by Jonathan Swift
Gulliver's Travels Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)
They live generally to seventy, or seventy-five years, very seldom to fourscore. Some weeks before their death, they feel a gradual decay; but without pain. During this time they are much visited by their friends, because they cannot go abroad with their usual ease and satisfaction. However, about ten days before their death, which they seldom fail in computing, they return the visits that have been made them by those who are nearest in the neighbourhood, being carried in a convenient sledge drawn by Yahoos; which vehicle they use, not only upon this occasion, but when they grow old, upon long journeys, or when they are lamed by any accident: and therefore when the dying Houyhnhnms return those visits, they take a solemn leave of their friends, as if they were going to some remote part of the country, where they designed to pass the rest of their lives. (4.9.10)
The death of the Houyhnhnm starts out with a kind of pre-death wake that the dying Houyhnhnm himself gets to attend. He visits with all of his friends and then disappears to die with dignity. What do you think of this model of death? How does it compare to American funeral customs? What are its benefits?