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That today’s funeral procedures are founded in American Tradition
That the American public is only being given what it wants. Funerals have become “keeping up with the Joneses” and people are being conned into buying extra things that aren’t necessary because they are too grief stricken to realize it.
That the open casket/ embalming is to create a good “memory picture”
An expensive funeral is needed for “grief therapy”
The use of euphemisms for today’s funerals make it sound more like a production
The consumer is disoriented by the death
They have a lack of standards by which to judge the value of the commodity offered by the seller
They need to make a quick, onthespot decision
Ignorance of the laws (as it affects the disposal of the dead)
They are unaware of the availability of insurance money to finance the funeral
Dividing the caskets into four quartiles, with two above and two below the median price. The object is to sell in the third quartile, by showing the third quartile first, then showing something less expensive (first quartile) with huge contrast, the consumer will buy in the third quartile.
Dead bodies with communicable diseases (plague, cholera, typhoid) have caused epidemics in the past from fluids leaking into groundwater or by rodents
i. The solution to this problem though was better city planning, engineering, and sanitation, not embalming practices
c. Even if embalming is done nicely, it is not meant to preserve a body for very long past the actual viewing
To what does Mitford refer when she uses the phrase "God's Little MillionDollar Acre"? Why does she use this phrase?
Because cemeteries are tax free, people selling grave plots can take all of the profit and raise the prices of the gravestones, keeping a huge profit margin
- The promoters of the land make hundreds of thousands of dollars on every acre of cemetery land. - More modern cemeteries called “lawn type” cemeteries eliminate paths and put the graves more closely together, allowing for more profit.
- They also offer “companion spaces” where a husband and wife can be buried on top of each other, allowing for even more profit.
- She uses this phrase because people are making millions of dollars off of the “cemetery business”
Forest Lawn Memorial Park of Southern California
i. Largest entry gates in the world, even larger than the ones at Buckingham Palace
ii. Tons of statues (including a reproduction of the statue of David)
iii. Churches (Wee Kirk o’ the Heather, Great Mausoleum Columbarium) iv. Hourly showings of the painting the “Crucificxion”
v. Stained glass reproduction of “The Last Supper” vi. Museum
vii. Gift shop
According to Mitford, what are the typical features of the contemporary American funeral? How
does this compare with the Catholic instructions for funerals?
Contemporary American funeral practices include:
ii. Preparation of the body for final viewing
iii. A waiting period between death and disposition iv. Use of an attractive casket to protect the remains
v. A dignified service
The Roman Catholic Church requires the following instructions:
i. The body be decently laid out
ii. Lights be placed beside the body
iii. A cross be laid upon the breast, or failing that, the hands laid on the breast in the form of a cross
iv. The body be sprinkled with holy water and incense v. Buried in consecrated ground
The morticians resent the intrusion into their business of clergy who take it upon
themselves to steer parishioners in the direction of moderation in choice of casket and other matters pertaining to the production of the funeral. Many of the clergy, for their part, deplore what they regard as the growing usurpation of their role as counselors in a time of grief and need and the growing distortion of what they view as an extremely important, solemn religious rite.
Prohibited funeral directors from charging a caskethandling fee to consumers who buy their own caskets from a discount seller or build their own
Allowed sellers to add a nondeclinable fee that included a number of items such as staff salaries, insurance, and taxes
What are the names of the three major multinational corporations in the funeral business? What steps do they take when they move into an area?
Service Corporation International (SCI) The Loewen Group
They buy up funeral homes, cemeteries, flower shops, and crematoriums in a given area (monopolize the funeral business)
Move the essential elements of the trade to a central depot (“Cluster” approach) 1. Hearses
3. Utility cars
7. Office workers
They make their own coffins
They are relatively cheap, and everything is included in the price They will even arrange for a funeral tea at a hotel
They cater to all denominations
Embalming is on the rise
Families often view unembalmed bodies
The viewing is limited to close family and friends
Less floral tributes and more donations to charity
The coffin is closed at the front of the church
No extra charge for embalming
Many families still like to view the deceased in their own homes
They prefer conservative, moderation in their funerals instead of excess
A group that seeks modesty, simplicity, and dignity in the final arrangments over which they have control
Concerned for spiritual over material values
They want dignified and economical final arrangements
A number of associations were organized by Unitarians, Quakers, and other Protestant church groups
According to Mitford, what are some of the problems with prepaying for funerals? If you want to prepay, what does Mitford recommend?
If you prepay and prices go up, the survivors will have to pay the difference
b. If you want to prepay, you should ask where the money is invested and is it safe?
Obtain price lists from multiple funeral homes
b. Don’t prepay
c. If you wish to prepay in installments, set up a Totten Trust and name yourself or a relative
or close friends as beneficiary
d. No walk policy funeral home directors will not let you walk out without lowering the
Because in their beliefs, a soul cannot enter the land of the dead and become a perfect spirit until the body is decayed
Also, they fear reanimation of a corpse, which embalming allows
-Firsts stage: lasts 210 days, ritual preparation of the corpse immediately after death
-Second stage: the family stores the body in a longhouse or on a platform in a graveyard (usually lasts 86 months or until the family can afford the final stages)
-Third stage: bring the body back to the longhouse (if it has been in the graveyard) and the family entertains guests who have come (6 10 days)
-Fourth stage: the body is moved to a final resting place (in a mausoleum)
Among the Kapauku Papuans of West New Guinea, what determines the type of burial rites that a person receives?
What are the requirements in traditional Jewish burial customs regarding the time of burial, the type of casket, and the appropriateness of using the funeral as a means of displaying social position and wealth?
Try to bury the dead within 24 hours/ day of death/ before sunset b. Wooden coffin
c. They don’t use the funeral to display status/ wealth
men don’t shave, survivors aren’t supposed to wash their whole bodies, and the
family receives visitors, no sex, no eating meat, no morning prayer, no drinking (from
death until burial)
Yearly commemoration of the death, this is observed by lighting a memorial
light, performing acts of charity, and attending religious services
A controversial practice exercised rarely in some areas of India in which the widow throws herself onto the funeral pyre of her deceased husband
Is the following statement true? Compared with most societies, the United States is unique in the level of professional specialization relative to the preparation of the corpse and the actual disposition of the body.
In 2007, according to your textbook, what percentage of deaths in the United States involved
Maintaining positive relationships with ancestral spirits
b. Reaffirming social solidarity
c. Restoring group structures dismembered by death
City cemeteries became overcrowded, possible health hazards of city cemeteries, rising
price of land in the city
What was the total cost of the average adult funeral in the U.S. in 2008? Why is this figure
different from that given by Jessica Mitford?
Services and products for widows and widowers like grief therapy, bereavement support groups, video tributes, and even greeting cards sent to survivors to mark the anniversary of death or the deceased’s birthday
A place to bury the destitute or those not accepted into other burial places Transient places and were often abandoned after a sever epidemic
Soldiers, political leaders, war correspondents, slaves who were released as a result of the
What is immediate disposition? What percentage of all deaths in the U.S. involve immediate
disposition (according to a 2002 survey)?
Immediate disposition occurs when the deceased is removed from the place of death to the
place of cremation or earth burial without any ceremony b. 27.78%
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