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1) The publics’ knowledge of embalming has changed. Like Jessica Mitford said not one in ten-thousand Americans really know what takes place during the embalming process. When embalming first began it was done in the home of the deceased, it was almost mandatory that a relative stay by the embalmers side and witness the whole procedure. Today it is totally reversed. All people, except apprentices are not to be in the room by law. 2) Mitford does compare the embalmer to other professionals.
In the beginning of Mitford’s essay her first comparison is comparing the embalmer to a derma surgeon. After this the second comparison is about the embalmers tools to those of surgeons tools. Later on in the essay Mitford is explaining the restoration process.
When she explains how restoration is done Mitford says that the embalmer brings into play the skill and equipment of a sculptor and cosmetician. These analogies are more flattering than critical in my point of view.
I came to this because if they were critical that would mean that they were a very important part of the process. It’s nice to compare especially when you are reading about something like embalming because that is a subject that before reading about I did not know very much about. So that is how I came to the conclusion that the analogies were more flattering than critical.
3) The first major stage in the process of embalming and restoration is draining the blood through the veins and replaced by embalming fluid pumped in through the arteries.
“The next step is to have at Mr.Jones with a thing called a trocar. This is a long, hollow needle attached to a tube. It is jabbed in the abdomen, poked around in the entrails and chest cavity; the contents are pumped out and replaced with cavity fluid”. (Mitford page 305 ) Next the formative work is begun and affected tissues are removed. After this is done if replacements like an ear or hand is needed this is what is done next. After all that is complete the next major step is positioning the lips. This is a big part of the embalming process. “Ideally, embalmers feel, the lips should give you the impression of being ever so slightly parted, the upper lip protruding slightly for a more youthful appearance.”(Mitford page 307) Next masking pastes and cosmetics are heavily laid on.
They make sure that the burial garments and casket interiors are color correlated and after this Jones is put under rose-colored lights. Next is to clean his nails, and this makes for a better appearance. Mr.Jones is finally ready for casketing. When this is done “his right shoulder should be depressed slightly to turn the body a bit to the right and soften the appearance of lying flat on the back. The hands should be cupped for a more lifelike, relaxed appearance. Proper placement of the body requires a delicate sense of balance. It should lie as high in the casket as possible, yet not so high that the lid, when lowered, will hit the nose.” (Mitford page 307).
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