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Description

Using the document provided, based on the book

The Love One by Evelyn Waugh

write a 1-2 page report using a standard essay format. Using the description of the book provided, apply a specific theory of aging (Disengagement Theory, Activity Theory, Continuity Theory, Subculture Theory, Modernization Theory, Age Stratification Theory, Age Integration Theory, Conflict Theory, Symbolic Interaction Theory, Feminist Theories) covered in class discussions, the textbook, and/or the additional readings.

You must provide specific examples from the book when discussing the theory.

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The Loved One is the 1948 satirical novella written by famed British author Evelyn Waugh. Set
in 1940s Hollywood, the story revolves around the macabre exploits of British poet-cumscreenwriter Dennis Barlow. After losing his studio contract, Dennis careens back and forth
between his job at Happier Hunting Ground pet cemetery and the Whispering Glades funeral
home, tending the corpses of both humans and animals. Upon courting a female cosmetician
named Aimee Thanatogenos, Dennis becomes embroiled in a sordid love triangle with Aimee
and her distinguished employer, Mr. Joyboy. Loosely adapted into a feature film in 1965, The
Loved One is a mordant satire on British expatriation, the pomp and pretense of the Hollywood
film industry, and the cruel commercialism of the American funerary business.
Narrated in the third-person dramatic POV, the story commences in Hollywood, California. Posh
British thespian Sir Ambrose Abercrombie visits the house of Dennis Barlow and his publicist
roommate Francis Hinsley. Dennis, a British emigrant and poet-cum-screenwriter, has just been
relieved of his contract at Megalopolitan Studios. Dennis has since taken a position at Happier
Hunting Grounds, a cemetery and funeral parlor for deceased pets. Abercrombie expresses his
dismay, declaring such a job reflects poorly on the British community back home. Undeterred,
Dennis gets a call from a Ms. Heinkel, soliciting his services for her dead dog Arthur. Dennis
arrives at Ms. Heinkel’s place, negotiates the funeral arrangements, and stores Arthur’s corpse
back at Happier Hunting Grounds.
Weeks after, Hinsley continues to struggle at Megalopolitan Studios. Tasked with reimaging the
visage of screen idol Juanita del Pablo from “Spanish to Irish,” the job proves too difficult for
Hinsley. The studio forces him to leave the premises and work from home. When his secretary
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stops showing up for work, Hinsley confronts studio brass. He learns his contract has been
terminated and that a younger publicist has replaced him. Hinsley grows deeply depressed and
hangs himself.
When Dennis discovers Hinsley’s corpse, Abercrombie advises him to make funeral
arrangements at Whispering Glades. Abercrombie, ever-obsessed with maintaining an upscale
English reputation, discusses with fellow British expats about Dennis ’scurrilous choice to
eschew Hollywood for the cemetery.
While at Whispering Glades, Dennis greets and becomes instantly infatuated with the junior
cosmetician, Aimee Thanatogenos (Aimee means “loved one” in French and Thanatogenos
means “born of death” in Greek). Dennis and Aimee discuss how Hinsley ought to be made up
for his funeral. Afterwards, Aimee expresses her adoration for Mr. Joyboy, the chief mortician
and cosmetician at Whispering Glades. Hearing this, Dennis declines a further tour of the
mortuary.
At Happier Hunting Grounds, Dennis asks his employer Mr. Schultz for three days off to prepare
for Hinsley’s funeral. Schultz reluctantly agrees. Arranging the funeral, Abercrombie meets with
Dennis and asks him to select meaningful literary works of Hinsley’s to recite in a eulogy.
Dennis finds an esoteric book review and passes it to Abercrombie. Dennis gives a scandalous
ode to Hinsley, further sullying the English reputation. All the while, Joyboy is preparing the
body of Hinsley at Whispering Glades. He shows his work to Aimee, who beams with
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compliments. Joyboy’s trademark smile kneaded into the face of his corpses is once again on
display with Hinsley.
Six weeks on, torn between her affection for Dennis and Joyboy, Aimee writes to advice
columnist Guru Brahmin asking what to do. Aimee’s previously held romantic feelings for
Joyboy start to diminish when she meets his overbearing mother. Also, Dennis begins wooing
Aimee by sending her plagiarized poetry from literary decedents, the origins of which remain
unbeknownst to her. Aimee is further bemused when Joyboy informs her that she has been
groomed to be the first female embalmer at Whispering Glades.
The same day that Aimee meets Joyboy’s mother for dinner, she also attends a daytime date with
Dennis. Dennis proposes marriage during their date, but when Aimee learns the proposal is in
part based on the earning power of her potential raise at Whispering Glades, she becomes irate.
Torn, Aimee asks for more advice from Guru Brahmin. It turns out Guru Brahmin are actually
three separate people: a secretary, a columnist, and an alcoholic advice writer named Mr. Slump.
After consideration, Mr. Slump implores Aimee to choose Joyboy over Dennis. Aimee opts to
wed Dennis instead.
Dennis asks for a raise, gets denied, and then speaks with a minister at a pet funeral service. In
realizing the ministry is far more lucrative than his work at the mortuary, Dennis tells Aimee his
intention of becoming a nondenominational pastor. Still unaware that Dennis works at Happier
Hunting Grounds, Aimee informs Guru Brahmin and Joyboy that she has decided to marry
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Dennis after all. Joyboy is distraught over the decision, while Guru Brahmin deigns a
congratulatory blessing.
Joyboy soon discovers Dennis ’poetic ruse when Aimee leaves a poem out for her employer to
read. Joyboy also visits Happier Hunting Grounds to arrange for the funeral of his mother’s dead
parrot. While there, Joyboy discovers Dennis is an employee. Knowing this information will
devastate Aimee, Joyboy invites her to attend the funeral for his mother’s parrot.
Upon learning of Dennis ’deceit, Aimee ends their engagement. Dennis tries to win Aimee back,
to no avail. Aimee seeks solace from Joyboy, but he’s too busy entertaining his mother’s new
parrot. Aimee then seeks advice from Mr. Slump, who she learns has been fired. Still, he
drunkenly berates Aimee. She then swallows a bottle of barbiturates. At work the next day,
Aimee injects herself with embalming fluid and dies.
Joyboy finds Aimee’s corpse and takes her to Happier Hunting Grounds for Dennis ’help. Dennis
assures Joyboy that he will take care of it. Abercrombie shows up, paying Dennis to return to
England rather than stay and besmirch the British community by becoming a pastor. The novella
ends with everyone in town thinking Dennis and Aimee ran off to England together. In reality,
Dennis sits back with a book and waits for Aimee’s body to incinerate.
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It seems that the novel doesn’t have at least one character whose behavior is not rather
questionable. They are either vain or cynical or simply too irritatingly sensitive to every little
thing. It is extremely interesting how the author covers a theme of human vanity with the help of
Whispering Glades. What is death? It is ending of one’s life. If the dead person has relatives and
friends, he/she will be grieved for. That is it, a natural – though very sad – thing. What do the
creator and workers of Whispering Glades do? They make a travesty out of it! They give corpses
“the radiant childhood” smiles, make them look unrecognizably, put too much makeup on them,
and dress them up. A dead person gets buried under fakery. The funniest thing is that Whispering
Glades are a perfect place but not for dead ones. This is where so called “waiting ones” can
entertain themselves.
It would be rather unrealistic to implement a classic love line in this novel, so the writer resolves
to a comedy. Poor Aimee has to choose between being unethical and unhappy or being unhappy
but staying ethical. This is an issue that drains all strength from her, for she simply can’t make up
her mind and end the drama she created. On the one hand, there is Dennis Barlow. On the other
hand, there is Mr. Joyboy. Dennis is everything that the young woman believes to be unethical
and cynical. Though he is a poet, the man can be rather crude and unpredictable, thus Aimee
doesn’t know what to expect. What is more, she doesn’t understand his dark sense of humor. Of
course, Mr. Joyboy is nothing like his opponent. He is a perfect young man and would do
everything possible to please. The problem is that the only one person he is afraid of
disappointing is his mother. Hoping to get a clear instruction what to do and whom to choose,
Aimee simply loses herself.

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