MDC Nursing Philadelphia a Film on HIV and Bigotry Discussion


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Watch one of these films and then discuss anyone of these “dying and death” representations as presented in movies or plays such as:

  • Bringing Out the Dead
  • Angela’s Ashes
  • Beaches
  • Philadelphia
  • Terms of Endearment
  • Wit
  • Evan Mayday’s Good Death

Address the following questions if pertinent to the film you watched:

  • What were the causes of death?
  • Where did people die?
  • Who cared for the dying?
  • Who was present at the time of death?
  • How did the significant other person respond?
  • How did the community respond?
  • What expectations or beliefs were associated with dying and death?
  • How did people cope with loss?

Envision yourself as one of the characters in the film, and, according to their personal or professional (eg. the nurse in: “WIT”) expectations about death:

  • Dying well
  • Bad death
  • Good death
  • Sad death 

Reply to at least one classmates‘ posts:

Angela’s Ashes

Angela’s Ashes is a film co-produced by Ireland, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom in 1999. The drama film is based on Frank McCourt’s autobiography of that exact name. The film describes Frank as a boy born in poverty and is surrounded by many deaths of his family members. Franks’s father is a drunkard and rarely helps the family with the bills. Franks’s mother, Angela, collects food from the church and the neighbors after they return to Ireland (Parker, 1999). After scenarios of consecutive deaths and disappointments, Frank leaves Ireland and leaves for The United States, where he sees the Statute of Liberty.

Many characters from Angela’s Ashes die from various conditions. Franks’ twin brothers die after they land in Ireland due to malnutrition, meningitis, cold, and pneumonia. The sister, Margaret, dies from an unknown condition seven days after birth, while the grandmother dies from pneumonia. Franks’ girlfriend Theresa also dies from tuberculosis, while Finucane’s cause of death is not mentioned (Parker, 1999). Frank befriends a lady while sick of typhoid in the hospital but later succumbed to diphtheria. These deaths are exacerbated by the poverty and lack of resources in Angela’s family.

Deaths in Angela’s ashes occur in various settings. Margaret dies in New York City at home, while the twins Oliver and Eugene die in Limerick, Angela’s hometown. The grandmother dies in the slum house, and Franks’ friend dies in the hospital. Other deaths occur in Griffin’s home and Finucane’s house. Angela’s mother majorly cares for the dying members of her family (Parker, 1999). From the film, it is evident that she undergoes depression after losing her children. She takes her maternal role by reassuring her children and providing comfort even in adversity. However, the neighbor’s also show concern by providing food and support during the family’s grief and loss.

When Margaret dies in New York, only Frank’s nuclear family is present. The twins died in Ireland in the presence of the grandmother and other immigrants in the slum house. Frank witnesses her friend’s death at the hospital and the girlfriend’s death at his uncle’s place. The family responds differently to these deaths. Frank and his brother Malachy Junior must resume the role of providing while Angela becomes seriously depressed (Parker, 1999). Malachy Senior, Frank’s father, develops alcohol use disorder and barely helps the family with the bills.

The community response to the family is a paradox. Although the neighbour’s support the family by providing food, they mock them for their American accent. Angela’s depression and the poor living conditions cause as the neighbors to lose empathy for Angela’s loss. Frank’s family congregates with the catholic church. The catholic church teaches children the concept of salvation, heaven, and hell. These beliefs cause Frank to constantly worry about his salvation, especially after his girlfriend dies from tuberculosis (Parker, 1999). He believes that the source of her death is punishment and not disease. However, Frank confesses to the priest, where he gets consolation. However, in the film, death is seen as a causative agent of their poverty-stricken lives.

Death is a heavy blow to Frank’s family. Malachy becomes a serious alcoholic to cope with the losses, while Angela becomes severely depressed. Frank copes with loss by taking up more responsibilities as a young boy and turns to education and books. Envisioning myself as Angela, all the deaths occurring can only be described as bad and sad deaths (Parker, 1999). Death in the film is portrayed as sad due to the harsh situations surrounding it. Angela loses her children at a tender age, which clearly shows a theme of injustice and unfairness. These deaths show that poverty and access to resources are major contributing factors to improper healthcare. In conclusion, Angela Ashes is a stark film that portrays death with a focus on poverty and how it can affect a family and the community in general. 

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