Publication Date

1980

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Gravel, Pierre Bettez

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Department

Department of Anthropology

LCSH

Funeral rites and ceremonies--United States||Mourning customs--United States

Abstract

The literature on funerary rites is relatively abundant, but little of it focuses on the funeral meal or "repast" as an integral part of the ritual. Yet, it has been observed that after funerals the participants often get together for a meal before dispersing. This essay is a functional analysis of the "repast." Because of the scarcity of information in the literature, material was gathered through interviews with informants in the Chicago area. The first hypothesis is that the "repast" component functions to refresh and nourish those who have participated in the ritual. Second, the "repast" serves to reaffirm the importance of continuing life. Third, the "repast" component shares the functional characteristics of the entire ritual, such as reinforcement of communal solidarity, and the public recognition of new roles within the family structure. Finally, perhaps, a new function of the "repast" (and the entire ritual) is to counteract alienation. The evidence reviewed supports these hypotheses.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references.

Extent

45 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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