Life and death are often compared to the two sides of a coin. The first story in the discussion pertaining to this topic is called "Indian Camp" which was penned down by Ernest Hemmingway. The main plot of the short story revolves around a pregnant Indian American woman and the brutality she has to face. The protagonist of the story, named Nick Adams receives a first-hand experience of the events. In succession is the poem "The Butterfly" by Pavel Friedmann which is a symbolism of the butterfly that never returned.
The literary piece portrays the grotesque reality of some concentration camps. The third story is called "Ambush" by Tim O’Brien, and it is a documentation of the various ways in which a man, who was once at war, has to conceal to his daughter the reality of killing that happens at the war front in order to still nourish her innocence.
The story of the Indian camp was originally based on an American Indian pregnant woman who was undergoing the process of painful labor for two days. She is made to deliver her baby in an improvised cesarean operation where her belly was cut open using a fishing knife. The basic running theme here is that of sexism and racism prevalent in society. On top of all the misery, the woman had to endure, her husband had cut his throat. Part of this story is based on life, death, pain, suicide and the main character is Nick Adams. Also, it is noteworthy that the woman is not given a name as she symbolizes all the other unfortunate women who face similar brutal consequences.
On the superficial level, "The Butterfly" appears to be a poem about the butterfly that has never returned. Here is a saying from the poem, "It went away I'm sure because it wished to/ Kiss the world goodbye." The fact that this poem was written during the holocaust gives it a new depth and dimension. The poet uses the literary device of symbolism to signify that humans who fell prey to the mass murder were colorful and valid in their own way. But they (victims) were like the butterfly who flew away and was never to come back (they died). This symbolical masterpiece was written by Pavel Friedmann.
"Ambush" by Tim O'Brien is an authentic example of a story where the parent is trying to hold back their child from witnessing the gross reality of the world. In the story, we see the narrator telling his daughter that he has never killed anyone while he was in the army. It very much seems like there’s a male narrator, telling stories to a girl. Here’s a line from the story, 'It occurred to me then that he was about to die. I wanted to warn him.' The story ends with the narrator sinking into a pool of regret- he regrets killing the man, but what bothers him equally is that he has to wear a disguise in front of his kid.
Human suffering is a continuous cycle, birth and death being its extremities. Many writers often consider birth as the starting point and death as the reaching point, or, destination. Life is the journey that we have to undertake to reach our destination. It is like a pilgrimage, and we are the pilgrims. All the adversities that come in the form of suffering are obstacles that we pilgrims have to face in the journey of life.
Here's a whole bunch of quotes about life and death.
Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides - Lao Tzu. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live - Norman Cousins. When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home - Tecumseh.
You needn't die happy when your time comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from the beginning to the end - Stephen King. The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time - Mark Twain. It is not length of life, but depth of life - Ralph Waldo Emerson. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one - Kahlil Gibran. It's an honor to be in grief. It's an honor to feel that much, to have loved that much - Elizabeth Gilbert. Reality hurts when you fight it. It makes you strong when you accept it - Maxime Legace.
To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure - J.K. Rowling. The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters - Audrey Hepburn. The day Marston was born, we found out my wife’s grandmother had cancer. They said she had six months to a year to live. Three weeks later, she was in critical condition, and my wife was flying up to see her. It’s now four weeks after my son was born and I’m here in Pennsylvania, Amish country, for the funeral.
Never before have I seen life and death in such close proximity. Cormac McCarthy once said these are the only two subjects worth writing about, life and death. After experiencing it first hand this month, I get it.
There’s this one picture someone took of my son with his great-grandmother. She was unconscious, had that gaping mouth of the dazed dying. Marston was lying, propped up against her, looking up just past the camera with an expression that says, “This is very strange.” And certainly, for one so freshly brought into the world, the idea of someone leaving it would be foreign. When I first saw that picture, I thought, “Oh, good. Someone got a picture of him with her.”
The second time I looked at it, I recognized the contrast and felt a slow burn of grief and awe in my chest. I wanted to show the picture to everyone I talked to that day, as if to say, “See? This is the mystery, that these two things could exist in the same world. How do you explain that?”