This Republic of Suffering Essay Example

In Drew Gilpin Faust’s book,”This Republic of Suffering”, describes the mourning of the dead in the American Civil War. There were numerous ways of deaths from violence that extended beyond soldiers and battles, from diseases that spread beyond military camps, and from hardships and shortage. Yet, many people form different social classes reacted and mourned differently than those today would mourn.

In the beginning, they discuss a lot of the people who’ve passed in war or due to diseases and later get into detail about how long family and friends would usually mourn. They discussed the amount of grieving people should and would normally go through like a mother would mourn a year over their child or a sister would mourn six months after the death of her brother. Reading this, Faust made it seem that people at this time mourned for long periods and be in a state of shock and disbelief over the fact they lost someone. Yet, reading later on you could see when we get to the higher class, many people cared about what they wore to funerals more than who died. “A woman in Fredericksburg could not decide whether to don mourning in 1863, for she was not willing to leave off colors, unless she produce a handsome outfit in black...” The wealthy cared more about their looks and what others saw of them at funerals which shows they cared more about appearance and what others had to say.

Realizing Faust’s definition of work can accomplish what she calls realizing to an extent. I feel those in the lower and middle class had put “work” into mourning and accomplished “realizing” that someone of importance or someone who made a difference past. This seems to do more with either you had money or not because the wealthy were the complete opposite. I don't understand why people could had cared more about clothes or accessories than the someone they once knew so much leaving from the world forever. I'm guessing this is due to keeping up with the rest of the wealthy and not being the laughing stock of their peers. The wealthy for the most part cared more about their image and what those were saying behind their backs and wanted to assure they were talked well and highly of. The first thing on their mind when they found out someone had died is what outfit to wear not who or what occurred.

This isn’t nothing what people in the 21st century would consider mourning. People now can end up depressed and end up in a more emotional state when someone from their family or a close friend has passed. They cry, get upset, get angry, and just go through many phases and most of the times end can even end up min a state of denial for a time period, depending on the person. Even for the wealthy, people become overwhelmed with emotions, but someone up there in society would get a more “grand” funeral or be more public and in the news. Yet, there is never a time where people would care more about their looks or if something matches unless they are using it as a cover to hide away their grief and in a way “put off” the death. Unlike in the 19th century where people wouldn’t go to the funerals if their shoes didn’t match their top. Yet, I believe that both those people form the 19th century and 21st century take time to to realize and come to the conclusion that someone they knew passed away. It is a part of the mourning process, but in the 19th century; certain people care more about looks and what others would say. It makes me question how people in the future would chose to mourn over the dead.


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