At their base use, obituaries are a tool that notify society about someone’s death. Beyond that, they serve as a tool that we use to gauge the way we remember people and history. From the extrapolation of these pieces, a few things are abundantly clear: Obituaries are a genre of writing. It employs its own unique characteristics, has multiple sub-genres, and directly reflects society at the time and place in which it was written. (13) Additionally, obituaries are a tool for historical research. Beyond what they say about the subject, they are full of information regarding a society and its systems at a point time. Finally, They serve multiple purposes. Obituaries can act as a death notice for a public figure in one breath, and a form of propaganda in the next. As a result of this, these pieces are individually perceived and can be used as more than a simple record of someone’s passing.
Overall, obituaries are an essential element of our societal dialogue, shaping how we view our history and those who have contributed to it. They can also help us better understand the cultural norms and values of a particular era, as well as the role of language and media in shaping public perceptions. Whether viewed as a literary genre, a historical artifact, or a tool for shaping public opinion, obituaries continue to play a vital role in our society and provide a valuable lens through which we can examine our past, present, and future.