You are a therapist who specializes in counseling people who have an incurable d
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You are a therapist who specializes in counseling people who have an incurable disease and a limited time to live. You have recently decided that you want to inspire your patients to live what is left of their lives to the fullest. Someone suggested that you hang Suzanne Rivera’s poem “Memento Mori” on the wall of your office to provoke thoughtful discussions of the struggles they face.
Do you think this poem will inspire your patients? Consider their situation in life. Does the poem provide the motivation they need to make the best they can out of the time they have left? Why or why not?
Write a letter to the families of your patients explaining your decision. Base your reasons on the poem itself and use evidence from the poem to support your reasons.
HOW TO ORGANIZE THE ESSAY
INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH. Introduce to the families of your patients:
• What you are writing to them about
• A powerful statement of your decision. What is it about the poem’s overall message that most influenced you in your decision?
PARAGRAPH #2: The 1st reason for your decision based on lines 1-10. Look at the meaning expressed in the sentence in these lines. Also look at the images (comparisons and similes) the poet uses:
1. Think about how she portrays death in lines 1-8.
2. Then look at how she completes her thought in lines 9-10.
3. How do you think her overall meaning in these lines will help (or hurt) your patients?
PARAGRAPH #3: Predict how lines 11-20 will affect your patients in the days and months they have left.
1. Look at the thought expressed in lines 11-12.
2. Also look at the images (comparisons and similes) the poet uses portray the things of life (time, flowers, names, bodies) in lines 13-20.
3. What does she say here that you think (or don’t think) will help your patients live the time they have left to the fullest?
PARAGRAPH #4: Use a counter-argument to support your decision based on lines 21-28:
1. First think about why your fellow therapists at the clinic might think you’re making the wrong decision:
a. Begin the paragraph by explaining their concerns.
b. Be thorough and respectful in explaining a reason they might disagree with you. Show you have already thought it through and you’re on top of this.
2. Then use a “turn” like “However, ___” and use lines 21-28 to reply fully and thoughtfully to your colleagues:
a. Look at what Rivera wants out of life in lines 21-23 and the metaphors she uses to express it.
b. Also notice in lines 24-27 she’s saying quite clearly what she doesn’t want without any comparisons.
c. Finally, what does she say in the last line (28) you think (or don’t think) will help your patients?
CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: Find a powerful way to reinforce your overall decision. Don’t repeat your main points. Instead, think about the importance this has for your patients and their families.