ART REVIEW: The Body in All Its Mortal Urgency by HOLLAND COTTER
Published: December 5, 2003
SUMMERS in high school and into college, I worked as an orderly in a small urban hospital where my father was a doctor, often in the emergency room, often all night. For a bookish, day dreamy kid, into Emily Dickinson and Italian opera, it was an experience. Fairly quickly, I think, it started to loosen up my view of the world, adding something large, and also something concrete and acute, a sense of life as a we're-all-in- it-together sharing, but also as solitary and unromantically finite.
These feelings got worked out afresh every time a police ambulance screeched up to the door. The hospital staff members were in instant motion, spot-evaluating damage, hunting for vital signs, examining wounds. If someone had died, we tried to yank them back to life with jolts and chemicals. Everyone sensed the clock ticking. Collective energy, an extremely powerful force, was poured into that one person, in distress, right there. If our efforts succeeded, a patient was off to surgery or intensive care. When they failed, I had a late-night walk with a stretcher down to the morgue.
Directions: After reading the first sections of “The Body in All its Mortal Urgency”, you will write a three paragraph response about an experience you have had that has influenced your life in a crucial way. Be sure to include an intro, body, and conclusion: