Historical Context

John Hoyer Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1932 but grew up in nearby Shillington. At 13 he moved to an isolated family farmhouse near Plowville, Pennsylvania. His mother, an unpublished writer, encouraged him to read and to write his father was a math teacher. In youth Updike suffered from an embarrassing stutter and disfiguring psoriasis, the latter about which he subsequently wrote in From the Journal of a Leper. In this gripping autobiographical story Updike in finely wrought...

Literary Analysis

In Possessing the Secret of Joy the black liberal feminist Alice Walker dramatizes how her main character, Tashi, in an act oftribal allegiance, gets facial scarring and circumcision because she recognized it as the only remaining definitive stamp of Olinka tradition. The tribe's leader, who is compared to Nelson Mandela and even Jesus Christ, has instructed the people not to neglect ancient customs. He has been imprisoned by the white regime. Walker explores the effects of FGM in a dazzling...

Topics For Oral And Written Discussion

Describe how Rabbit is an antihero like Kesey's Mack and how his self-image and existential angst contribute to his unfortunate lifestyle and health problems. Add to your discussion Updike's poem The ExBasketball Player. 2. Correlate Rabbit's lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress) with his increasing cardiac symptoms in a case study of how it contributed to his cardiac arrest. Use medical terms and apply the saying It's time to pay the piper to Rabbit's final outcome. 3. How did the specific...

Synopsis Of The Play

Professor Vivian Bearing, literary researcher, is now herself the subject of cancer research. Two dissimilar fields of study form the foundation of a moving play looking at the boundaries of the intellect and the expanses of the heart. Primarily set in a University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center room, there are no action breaks between scenes and no intermission in the 90-minute play. Therefore, lighting changes signify important transitions. Dr. Bearing enters an empty stage pushing an...

Synopsis Of The Novel

An Oregon state mental institution in the 1960s is the scene for a contest of wills between the staff and the inmates. The catatonic Native American Chief Bromden (Chief Broom) narrates One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest even though he appears deaf and mute. Diagnosed with delusional paranoia, while in a fog and feeling helpless, he fears the Combine controls everything. The driving force in the mental institution is the militaristic Nurse Ratched (the Big Nurse), who wields her authority severely...

Chronology of Events in Literature Medicine and Science

These Western medicine selections relate to the works included here. This is not a comprehensive timeline, but for context some unrelated historical events are shown. Sumerian and Egyptian cultures begin Writing invented Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, wrote Corpus Hippocrates, a systematic and scientific approach to medicine his definition of a doctor's position and role in society is incorporated into his Hippocratic Oath, central to medicine today Birth of Galen Pergamum, Greek...

Preface

Bioethics and Medical Issues in Literature has multiple uses. First, it is part of the Exploring Social Issues through Literature series developed to meet the needs of secondary school students and their teachers who will delve into social issues identified in a range of accessible literature. When used in the language arts curriculum, the book intersects social studies issues and literature. Furthermore, educators in the arts and humanities and sciences can benefit from examining social issues...