Death Be Not Proud

How would you cope if you were going to die? In the memoir Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther, his son Named Johnny is faced with this situation. At an early age, Johnny was found with a brain tumor, and struggles to survive. Johnny later died from the brain tumor. Johnny was loved by many people; much of whom tried his/her best to help Johnny through this ordeal. Although Johnny was faced with death, Johnny faced death with courage throughout the book.
Even though Johnny was faced with death, he faced death with courage. Johnny showed that, by keeping a positive attitude through this whole ordeal. Johnny?s hope, positive attitude, and courage kept his death at bay, even in the face of terrible pain and incurable illness. " But later that day he developed an excruciating headache, the only fierce and intense pain he suffered during the whole course of his illness-a small mercy, perhaps, but one to be devoutly grateful for"(p24) Johnny was faced with unimaginable pain throughout his illness; yet he maintained a level of hope and determination to live. At the young age that Johnny was at, and to face death, it must have took a lot of courage to stay positive. Johnny kept fighting, determined to recuperate, even if he had to do things himself. "I watched him give himself a hypodermic injection of liver extract on the side above the hip, an awkward place to reach. I could not possibly have done on anybody, let alone myself." (p77) Johnny, had to take hypodermic injections, and were more than painful, and gave himself the shots. That shows the courage he has, to give himself painful injections that his dad wouldn?t be able to give, yet alone watch. Although he realized that eventually his life would end, he still never gave up the hope that perhaps he could outsmart his fate to die, if just to steal a few extra hours.
This illness Johnny had was incurable, and Johnny knew that, but Johnny had such hope he didn?t believe that. Later in the book, Johnny finally accepts he is going to die. " A desperate charging hope shone in his eyes. Very slowly the hand went up. He felt his head tentatively, felt it again with full palm, and then, limply, helplessly, hopelessly, the hand fell down, and this was the only time I ever saw his eyes actually spill over with tears."(p85) Johnny finally realized that death was a possibility now. Throughout his battle with the brain tumor, Johnny?s dad recalls that this moment was the only time Johnny ever shed a tear. The doctors finally come to a conclusion about Johnny?s condition. " He?s dying. Shall we do anything or not?" (p110) Now that Johnny knew he was going to die, he had nothing to look foreword to, but he still kept a positive attitude and faced death with courage. Each day, until his last, the determination Johnny had to get well and to live a normal life was phenomenal.
If Johnny had any fears of death, they were unknown because of his consideration for others and not wanting to burden others with his troubles. Johnny was always strong and brave, he always smiled and hung in there fighting. " Once he told Frances that he had been chilly during the night. She asked him why he hadn?t called the nurse. His reply was that he hated to disturb her because she must be tired out."(p34) This shows how caring Johnny is. Instead of burdening the nurse to come to his room late at night, Johnny didn?t bother to call her because he didn?t want to disturb her. Even with his final unconscious breath, there was still animation in him, he was still determined to live. " He died absolutely without fear, and without pain, and without knowing that he was going to die?He had regained color just before; he had some final essential spark of animation; he was still fighting." (p111) Johnny fought gallantly for life against hopeless odds, and almost defied those odds. Johnny was faced with all these hardships at an early, it is incredible that someone so young could persist to live. Johnny?s determination to live and his courage to fight against the tumor is remarkable.