Death Be Not Proud


The novel, " Death Be Not Proud", by John Gunther, is the
story of the struggle of a child to stay alive. Johnny
Gunther Jr.'s constant hope, got him out of bed every
morning with a positive attitude. His outright opposition
to the fact that he was going to die and his determination
not to, kept a fiery spirit in him so that he didn't give
up. Johnny's stubborn determination to not accept defeat at
so early an age, along with the tremendous courage he
showed when realizing that he must accept his defeat, is a
strong point portrayed in this novel. Johnny's hope,
determination, and courage kept his death at bay.
One of the main reasons that Johnny remained alive for so
much longer than he should have lived, was the hope that he
possessed. He hoped every day of his illness that he would
get better, that his parents would be spared their grief,
or that some doctor would come up with a revolutionary idea
that would heal him. Because of his hope, Johnny never
complained or protested during the entire course of his
illness. He always obeyed the doctors' wishes and followed
their instructions to a "T" because he wanted so
desperately to get well. 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.
Each day, until his last, the determination Johnny had to
get well, live a normal life, and even maintain his
schoolwork was phenomenal. After being away from school
for sixteen months, being tested constantly by doctors, and
having a rapidly deteriorating brain, Johnny still managed
to graduate with his class and be accepted into Harvard.
Throughout his illness, Johnny always had an unwavering
will to survive, to awake the next morning and find that he
was well, that he had only been dreaming the nightmare of
his illness. When Johnny awoke each morning however, he
felt the bandage on his head and realized that he was
living this horrific nightmare. But even through this
tremendous disappointment, Johnny kept fighting, determined
to recuperate. Johnny should be admired for not giving up
under the intense emotional burden of knowing that each
breath may be his last.
Johnny's story is one that will be remembered because of
the courage he had. If he had had any fears of death, they
were unknown because of his consideration for others and
not wanting to burden others with his troubles. One can
only imagine what it must have been like to lie awake at
night alone in a hospital room, wondering what it is like
to die and to awaken the next morning, shed all questions
and fears of the night before, and cheerfully greet those
around you. Johnny's inner struggle and turmoil was
something that no one knows nor will ever know. Throughout
his many medical treatments and moments of pain, Johnny was
always strong and brave. He always smiled and hung in there
fighting. Even with his final unconscious breath, there was
still animation in him, he was still determined to live.
Thankfully he died with a smile on his lips, without pain,
with dignity, and with courage and strength to face the
next world he would enter.
Johnny's gallant fight for life, against the most hopeless
odds, should convey a message to anyone who has ever been
ill. Through a child's hope, determination and courage when
about to die, a for of a hero is made. Johnny's manner in
facing the awful reality of dying is something that is
looked up to by all and we should all strive to achieve
this manner. Johnny Gunther accepted his fate to die and
not live his life to the fullest with complete acceptance,
if not full understanding. By the story of his life and
death, we are in awe of how one so young could have
achieved an attitude that most people will never reach.

Quotes: Search by Author