when writing about this. She recounts violence and hunger in Brazil that was claiming even the most innocent of them all; infants and then justifies why it could be hard for even the mothers to cry for the lost ones.

Death without Weeping by Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Nancy Scheper concentrates on the theme of maternal love on how a mother is able to express this to her children. Her argument is that mothers are only able to invest in the infants who are likely to survive and they tend to distance themselves whenever psychological problems emerge in the children. When a child suffers from this, what happens is that the mother is able to withdraw the care that existed before and this includes the total love that was dedicated to the child before the problems. However controversial this could be, there is some bits of sense in her argument. For example, it is likely that maternal acceptance prevails because the child is healthy or there is a near future, and if the child happens to die, then, it ultimately becomes a reprieve. When there is a high mortality rate, death of a child becomes a norm; there is little likelihood the mother would suffer the psychological torture.

Her book is all about the death of a child that does not result to weeping or grief when a fragile child leaves the world, and this death cannot jeopardize the life of other persons. She tries to define love, and poses the question as to whether there is love when the lives of the children are dominated by hunger. The simple answer she gives and which holds water is that little of such exist. No particular mother wants to see her children suffer from the daily acts of violence, or even hunger that can result to premature death. The background to writing this work is in Brazil where the situation depicts the numbness that is associated with mourning or death in the light of socioeconomic complexities. More so, she argues that there is difficult for a child to live comfortably when the area is inhabited and preoccupied with wars, police lawlessness and ever-increasing evolution of killings by the police.

This work is that of breadth and passion; however, mixed with reprieve when those one is taking care of ultimately rests from the torture prevailing. It is better not to see the child at all instead of seeing him or her suffer from continuous torture from people who do not understand a thing about mother child love. As noted above, this work stems from what was happening in Brazil where the living was characterized by poverty, shantytowns and low love for humanity. The routine therefore was that children were dying out of this violence and mixed with extreme hunger. The narrative goes deep to investigate the tactics that are used in everyday happenings on how people take drastic measures just to make those who depend on them survive. It is difficult to live in environments that are ravaged by scarcity of essential components, sickness, and disappearances through the death squads and feudal working conditions for everyone.

The work tries to take people full circle from their childhood up to midlife of full life, and from this, one sees the sense that if the childhood is not well prepared for, it is difficult to have a comfortable life when at the middle or at old age. This is to mean that childhood that is well grounded means a lot for the life at the middle or at the end. Death is never an easy thing for a mother; however, suffering is neither a comforting thing for the mother, especially when the torture is directed to innocent kids. The kids did not contribute to what happens to the society, and therefore, when they are subjected to torture, it is double sufferings. That is, the mother has the pain of giving birth, and then, the torture of seeing the child suffering on the hands of those who did not contribute to the birth of the child. If the child succumbs of violence it is not weeping but near joy since suffering is erased.

The writer starts with describing the blood that was everywhere, and the life smelt of death. From a personas point of view, or describing it in first person’s singular, the writer accounts how she could not remember blood, but to her surprise, the blood was flowing out from the body through openings and other areas such as the hand. Then, we later understand that these problems resulted from the birth of a child she was giving, and she narrates how then she could hold the child; cold and wet it was, in her hands after birth. That was joy, that is, the pain that was there before the child could be born had ended, and it was a start of a life full of joy and appreciation. There were women who had come to share the joy with her, but little known to them, this was not to last for long. The violence in the land could not let them continue to have this joy for long, as the time had come for them to suffer, and not only them, together with the child that they had in their arms.

Later, she notes that violence became the norm, and this meant that deaths as well became the norm. These deaths did not claim the old but the young who were yet to realize the fruits of being on this earth. She describes it clearly, that, violence became the days’ events, and death and silence was then the ultimate end for many people. It was brutal, and merciless, and the land smelt non-existence, as the death squads were everywhere to claim the lives of innocent people. Yes, innocent because some of the victims could not narrate what was happening little did they know of why in the first place they were in such a land. These are the lives of the young whose association with the land is because their mothers were there. Hunger was also present and when it combined with the presence of the death squads, mercy ceased to exist, and therefore, even death could not make the mothers weep.


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