Aging and Identity: A Humanities Perspective by Sara M. Deats, Lagretta Lenker

By Sara M. Deats, Lagretta Lenker

Viewing creative works during the lens of either modern gerontological idea and postmodernist options, the contributing students study literary remedies, cinematic depictions, and inventive photographs of getting older from Shakespeare to Hemingway, from Horton Foote to Disney, from Rembrandt to Alice Neale, whereas additionally evaluating the attitudes towards getting older in local American, African American, and Anglo American literature. The examples show that lengthy sooner than gerontologists counseled a Janus-faced version of getting older, artists have been celebrating the range of the aged, tough the bio-medical equation of senescence with inevitable senility. Underlying all of this dialogue is the enterprise conviction that cultural texts build in addition to encode the normal perceptions in their society; that literature, the humanities, and the media not just reflect society's mores yet may also aid to create and implement them.

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Like the vital seniors identified by Friedan, Gutmann, Apter, and Sheehy, Lear learns to integrate his "feminine" and "masculine" qualities, seeking both relatedness and autonomy, balancing empathy with strength. Moreover, like the creative seniors described by contemporary gerontologists, Lear's value system changes as he matures. After traveling through natural and psychological storms and achieving the halcyon haven of Cordelia's love, Lear has totally lost interest in the power race. 15); relatedness replaces power as the goal of life.

If the character of Prospero can be seen as the mouthpiece for Shakespeare, then the final lines of Prospero offer an instructive inspiration. " This, I believe, epitomizes the strong face of age. CHAPTER 2 Shakespeare Teaching Geriatrics: Lear and Prospero as Case Studies in Aged Heterogeneity Kirk Combe and Kenneth Schmader Sir, I am vexed. Bear with my weakness. My old brain is troubled. Be not disturbed with my infirmity. 158-160) I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less; And, to deal plainly, I fear I am not in my perfect mind.

At the beginning of the play Lear has unquestioningly accepted society's deleterious stereotype of old age as second childhood. Although still vigorous and commanding, Lear has decided to retire and spend his final days in the "kind nursery" of his daughter Cordelia's love; he thus talks of crawling toward death before he has even begun to stumble. Most contemporary audiences would probably agree that the octogenarian King should be allowed to retire if he so desires. His daughter Regan certainly thinks so, as well.

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