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Poetic Thinking 2016 | February 20, 2020

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Death in the Cabbage Patch

Death in the Cabbage Patch
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  • On February 24, 2016

Our discussion of Montaigne and his notion of a swift death made me think of the death of Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Montaigne writes: “I want Death to find me planting my cabbages, neither worrying about it nor the unfinished gardening” (27).

While Montaigne doesn’t go into this at length, I find the notion of the garden bed as a death bed compelling not only because it is unanticipated and thus, in Montaigne’s view, not as fearful–but because of the site of the garden or orchard as one of regeneration. Death might be a flowery affair: it is in the flowers customarily sent to the mourning, and the return to the earth of the body. This notion of regeneration is explicit in The Godfather, since it is Vito’s grandson who watches him die.

Comments

  1. Pensiero Liquido

    This is an interesting comment, I didn’t think about it. Thanks for sharing.
    I liked that passage, but I did not really focus on this aspect, I abstracted from the specific setting and imagined a more general moral (such as, don’t attach yourself to the end product, but be satisfied by doing).

    I wonder whether what would be this re-generation in the case of Montaigne?
    I think that his heir is his Book (somewhere he talks explicitly as books as sons), and then the image becomes even more accurate… even more beautiful, I think. And in fact, it is exactly what he is doing. Writing and re-writing and re-writing.

  2. Vivian Lam

    “Death might be a flowery affair.” Beautiful–thank you for this.

    Perhaps we throw flowers on a casket in anticipation of the life that will spring–the deceased fertilize the ground we walk.
    Are floral prints a means of rolling in the dirt?

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