The Experience of Death

This paper discusses the experience of death in a specialized, modernized society and its consequences for children. The paper stresses the need for open discussions with children about dying.

The experience of death today is different from that of any other period in history. This difference is due to the modernization of society and the consequential emergence of many individual highly specialized units which attend to one particular function of society. In non-modern societies every aspect of the culture is incorporated into every activity. The total community takes part in every necessary function, including death, of the individual.

For instance, in a non-modern society, education is merely one function of the family and community, but in a modern society, it is the only function of an institution termed the educational system or school. Similarly, in a non-modern society, death is attended to by the family at home, involving the total community, but in a modern society, it is attended to …