January 30, 2014
Assignment: The view from 80
For older people the value of conversation, images, friends, relatives and melodies are great. The elderly have slowed their pace, but life continues at light speed. These distractions make them feel young again, or bring them back to a memory when they were younger. It lets them know they haven’t lost their memories, and keeps their minds working. 7)
The qualities that characterize the people that “surrender” to old age are: mental or bodily ailments, no longer being able to serve a function in their community, no one asking anything of them, senility, and simply giving up. The qualities that characterize those who “accept old age as a series of challenges” are their wit, force of will, enjoying small victories and major successes. Cowley respected the latter group because they didn’t give up. They rose to each new challenge. They devised other ways to perform tasks that once came naturally. He applauds the fact that every victory no matter how small is in fact a victory! Something to move them to the next challenge, and help them complete it. 9)
“Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”- Chinese proverb This impression helps organize the many different details presented in the essay simply because Cowley knows that when you stop moving (surrender) the end is near. 14)
Comparing Crowley’s ideas on the weakness of old age with the grandfather in Bradbury’s essay I’d say he accepted old age as a series of challenges. He had an entire family looking to him to pass down these “rituals”. He was still teaching them, he was still social, he had a place in his community. He had not surrendered. I do know someone in their eighties. They care for a nine year old. She is always on the move. Bringing the child to school, dance class, and gymnastics! I hear friends and family tell her to slow down, but at the same time we all know this is whats...
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