“The positioning of the corpse is vital: the legs are extended, the arms folded, the hands placed on top of the chest, the head held in place by pillows to keep the face looking skyward. These standards, like many rituals in Appalachia, are not universal. Death postures extend beyond the actual corpse into different media. Moreover, the effects of postmorten changes to the corpse, such as rigor mortis, have physical and emotional impact on the act of moving and positiong the corpse. Our understanding of death creates te conditions for the corpse we encounter. If our experiences with corpses are few, the ones we encounter seem alien, disturbing, unnatural...” from my most recent essay.
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