Posted by Kathy S on August 08, 1998 at 22:07:27:
In Reply to: Re: Suicide equals weakness? posted by Elaine on August 08, 1998 at 21:14:29:
: : Is it the suicide that really clinches it for you, Rich. You said it was weak. Does that what make Alice a candidate for Wimp of 1757? When she witnessed Magua torture Uncas, mutilating Uncas' arm, I think she was frightened, not of death, but a similar fate. She despaired at that moment. She was disgusted and turned away. Despair and weakness are not the same. I think she jumped from strenghth, she chose her own death, which she knew was imminent. I may not have done it that way, but I never know when to quit, and am a hopeful coward most of the time.
: : Kathy S
: To answer your subject question ... YES! Of course suicide equals weakness. It is the ultimate expression of weakness. It is sad. It is tragic. It is an act of desperation. It is a moment when one gives up all hope, completely. When one surrenders, abandons the will to go on, to fight, to try. It is the opposite of courage. It is the fear of fear. I could go on and on about what suicide is and never once will I be able to connect it to strength or will or courage or freedom.
: No, despair and weakness are not the same thing. Weakness can be, and most often is, the path to despair. Despair is the utter abandonment of hope.
: Alice was weak throughout her long dark journey. Her inability to find courage or strength led her to the final phase ... despair. Despair led her to the final act ... suicide. Suicide was Alice's final flight from life's hardships. She couldn't cut it so she quit.
: As for her imminent fate; she was not, nor did she have reason to believe that she was about to be tortured and killed. Magua did nothing to suggest such a thing. She was his captive and she simply couldn't go on. How anyone can call this brave or an act of strength is baffling to me.
: By describing Alice Munro as weak, and analyzing her steady emotional breakdown, you say is Alice bashing? What are we "dopers" to do? Speak falsely about what we see? Proclaim Alice's strength and courage lest we be branded "Alice Bashers?"
: We didn't exactly push the poor girl off the cliff ... now that would be Alice bashing. She did that all by herself. I guess Alice was the biggest Alice basher of all!
: To your question; "did the suicide clinch it for you?" It sure clinched it for Alice. Now none of us will ever have the chance to see if Alice can ever get it together and REALLY become a strong person. Poor, poor Alice.
: As Marcia said; any society that advocates suicide as a sign of strength or bravery is in serious trouble.
: Can't we simply have Alice as she was, and feel sorry for her?
I don't think society should advocate suicide, which is an aberration of the instinct for survival. But when humans fail to muster all of their strong virtues in the face of adversity, despair can override all else. This can even happen because of something as simple as lack of sleep, which can bring on complete breakdowns. When people get overloaded emotionally, some crack. I don't think it would be so odd to crack after an ambush, a massacre, and a kidnapping.
People with chemical imbalances can become depressed and suicidal. People do not always despair from weakness. And having weak moments, is not the same as being described as weak. Why a person acts a certain way is always speculative. Motives are internal and complicated.
I used to hold the opinion that suicide equated with weakness, but no longer feel that way. The business of life is not that cut and dried for me anymore. So I think we have a very honest disagreement based on philosophical differences. That's what makes the world go round. But now that I know where you are coming from, it helps me understand your point of view.
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