The only religious way to think of death is as part and parcel of life; to regard it, with the
understanding and the emotions, as the inviolable condition of life.
— Thomas Mann, German novelist
Obituaries—descriptions of people’s lives and notices of their deaths—compose one of the most
popular sections of the newspaper. Relatives scrutinize obituaries, townspeople inpsect them and
others who have moved away but still subscribe to their hometown newpaper peruse them.
Obituaries are popular because of their importance to the people involved. Few other stories are as
likely to be laminated, pasted in scrapbooks, fastened to refrigerators or mailed to friends. Also, obituaries
are well read because only newspapers report them. Radio and television stations might mention the
deaths of celebrities, but most newspapers publish obituaries for everyone in their communities.
Obituaries report on the lives of people who have died. Well-written obituaries capture people’s