Ch. 4: Point of View: What Would a First Person Eulogy Sound Like?

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Jessica Orlowski's entry inspired me to contemplate the idea of writing my own eulogy.  It's not really something that I've put much thought into before now, but I had a teacher in high school who gave her English class an assignment to write their own eulogies.  Mrs. Scott prided herself on her ability to push her students, and she bragged that this particular assignment was the most difficult.  Some students took the assignment as a joke, but most took it very seriously.  Unfortunately, I never had her for that particular class or I would have more perspective on the idea. 

Hearing the story of someone's life from their own point of view does seem like it would be more interesting.  However, the point of a funeral isn't to be interesting, it's for the family to find closure.  I suppose it may be easier for your family to find a more intimate closure in your own final words rather than somebody else's reiteration of your life, but is that still considered a eulogy?

I would find it considerably difficult to write a story about my life without boring people to death with my "resume" and attempting to shy away from Beowulf-like boasts.  I feel like eulogies are meant to glorify a person after they have die.  It may sound cheesy, but it's nice to hear someone else talk about how caring or funny or kind a person was in their life.  There is a good chance a first person eulogy would be witty or funny.  "Well, I always tried to be caring to kids because I was a teacher...but sometimes I just wanted to..."

I think you need to be very comfortable with the idea of death in order to write such a difficult thing.  I wish I had been in Mrs. Scott's class to hear the class discussions about the assignment.  Perhaps I'll make this a writing assignment in my own classroom someday as an experiment.  Good luck writing your own eulogy; it might be harder than you think... 

To read Jess' entry, click here! 


Jessica Orlowski said:

Thanks, Carissa. You're right.. that would be extremely challenging. I have this belief, though, that everyone is meant to have some sort of masterpiece before they die. Maybe a eulogy could be our masterpiece?

When I imagined "writing my own Eulogy," I did imagine to write it so that it would bring comfort to the family. Wouldn't family and friends like to hear directly from the deceased? On the other hand, sometimes the unreliability of the third person point of view brings MORE comfort... it puts up a facade that hides the true nature of the deceased (including the bad things). Ignorance is bliss, right?

Josie Rush said:

Jessica- yeah, ignorance is bliss, there's truth in that. I guess there are pros and cons to each pov, which is why choosing one is so tricky.
Carissa-I loved your "Beowulf-like boasts" line. Methinks someone may have read that particular piece of literature and found it a bit trying? I'm with you.
And writing your own eulogy would be a good writing exercise, imho. And if you're thinking of using that as an exercise in your own classroom, you definitely want to try it yourself. It could be...well, not fun, really, but enlightening.

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