Volume 91, Issue 10

Friday, September 12, 1997

frosh pit


Diana's passing symbolic

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

When Princess Diana was killed in Paris two weeks ago not only did it mark the tragic passing of a beautiful princess, but also brought to close a long-term societal romance, experts claim.

"Diana's death is simply the death of an ideal," Jack Morgan said. "The pain society feels is not for Diana the individual, since most people have never met her, but rather for who Diana was and what she stood for."

Morgan, a professor of philosophy and the coordinator for the Centre of Education about Death and Bereavement at King's College, also said the death of a famous or public person can have an interesting effect on society.

"Death in the media often rehashes memories for people," Morgan said. "Diana's death is for many people symbolic of deaths that they have experienced in their own lives."

Losing something is a big part of life and as Morgan points out, is something people have to deal with on a daily basis.

"Lives are made up of thousands of losses," Morgan said. "People experience loss all the time whether it be moving out of the house, losses of relationships, or sometimes the death of a loved one. "

The passing of the Princess will have a profound affect on the lives of her two sons, William and Harry, based on a child's ability to understand death at a very early age, Morgan said.

"Children reach an adult conception of death at around age nine or 10. Adults accept death easier just based on having more experience but kids realize early that death is final and must learn how to cope and handle tough situations."

Morgan also commented on the importance of the mourning process, stating that it is a very important part of the death cycle.

"After a death, people have to accept it in order to re-establish their lives whether it be writing a poem, crying or saying a prayer, people need closure," he said.

Samantha Brennan, a philosophy professor at Western, also said closure is important, citing it as one of the main reasons two and a half billion people watched the early morning burial in memory of the Princess.

"The reason people stayed up to watch the funeral was to gain a sense of closure or end," said Brennan. "Diana's whole life has been played out in the tabloids like a story, starting of course with her marriage. People felt like they were a part of her life because of their relationship with her in the media and by watching the funeral were able to witness first-hand the last chapter being written and the story coming to an end."

Brennan is worried the way the media is covering the story of Diana's death is simply sensationalistic.

"Sadly the media has a lot of misplaced intentions," Brennan said. "They cover Diana's death due to the magnitude of the person involved, yet rarely does the media show starving children dying, an issue that can be helped and ironically an issue that if Diana was still alive she would be fighting for."

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Copyright The Gazette 1997