The similarities and differences between euthanasia and murder

Having read The Deadly Choices at Memorial, I am shocked by the scenes that happened in a hospital under the circumstance of hurricane. When I read to the part of doctors and physicists giving euthanasia to some patients in the 3rd D.N.R. series, a question comes into my mind: the border between euthanasia and murder lies in what place? There are two points that the two actions share, which makes the border ambiguous. First, both euthanasia and murder are illegal in most of the places around the world. If one decides to carry out either of the actions, the person will understand that law will investigate the self until an appropriate decision is made to the “killer”. A person that has clear mind will react as what Richard said to Mulderick: “Euthanasia’s illegal…. There’s not any need to euthanize anyone. I don’t think we should be doing anything like that” (Fink, page 14) Second, the process and result of euthanasia and murder are almost the same: A person chooses to use an object for killing another person, and acts out till the person’s death. The two sharing points can lead to many wandering or complex law cases in reality, as the arresting to Pou in the article (Fink, page 26).

The two actions differ in their motivation: Due to a kind of humanistic characteristic of people – one should leave being tranquil and painless – the physicists have the power to treat the patients with euthanasia, and the power can be positive and reasonable. Adding the risk of being charged of law, the situation brings ethical dilemma for the executers, which can be proved by the action of Gremillion: crying and grabbing his arm, while saying “I can’t do this” (Fink, page 18-19). However, a murder in general often initiates because of hatred or disappointment, which are negative emotions of human kind. Although the killers with such mindset may hesitate before execution, the power keeps working to make them commit the guilty. Another difference can be the person’s purpose for taking the action. Because of the irreversible illness and the triage policy, it was almost certain that some patients in the Memorial Hospital is going to be treated to death. If the physicists act out euthanasia, the purpose will be reasonable, because they consider both the victims’ and the hospital’s situation, even facing with the law’s punishment. Therefore, it is different from murdering, whose purpose can be gaining something valuable from the victim to support the murderer’s self. Thus, one can know that the murderer does not consider either the feeling or benefit of the victim.

If people face complex cases as what happened in the article, the differences between euthanasia and murder can be the key points that help solve the problem.

Fear of Discomfort

In the play, By the Water, written by Sharyn Rothstein, Marty Murphy presents his love and compassion of the house he owns in Staten Island, New York by ignoring the comments and opinions of his closest loved one’s. Marty Murphy is defensive about leaving this house behind because of the many memories and history that have been developed over the past few decades. Even though this is a very obvious response of Marty Murphy’s feelings towards being asked to leave, is there a chance Marty does not want to part ways with this house because of his fear of discomfort?

I believe many humans live a life following a fixed program. Everyone wakes up in the morning, brushes their teeth, eats breakfast, goes to work or school, etc. Society has made humans become used to the idea of repetition, which gives people a sense of calmness. I believe Marty Murphy has reached an age where people become too comfortable with this repetition. Ultimately, when the house is inflicted by the storm, Marty becomes agitated and afraid of altering this comfortable lifestyle he has become accustomed to living. This agitation and fear are viewed when he says, “this is where we belong, Sal. This is where everyone knows us: We’re Marty and Mary Murphy. We have history here. Besides, we’ve survived storms like this before” (Rothstein, 12). Marty finds a deep affection for living his life in this house because he has spent his entire life accepting that this is the position he will be in for the rest of his life. Marty expresses his fear of leaving and accepting a different future while saying “This is where everyone knows us.” He fears the idea of leaving his past and becoming no one. He finds a purpose because of the decades of his life he has spent living his comfortable life. As a result, Marty’s discomfort of visualizing a life without his house, conveys his fear of losing a particular lifestyle filled with his particular daily routines. I believe Marty is not worried about losing an old house passed down from generation to generation, but is scared of losing a life of comfort.

Wicked Water

In the play “By the Water” by Sharyn Rothstein, we are introduced to a family who lives near the water in Staten Island, New York and they have just been affected by Hurricane Sandy  which has destroyed their entire community by the water. The whole family gets into a heated debate over whether they should stay and remodel their house by the water or if they should move because a hurricane like this will probably happen again in the future. Sal, the son of Marty and Mary, wants them to leave, while Marty is set on staying because this house and location by the water has sentimental value and Mary is stuck in the middle. It is because of the fact that they live by the water that they are having this debate in the first place. In the end, the couple decides to move somewhere new, but it is ironic because they want to live somewhere by the water still.

After reading this play, I began to question why Rothstein chose the title of this play to be “By the Water.” Why wouldn’t she choose a title that highlighted the destruction of the family and their community? This is when I realized that in every sentence I have written to summarize the play, I have mentioned the words “by the water.” In fact, the fact that Marty and Mary are located by the water is what dictates everything in the play. For example, because they live by the water, the water caused the destruction of their home, which in turn caused Sal to come back to help his parents which started the argument to move, which led Marty to reveal that he had put the house in Sal’s name which led to further blame and arguments in their family which led to Marty finally realizing it may be time to move, move to a place by the water of course. The use of this title in fact ends up highlighting the destruction of the family and their community because it is the water that causes all the destruction in this play in the first place. On a lighter note, being by the water is also the place that makes the family happy and, thus, is why they don’t want to move away from their home or to a place far from the water. If they hadn’t lived by the water, this play wouldn’t even exist because there would be no storm and thus no story to tell. Therefore this title is perfect for this play because it was entirely dictated “by water.”

Relationship with a House?

In the play, By The Water, by Sharon Rothstein, Marty, the father of two, is in a dilemma where the whole community he lives in wants to leave because of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. Marty however, wants to stay in his town and not leave the home he has started his family in. I will question what Marty’s house symbolizes to him?

I think Marty’s house represents a toxic relationship with a girlfriend. What I mean by this is that whatever happens or no matter how big of a fight (the house getting ruined) they get in, Marty always comes back even though he should not. He thinks about all the good memories the house and him had together. For example when he is talking to his wife, Mary, he explains to her all the great times they had together in that house. He states, “I was a kid here. We started our family here. How many mornings have we had, walking down to the beach, the sun coming up, looking out over Brooklyn, thinking ‘Brooklyn. What schmucks.’ I’ve been the luckiest man on the planet” (23). Even though Marty has had a lot of great times in his house, there becomes a point where he has to move on like one would have to do if they were in a toxic relationship. One can not keep coming back if they know that they are going to get hurt. Marty has to stop coming back to the old house because he knows that there is going to be another storm that is going to cause more problems in his life like a toxic girlfriend would.

Tragedy at Memorial Hospital: Were the right decisions made?

Looking back at the tragedy at Memorial Hospital, it is easy to criticize certain actions. For example, I was wondering if there was a possibly to evacuate prior to the storm, or make sure the hospital had a functioning generator that would work for an extended period of time. Now, let’s say none of those options were viable. Did the medical professionals and staff members make the right decision when deciding who got evacuated from memorial?

I believe the answer is yes. Given the circumstances, Dr. Pou and her associates acted with composure and tried to land on the best possible outcome. Due to the fact that there was not sufficient help and resources, it was inevitable that some might not make it out. According to Pou, she was “trying to do the most good with a limited pool of resources.” Although I recognize the outage from those of the deceased victims, the magnitude of this disaster was unlike any other in recent memory. Traditional triage systems call for the patients in the worst health to be evacuated first, while the healthier patients wait. This is the opposite of what happened. Given the severity of the situation, it was likely that they severely ill patients would not have survived the trip to the new hospital, let alone the horrible conditions. Additionally, when initially making this decision to evacuate patients with a D.N.R last, it was still believed that every single patient would be evacuated. However, this turned out not to be the case. According to Dr. Diechmann, the doctor who initially floated this idea, “I believed they should go last because they would have had the ‘least to lose’ compared with other patients if calamity struck.” I think this reasoning is valid, because the doctors were trying to ensure that the least loss of life occurred. This is similar to Dr. Pou’s statements following Katrina. She said, “No, I did not murder those patients. Mr. Safer, I’ve spent my entire life taking care of patients” (60 Minutes). This shows that the doctors were just trying to make the best decision based on their judgement of the situation. I believe they were successful in doing so, as there were over 2,000 people who needed to be evacuated, and a high number of patients survived the transport. I recognize that difficulty of this decision, but ultimately, I think the decisions made by the doctors in Memorial Hospital allowed for the best possible outcome in this awful situation.


The Villain Inside a Superhero

Doctors are said to do the works of a miracle by treating an ill patient back to health. They fight with death every day to not let any patients slip away. A doctor generally decides what treatment should be given to a patient. The article, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial” describes the time during hurricane Katrina when Memorial doctors had to euthanize the sickest patients while the ‘not so ill’ patients were being evacuated. It raises many questions in this complex situation- how much control should a doctor hold over his or her patients? Should they command the death of a patient or let them die over time? Acknowledging that the hospital resources were getting limited due to hurricane Katrina, it is not easy to pick an extreme side.

The doctors who “…had hastened the deaths of some patients…”(Fink, 1) argued that they had no choice but to calculate which patients in the unit valued the most. The situation gets more controversial when the article states, “Several[of the patients] were almost certainly not near death when they were injected…” (Fink, 2). This tells me that the doctors and nurses simply tried to get rid of patients to make their work easier to handle. In this case, I feel like the doctors should have prioritized the most vulnerable patients so that they could receive resources faster. Evacuating those patients who are able to walk delayed the time for others who were surviving on limited resources. I acknowledge that the doctors and the nurses had the intention to ease their pain but it does not seem ethical to their service, especially when they had the choice to evacuate them first. It makes me disagree with the doctors’ actions when they addressed the terminally ill patients as ‘hopeless cases’ and ‘turkeys’ (Fink, 3). Their views degrade their beings and contradict their careers as doctors.

I think terminally ill patients should not receive lethal injections unless it is the very last hope. In the article, it states, “… The Coast Guard offered to evacuate more patients, but those in charge at Memorial declined” (6). This tells me that help was there to relocate patients in huge medical needs but their lives were considered the least valuable in society. While hurricane Katrina may contribute to natural selection, doctors should not have the power to contribute to artificial selection in terms of which patient should be evacuated.

The Selfish Nature of Men

Good and evil are concepts that people today have trouble coming to an agreement with because everyone has different opinions. Subsequently, in today’s society there are several injustices that take place because people do not want to recognize the harm they cause others. In the film “Chinatown” directed by Roman Polanski the theme of injustice is presented through the lens of rape. This led me to wonder what meaning does the director want to convey in using rape as his central example of the injustice within society. After watching this film, I found that there are two primary examples that demonstrate the concept of rape both in a literally and metaphorical sense. The first example from the film that illustrates the idea of rape was when the audience finds out that the father of Evelyn Mulwray raped his daughter at the age of fourteen. This was a literal example of rape because Noah Cross took the innocence of his daughter by force for his own sexual pleasure. Another way the director used the concept of rape to demonstrate the injustice in society was with the water scandal. The criminals took away the water supply from the general population. Many viewers may be confused on how the director used the concept of rape in this situation. I would argue that the concept of rape was used metaphorically in the sense that water was grasped away from society. In further explanation, Polanski used the fact that the setting of the film is in California, a state that is going through a drought to illustrate the fact that Noah striped society from its water supply in order to gain profit and power over the city.

I noticed that in both these situations the attacker was a male character. Therefore, I believe that Roman Polanski tried to convey the message that gender inequality is driven by ambition and greed. Men in this film take what they want without considering the harm they cause others. Noah Cross is portrayed as an abusive selfish and power hungry man. His character depicts the idea that rape is manufactured by the desire to gain profit and power over others. The cops who are under the orders of Noah Cross support my claim because they end up killing Evelyn even though she had a good reason on why she wanted to escape with her sister/daughter. This scene shows how the males in the film believe that they hold power over women. At the end of the film, Noah maintains authority even though he is corrupt. This outcome poses the issue that men who rape in society sometimes have immunity because they hold power which protects them from suffering the consequences for their crimes.

The Wings of Fate

In the film Cast Away, Chuck Noland embarks on a unique journey in which his plane crashes over the Pacific Ocean and he washes up upon the shore of an island. Here, he finds packages washed ashore. He opens all except one and by the end of the movie he returns it to it’s original destination. My question is, what is the symbolism of the package and how does the director Robert Zemeckis tie this symbolism into other themes of the movie?

After surviving 4 years on the island, Chuck never opened the last package with a drawing of orange fluorescent wings on the front. This package was a sign of hope and resembled his own personal determination to survive. Flashback to the beginning of the movie, we see a Texas ranch with a sign that has the wings on it as well as “Dick Bettina.” This is where the package originally came from. I also believe Zemeckis used wings as the symbol on the package because wings represent transportation from place to place, as well as guardian angels. This package, although just a box with it’s contents never revealed, becomes a major pinnacle in Chuck’s survival. As seen when he is dropping off the package, he writes, “This package saved my life. Thank you. Chuck Noland” (2:13:38-2:13:48).

At the end of the film, Chuck ends up at the same crossroads where the movie began. However, now the name “Dick” has been removed from the arch at the front of the ranch. This represents the failure in the marriage between Bettina and Dick. It is at the same time Chuck has found out that his ex-fiancé, who thought he was dead, is now married with a child. Chuck meets Bettina coincidentally at the crossroads and as she’s driving away he notices the orange wings on the back of her truck. We as viewers are left to believe that these “wings” guided his fate throughout the movie, and now he is left with a decision, to follow the wings once more, or take another path.

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.

How does the water change his life?

Are you interested in the story of Robinson Crouse? There is a modern version of living on an isolated island. The movie Cast Away (2000) is directed by Robert Zemeckis. It tells the story about Chuck Noland who experienced a storm that makes the plan he taken crushed into the sea on Christmas, was trapped alone on an island for 4 years and finally being rescued. However, there is a huge difference in his life. So, how does the water change his life?


At very first, the water makes him isolated from the outside world by bringing him to an island that is ignored when searching for survivors. Also, the water brings the dead body of the pilot and his shoes, and waves hit his leg on the coral and make it bleed. Sadly, he is surrounded by water, but he still has to use all kind of skills to get water that is drinkable. The water makes him, who was always living in a modern technological society to live along and with barely any help of the tools from civilization. However, the sea is also bringing the packages that help to keep him living. The skating shoes are used as knives, and even help to knock off his bad tooth. The ball is colored by blood to be his friend Wilson that he can talk to. It even brings part of the plane to him that helps him a lot when building a raft to escape from the island. The water makes him living an uncivilized life with tools that remind him of his past, and gives him strike but also hope, and the chance to go back to his old life. When he is sailing on the sea, the water brings Wilson away, which to me is a hint that the water will take him back to the human society that his real friends will chat with him, instead of this ball. Also, when he is comatose, the water wakes him up, and remind him to let him get help. The water takes him away, and helps him back to the world, by stealing his time away, and makes him thinks about his life. He used to see work as a priority, but he has learned that the people you love, and the health is the most important things, and sometimes time can change all the things including love, but some love like the friendship, and the passion of doing things that a person always like may never change.