Sophie Ellis, JKR
My short story titled, 'Deep Sleep' is about a respected and admired embalmer, Hailey, from a small country town in Connecticut whose client happens to be an old man who lived on her street as a child and once saved her life. My story aims to comment on the mystification of death, bringing this daunting and existential concept down to its bare mechanics through exposing it in a light, not often seen by the general population. I achieved this aim by looking at the embalming process and deconstructing its main purpose in the western culture. I found that overwhelmingly the information presented that restoration of the body for open casket and other circumstances was the main aim in embalming.
Through my research I found that many articles spoke of how the restorative practices of embalming aimed to give a lifelike appearance to the body.
One particular piece of research I found in the TJ Scott and Son funeral home's information on embalming stated, "embalming effectively removes the unpleasant changes caused by death and the traces of disease and suffering. I found this particularly ironic and decided to look further into it. In an article titled "Confessions of an Embalmer", embalmer Sebastian Dufault talks about the rewarding aspects of his career, "Our challenge is to restore dignity to the deceased, to rid their faces of suffering and anguish, to transform their ugliness into something more beautiful then when they were alive" .This inspired the motive behind my character's career in embalming and explains how she carries on even when the job becomes hard and at times confronting, "Helping others in their time of need, being a hand to the weak, a perpetuator of fond memories and artist of the lifeless; these were all things...