The Misunderstanding of DNR

DNR stands for “do not resuscitate,” which refers to the act of performing CPR on a patient. Although this seems to be clear, it is often misunderstood and poorly complied with by many doctors and hospitals around the world. So, how exactly is it misunderstood, and how can doctors better comply with this order?

In Memorial Hospital, DNR was misconceived by the doctors on the staff. When Hurricane Katrina struck in New Orleans, the hospital lost power, causing an immediate evacuation of the patients in this unexpected moment of terror. Throughout this experience, the doctors used triage, a system in which doctors decide the order of treatment for a large number of patients based on the urgency of their illness. However, when the doctors grouped the patients into three distinct groups according to their urgency, they placed those with DNR orders with the patients who were the sickest. Personally, I disagree with this action because I do not believe DNR should play a role in this decision. DNR does not have anything to do with the condition of the patient, which is solely what the grouping should be based upon. However, the hospital’s medical department chairman had other ideas: “He said that patients with D.N.R. orders had terminal or irreversible conditions, and at Memorial he believed they should go last because they would have had the ‘least to lose’ compared with other patients if calamity struck” (Fink). Thus, the doctors treated those with DNR orders as if they did not have the same level of desire to live as those who do not have DNR orders. Having a DNR does not necessarily mean that one does not want to live and has provided his or her consent to be euthanized. Rather, it means they do not wish to go on life support or experience a painful recovery. I believe doctors can better comply with DNR orders by completely disregarding it when it comes to triage systems. The fact that one’s medical records has these three letters on it should not imply anything whatsoever. Research has shown that the quality of care for those who have DNR orders significantly decreases, which is wrong, in my opinion. If doctors receive more training and gain more skills in understanding the true meaning of DNR, I believe they will be better equipped to handle triage situations similar to this in the future.

The Power of Water

As we have seen throughout this class, water has been portrayed in several different ways— for example, it has been shown as a barrier, a necessity, and a danger. However, many times we have seen it portrayed as a powerful entity with negative connotations. For example, in “The World of Myth: An Anthology” and “The Swimming Pool” water acts as a danger to humankind and has the ability to harm people. “By the Water” by Sharyn Rothstein recounts the trama from Hurricane Sandy and its impact on life in Staten Island in particular. In the play, how is water portrayed, and what does it represent?

I will argue that water is portrayed as a menace to society, and it essentially represents power. Scene 1 opens with stage directions that describe the stage as “the ravaged remains of a house” (7). By using the word ravage, we immediately get a sense of the depth and seriousness of the destruction of the house from the hurricane. Furthermore, at the point in the play when Andrea gets frustrated with Marty, she describes the effects of the hurricane. As a result of the hurricane, she is left with nothing, not even a dish towel or spoon. She also explains how the water essentially destroyed “all those memories” (16). Thus, Andrea emphasizes the power of the water due to its ability to destroy everything she once had. This also shows the danger of water because it has harmed Andrea and her belongings both physically and mentally. Also, the prevalence of the hurricanes and the fact that they cannot be prevented show the power of the water. When Sal attempts to convince his parents to move, he says, “This is the second hurricane in two years. You stay here, you’ll have another one just like it to deal with” (11). Thus, Sal emphasizes the destructibility of hurricanes and their persistency. They are so strong and powerful that they cannot be avoided.

Rothstein also provides a strong visual representation of the power of the water. As a result of the hurricane, Andrea and Philip’s house was completely destroyed as they “had water right up to the ceiling” (18). This language evokes an image within the reader that represents the power of the water to overcome everything and fill up the entire house, washing everything away. Water also possesses a strong visual when Sal describes the hurricane as a “thirty-foot wave” (27). This image of a superior wave illustrates the domination of water and its overpowering effects.

Thus, Rothstein portrays water as a superior, dominating force that has the power to overcome society and affect humankind negatively, sometimes in ways that are life changing.

The Inevitable Despair

In “The Mistake” by Martín Kohan, hope and despair are prevalent macro-themes that are seen throughout the short story. However, how exactly does Kohan portray the themes of hope and despair in the short story? I will further examine the specific techniques used by Kohan, such as syntax, biblical references, and asyndeton, for example. As the story progresses, the narrator begins to feel a sense of hope, which inevitably transforms into a feeling of utmost despair at the end.

In his portrayal of hope, Kohan uses syntax as well as biblical references to demonstrate the narrator’s aspirations for achieving his or her crossing of the river. Kohan constantly integrates the phrases of “I think” and “I wonder” into the story in order to illustrate the narrator’s refusal of accepting reality. For example, the narrator contemplates, “I think I can spot a coastline in the distance. I wonder if it’s true or I’m just confused. I think I can make out Colonia in the distance” (Kohan, 4). By using this specific language, Kohan portrays that the narrator is very hopeful and is reluctant to accept the fact that he or she will be unable to cross the river. Furthermore, the use of biblical images essentially provides the narrator with a feeling of hopefulness that this is destiny. At the point in the narrative when the narrator has just jumped into the bare riverbed, he or she is suddenly driven by the image that appears in his or her mind: “I think instead of the Red Sea mentioned in the Bible, and of the miracle of divine will that parted the waters to allow the Jewish people to walk through” (Kohan, 3). Therefore, this image of Moses crossing the Red Sea provides him or her with hope and ambition that he or she possesses the courage and strength to endeavor on this journey to Uruguay.

Throughout the short story, the theme of despair is portrayed through the use of syntax and asyndeton. At the point in the narrative when the narrator is walking through the river, he or she begins to question his or her actions: “What’s the point of running? There isn’t one, and yet I run. What’s the point of shouting? There isn’t one, and yet I shout” (Kohan, 4). The use of questioning the purpose of his or her actions illustrates the feeling of utmost despair because these actions are essentially meaningless. Kohan repeats this paragraph structure in the following paragraph, rather using crying and praying in place of running and shouting, respectively. Another technique Kohan utilizes in this short story to portray despair is asyndeton. This technique is observed in the last sentence of the narrative when we encounter the phrase, “But so remote, so vague, so uncertain, so tantalising, that as it comes into view I also perceive another truth: I won’t be able to reach it” (Kohan, 4). The absence of a comma in between the descriptions of the horizon essentially represent that there is no true end, and it leaves the readers without a feeling of togetherness and unity. Similarly, the narrator is full of despair and without a sense of completeness.

Thus, throughout “The Mistake,” Kohan carefully uses distinctive techniques of syntax, biblical references, and asyndeton in order to effectively portray the themes of hope and despair.

The Wonder and Menace of Water

Does the ocean symbolize admiration and wonder yet fear and horror simultaneously?

In “The Horror at Martin’s Beach” by H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia H. Greene, the ocean is represented as a body of water that contains elements of wonder and awe, as well as elements of vengeance and fear. In the beginning of the short story, prior to the horrific incident, the ocean is viewed as an interesting resource that has the ability to spark wonders among people. Also, the ocean and its objects hold very high importance in the scientific community: “The intrinsic marvelousness of the object, and the importance which it clearly bore in the minds of many scientific visitors from near and far, combined to make it the season’s sensation” (Lovecraft & Greene). Therefore, the ocean has become a sensation for many as it has essentially provided a treasure for people to enjoy and study.

However, following the death of the captain and rescuers, the ocean is inevitably viewed as menacing and horrific. While the captain and rescuers attempt to save the victims in the sea, they seem to be hypnotized by the ocean’s relentless force: “Even the strugglers, after a few frantic screams and futile groans, succumbed to the paralyzing influence and kept silent and fatalistic in the face of unknown powers” (Lovecraft & Greene). The strugglers were unable to withhold themselves from the ocean, causing their eventual succumb. The unknown powers represent the fear and horror that is instilled below the ocean’s surface. Furthermore, when the storm ends, the ocean seems serene, contrary to the previous waves. Despite its apparent serenity and harmlessness, the “faint and sinister echoes of a laugh” are heard from the ocean. This represents the menace of water as it has essentially overpowered the rescuers. Thus, the ocean, and water in general, appears to symbolize wonder and menace as it is both a resource and threat to humans.