Henry Peach Robinson’s “Fading Away”: a learning resource for narrative of illness

  • Tyson Tetoff, Mr. Xavier University School of Medicine
  • Gabriel Andrade, Dr Xavier University School of Medicine
  • Arun Kumar Dubey, Prof Dr Xavier University School of Medicine
  • Malpe Surekha Bhat, Prof Dr Xavier University School of Medicine
Keywords: Art history, Bereavement, End of life, Kubler-Ross, Narrative medicine, Medical humanities, Medicine in the arts

Abstract

“Fading Away”, the combination photograph by Henry Peach Robinson, has been critically reviewed by many authors in the past. This article attempts to interpret it using an imaginative process. The objective is to examine how Fading Away can be used as a learning resource for a ‘Narrative of illness’ session in a medical humanities class in undergraduate medical education. The authors demonstrate that the combination photograph could be used to explain how the coping concept is different for a dying patient. Depressive cognition, or in other words - coping in isolation - could lead to a strategy of visual rumination that can influence the dying patient to adopt a self-reflective style in dealing with death. It could be argued that this reasoning neatly corresponds with Kubler-Ross’s well-known model of the five stages of grief that most patients go through upon facing death - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It explains how dying patients can adopt a strategy and style of temporal travel of mind to relive the past and ‘prelive’ the future that they will never get to see.

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Author Biographies

Tyson Tetoff, Mr., Xavier University School of Medicine

Medical Student

Gabriel Andrade, Dr, Xavier University School of Medicine

Faculty in Behavioural Science

Arun Kumar Dubey, Prof Dr, Xavier University School of Medicine

Professor in Pharmacology and CAO

Malpe Surekha Bhat, Prof Dr, Xavier University School of Medicine

Coordinator, Medical humanities and Professor in Biochemistry and Genetics

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Published
2018-09-27
How to Cite
Tetoff, T., Andrade, G., Dubey, A., & Bhat, M. S. (2018). Henry Peach Robinson’s “Fading Away”: a learning resource for narrative of illness. Research & Humanities in Medical Education, 5, 44-49. Retrieved from https://www.rhime.in/ojs/index.php/rhime/article/view/185
Section
Narrative Medicine