How Does the Death of an Individual Affect the Community?

How Does the Death of an Individual Affect a Community?


A community is made up of several individuals; therefore, they are intricately mixed. The saying, “we are part of a whole” is referring to this. An individual has the opportunity to affect a community in drastic measures. When a member of your community dies, it sets off a chain of events. First, there’s the grievance. The community submerges in sadness, crying for their loved one. People are brought together with the stories told. Those who have not said two words to the lost one start to cry, maybe in honest grief, or just to be relevant. Competition starts to arise over who knew the departed longer or who has the better stories.  Then, they have some sort of gathering – for example a funeral – where they can talk about all the good the deceased has done. Topics that of which the deceased have frequently mentioned get talked about for the first time. The song from The Band Perry named “If I Die” stated, “A penny for your thoughts, oh no, I’ll sell them for a dollar. Their worth so much more after I’m a goner, and maybe then they’ll hear the words I’ve been singing. Funny when you’re dead how people start listening”.  Sympathies and condolences go out to the families, and at that point you realize that gatherings like these are mostly meant for the living, not for the dead. You realize that a person will not get recognized more than when he/she dies.

In The Scarlet Letter, when the minister Mr. Dimmesdale was dying, the narrator revealed, “A spell was broken. The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father’s cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it” (The Scarlet Letter pg. 210-211). The narrator uses the death of Dimmesdale to set an example of how Pearl will grow up to be, further proving that the death of any individual affects those around them. Even Mr. Dimmesdale’s sworn enemy, Roger Chillingworth, was affected by Mr. Dimmesdale’s death. “Nothing was more remarkable that the change which took place, almost immediately after Mr. Dimmesdale’s death, in the appearance and demeanor of the old man known as Roger Chillingworth. All his strength and energy- all his vital and intellectual forces- seemed at once to desert him; insomuch that he positively withered up, shriveled away, and almost vanished from mortal sight, like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun. …there was no more Devil’s work on earth for him to do…” (The Scarlet Letter Pg. 215). When Mr. Dimmesdale died, Roger Chillingworth had nothing left for him to do. All his work, all his efforts, had been for nothing in his eyes.


In this picture, there is the word ‘community’ with a bunch of tiny people inside. The tiny people are supposed to represent individuality and the word ‘community’ is supposed to symbolize a community. In almost all aspects, things aren’t really noticed until they are long gone; whether it is life, or an occupation like presidency. Inside Kennedy’s Inauguration, 50 Years On is an essay written by Eleanor Clift. In her essay she wrote, “Fifty years after Kennedy’s inauguration, the memories that linger…Those who were there knew it was special, and while Kennedy’s presidency was brief, his impact endures” (IKIFYO, Paragraph18). To be aware of individuals is very important in a community because it lets the people feel heard. Now we can see that communities are aware of an individual even after they have passed.

Clearly, the death of an individual affects a community in a very genuine way. This is evident by the community’s response to the deaths of their own people and how they cope with the results. How it affects the individual depends on the person. Because the individuals of a community are all related to one another in a sense that they are all needed to form a greater body, makes each individual important, and each individual worth remembering.


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