“Leave Taking” and Heidegger

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Abstract

“Leave Taking” is a short story about an elderly woman’s reflections on the meaning of her life as she experiences its final hours. She considers the growing distance between her pragmatic husband Willy and herself while she spends time in her garden, contentedly digging in the soil, enjoying her roses along with her connection to all of nature. Her death comes upon her suddenly yet naturally. The story is followed by a series of confrontations with key concepts from the works of Martin Heidegger that are used to further explore themes introduced in the story. His thoughts on the essential nature of thinking as thanking are considered, along with his analysis of time and being, the fourfold, and his belief that life is a gift that we should learn to embrace rather than to reject.

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