Death Be Not Proud

Death Be Not Proud

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The book Death Be Not Proud has many points of significance, all of which were realized after the tragic death of a son. The points of significance all reflect major life lessons that all people should live by. Those life lessons include never taking life for granted, a person should always strive to succeed, having a positive attitude leads others to be happy, and to stay by the people you love through rough times. These lessons helped one young adult, Johnny, live his short life the best he could.

The first point of significance is that a person should never take life for granted. The book Death Be Not Proud is about a young boy and his struggles with a brain tumor. While Johnny, the young boy, was a very mature seventeen year old it is still very tragic that he did not get to live as long as most people. Many people in our society do not stop to think about the small things in life until something grave has happened. Johnny lived his life to the fullest before and after he found out about his illness. He had great aspirations for his life. He wanted to do many things with his life. He wanted to be a chemist, mathematician, physicist, poet, and a cook. Johnny did not stop with his schoolwork or his chemistry experiments unless absolutely necessary; he loved doing both. Johnny's illness was much unexpected. His parents never would have guessed that he would get as sick as he did, and could not understand why it had to be his brain. Many people thought that was the best part of Johnny. In today's society, many people become ill and the families do not understand why. Throughout the book, Johnny's father tries to understand why Johnny was the one to become ill and why it was his brain instead of his arm, for instance. Johnny never gave up on his life or the fact that he would live through the illness.

The second point of significance is that a person should never lose hope. Throughout his battle with the brain tumor, Johnny was continually hopeful and optimistic that he would win. Although many different complications arose over the course of the fifteen month battle, he only showed fear and uncertainty a handful of times. This is a brave and courageous feat for such a young person to accomplish.

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This is also very rare in such a young person. Many young adults are faced with numerous different diseases, some worse than others; and yet some faced with something as simple as a common cold cannot act with such bravery as Johnny did. Although the chances of Johnny recovering and being able to live a normal life again were almost slim to none from the moment he was diagnosed with the brain tumor, he continually was hopeful up until his last few days that he would be able to return to Deerfield Academy and then attend Harvard. Although it was never possible for Johnny to go back to school at Deerfield or to attend Harvard, he was still well enough to attend his graduation ceremony with his classmates and was even caught up enough to graduate.
Johnny loved every kind of science he could get his hands on. Even though throughout his illness science continually failed him, he still wanted nothing more in life than to study and practice science. He even wrote in one of his last letters to his mother that, "Scientists will save us all." This quote not only showed that he had yet to give up hope of living, but also that he may one day get the chance to help someone else. Even after all hope of life should have been gone, this brave young man held tight to his hopes and dreams and continually strived for success in anything he set his "broken" mind on.
The third point of significance is that one should always strive to succeed. Johnny never wanted anything but the best for himself and his family. Even through his sickness, he was encouraging his mother and father to keep up with their work as if they were still leading their normal lives. When Johnny's father finished the book he was writing, and read it to him, Johnny grinned and said, "it'll sell a million copies." At one point in the book Johnny says, "Oh how tired I feel," While most would think that he was complaining or wanting pity, it was also thought that he was just disappointed in all the things he could not do because of his illness. Johnny also says, "I have so much to do! And there's so little time!" This quote also shows Johnny's dedication to his work and how much he wants to help the world. After he says this to his mother, he begins to constantly do his scientific studies and experiments. What he really wanted was to do something for the world. There are many people in this society that feel the same way, although not all are burdened with the harsh reality that they will not be able to succeed with their goals; not because they don't want to, but because their time has run too short. Although Johnny wanted to do so much more with his life, his parents were always there to reassure him that he was a wonderful person and that he had already done wonderful things with his life.

"When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them." This verse from Job 29:24 of the Bible is exactly what the fourth point of significance, having a positive attitude leads others to be happy, is all about. The fact that smiles and happiness are contagious worked well to Johnny's advantage as well as to his parents'. His positive attitude not only helped keep the final months of his life as normal as possible, but also helped his parents cope with the great loss they would soon have to endure. Johnny's mother, Frances, always tried to be in the best mood possible in front of him in order to keep his spirits and hopes up. Frances also told Johnny that he needed to be as happy as possible and not to complain in front of his father. Because of this John, his father, rarely saw him complain or upset, both of which were saved for when he was alone with Frances, even then only on rare occasions. Because of Johnny and his parents' positive attitudes, they all not only lived a more fulfilling life, but also were able to enjoy the short amount of time they had together. Johnny's positive attitude made him an extremely well liked and cherished person.
The world today is always filled with such hatred and negativity, that everyone could benefit from a little smile and hope once in awhile. If Johnny's life lasted several months longer than it should have because of his cheerfulness and positive attitude, the saying "Laughter is the best medicine," must be true. Because of Johnny's positive attitude, he was able to keep his hopes alive and make the lives of the people around him just a little brighter.

The final point of significance in Death Be Not Proud is that one should always stay by the ones you love, especially through the rough times. No matter how hard Johnny's battle with cancer got, his parents, friends, doctors, and loved ones were always there to care for and just be there for him. Johnny always had someone to turn to for compassion, entertainment, and even just an ear to listen when he needed it most. In return, John and Frances always had Johnny right there for them in whatever they needed. For example, when John was attempting to write his book Inside U.S.A. he was extremely behind schedule because of Johnny's illness, so Johnny not only pushed John to work harder and finish his book, but he also read portions to give him ideas and feedback.
True love and compassion seems to be lacking in a good portion of today's relationships. It seems as if the second something goes a slight bit wrong the people who should be there for you through thick and thin are the first ones to run the other way. Fortunately, there are still some people in the world who do believe that no matter what happens loved ones should always stick together. For example, while many people have loved ones who are currently deployed over sees with the military, the families of these soldiers are staying at home not only supporting but making whatever sacrifices necessary to make the lives of their military loved ones a little easier. Although neither side of the relationship has it easy when a loved one is deployed, both parties are willing to do what it takes to continue to love and stick by their loved ones.

In conclusion, one should not take life for granted, nor lose hope, a person should strive to succeed, stay by the people they love through rough times, and having a positive attitude leads others to be happy are all very important lessons that every person should try to live their life by. Without these lessons, things or people in a person's life could be gone without them truly getting to appreciate it. If a person does not strive to succeed they are selling themselves short and not living up to their full potential. If people did not stay by their loved ones through rough times, the world would most likely be in a much worse place. By being with the loved ones, it in turn leads them to be happier. Johnny lived his life by all of these rules, and was always thinking of other people. I believe every person could learn a lot from Johnny and his struggle.
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