Experimental Criticism / Losing a Child: A Game of Unwinnables / Yoojung Chun

Illustration by Fran_kie

This cluster on “experimental criticism” grew out of a graduate seminar on this topic that took place at Harvard in the fall of 2021. All the essay contributions to the cluster bear some relation to the course, whether as revisions to participants’ final projects or as pursuits of experimental practices explored and initiated there. To register the collaborative pedagogic origins of this project, in lieu of a typical introduction, we have provided an annotated syllabus, with snapshots of participants’ reflections on the semester’s readings and discussions footnoted at the bottom of the page. You are invited to click on any of the numbered footnotes scattered throughout the syllabus to jump to a specific annotation. In addition to offering a window into our individual responses to the course readings, we hope that the annotations provide you with a collective context for the essays to follow.

Within the cluster, you will find experimentation that takes many forms: Yoojung Chun’s choose-your-own-adventure rumination on the constancy of parental grief, as depicted by the intersections between the art video game “That Dragon, Cancer” and the 14-century Middle English poem Pearl; Marie Ungar’s investigation of the category of “cringe,” what it might look like if Susan Sontag and Erving Goffman joined forces; Elinor Hitt’s encounter with the “kinesthetic empathy” inspired by the choreography of Blondell Cummings; William Martin’s essay/fiction hybrid, describing a senior named Dexter’s spectral encounter with the wisdom of Charles Waddell Chesnutt in his university’s archive; Harry Hall’s poignant parody of academese, presented in the form of a futuristic academic lecture on the film Call Me By Your Name, in a 2052 edited volume; Sam Bozoukov’s paratactic account of learning to listen to literature—and to life’s unpredictable lessons—through Milton. Accompanying our cluster as a special feature is a questionnaire that was sent to several of the leading author-critics on our syllabus, requesting their thoughts on the status of disciplinary experiment today. The responses we received, from Charles Bernstein, Samuel R Delany, Wai Chee Dimock, Eric Hayot, Emily Ogden, and Paul Saint-Amour, are a trove of useful references, reflections, examples, and qualifications.

—Beth Blum

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  1. You are a father. Choose your child.
    a) Joel Green, a blond two-year old boy born in 2009 diagnosed with an Atypical Rhabdoid Tumor. (Go to 2)
    b) Pearl,1 a girl, or maybe a boy2 under two years of age3, perhaps named either Margaret or Margery4, born in mid-14th century, potentially suffering from the bubonic plague5. (Go to 3)

2. That Dragon, Cancer

You are sitting in a doctor’s office. Joel and your wife, Amy, are sitting on the orange sofa. The nurse and the doctor sit across from you. Joel is giggling, unaware of the heavy air in the room. He points at a Spin and Say toy with a spinning dial, decorated with pictures of animals. You click the lever. The dial spins and stops at a picture of a cow, and a mechanical sound of mooing issues from the cheap plastic speaker. Joel giggles and claps. You look up and spot the doctor across from you, his expression inscrutable behind his foggy, poorly made glasses. “I’m sorry, It’s not good,” the doctor says. You turn your mouse wheel down and realize that the pictures on the spinning dial are all replaced with people’s faces. One of them is the doctor’s. “Any recurrence means that chemotherapy has failed. This is a tragedy.” The doctor’s voice drones on in the background. Water begins to fill the room, climbing the walls. The murky waves begin to cover your feet, then your knees, then the orange sofa. You click the lever, turn the dial. Doctor’s voice repeats the news in a higher pitch. The waters climb up, flooding the office. You click the lever, turn the dial. The doctor’s voice repeats the words—”I’m sorry, it’s not good;” he is a broken record. The water is up to your chin. The world breaks into a storm. Your clicking merely replays the voice. It merely makes things worse.6

a) This feels like a dream. (Go to 4)
b) This feels like a video game. (Go to 5)
c) This is neither. This is terminal cancer. (Go to 6)

  1. Pearl

You are inside a garden of gillyflower, ginger, gromwell and peonies. Here is where your pearl lies, your precious pearl “wythouten spot”7. Seized by grief, you fall on the mound, mourning, and fall asleep in deep anguish. You wake up and find yourself inside a vision of paradise, in which a maiden in a dazzling white dress appears before you. This is Pearl-maiden, your child in a divine form, decorated in pearls. Delighted in seeing her again, you seek to dwell with her—but the Pearl-maiden refuses, and begins to show paradise to you, discoursing with you on the nature of salvation and persuading you to quell your anxiety about the fate of her soul, and to not be too grieved by her loss in the lesser, earthly realm.

a) Is this a dream? (Go to 4)
b) Is this a video game? (Go to 5)

  1. Dream Visions

Medieval dream-visions  are an important genre of visionary and devotional literature of the period. The Avicennian model of the imagination figured it as a space between the divine and the mortal—”essential but unreliable, imagination is thus figure and symptom of the miseria condicionis humanae, the wretchedness of being human.”8 Medieval theories of the mind stipulated that a part of the human head, cellulae mantis, is responsible for production of visions or “phantasms”, and that this part of the mind was privileged with the ability to access direct communication from divine powers. This divine capacity also ironically made this organ particularly vulnerable to demonic influences. This anxiety about diabolical intervention pervades almost all visionary texts of the period, from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (1308~1320) to The Book of Margery Kempe. (c.1440) Indeed, this anxiety fuels a whole “discernment of spirits” tradition9 of suspecting seemingly holy visions. The period is rife with treatises published by church authorities instructing clergy on how to distinguish between demonic and divine visions. Visions had the potential to communicate the highest truths, and also the potential to be utterly corrupt.

The Greens’ video game memoir That Dragon Cancer, which meditates on the loss of their son Joel, is laced with the same visionary anxiety. As the doctor pronounces the damning prognosis, the office begins flooding with water. White subtitles roll out on the screen as the flooding continues, narrating the desperate thoughts of Ryan Green during this painful moment. He observes that with this fatal prognosis, they have departed the realm of science and must cling to the realm of hope, of religion.

“Hope is for something someone else has to do for us. And when doctors can’t…invisible Jesus must.” The white subtitle gleams on the screen depicting the bleak faces of doctors. This has the effect of inviting the divine into the space of the terminal prognosis, literally rendering visible the “invisible Jesus” in textual form. The visionary mode allows for this visibility of the invisible, but we do not know if visions allow us to see beyond or beneath reality. They may be the voice of God entering your brain—or they might just be, well, your brain.

In the penultimate chapter of the video game, the scene of Joel’s death is set in a chapel, as opposed to a hospital bed, where it took place. This setting visually reimagines Joel’s death not as a failure of secular medicine but as a religious triumph, as a Christian rebirth. It spatially reorients the “hope” the Greens envisioned earlier in the doctor’s office by replacing the hospital with a church.

 The scene in many ways encapsulates the medieval idea of phantasm, often defined as a recombinative imagination that amalgamates different aspects of reality, such as Dante’s figure of the Geryon,10 with a human face and a serpent’s body. The scene of Joel’s death is recombinatively imagined by putting together a 3D-rendered church-scape with the audio files of the clamoring prayers of the Greens recorded on the last night of Joel’s life. This recombinant vision creates a kind of re-death, as replayable as the doctor’s prognosis encoded in the Spin and Say toy from an earlier scene. This performs two important functions: firstly, it recombines the reality and makes a more hopeful interpretation of Joel’s death through the transformative affordance of the visionary mode, keeping him alive within the game and gesturing towards heavenly salvation. Art that fuses past and present is visionary in this effect, just as Margery Kempe, a 15th century mystic, fainted at the sight of the Pietà, afflicted by the pain of Christ. A priest tells her ” Damsel, Jhesu is ded long sithyn.’ Margery replies,  “Sir, hys deth is a fresch to me as he had deyd this same day”11. Like the Pietà, the video game provides a different visionary mode of viewing Joel’s departure from this world.

Secondly, this scene arrests the moment of Joel’s life and makes it temporally current by mapping it onto a visionary space that can coexist in the material world contemporaneously. Whenever a player reaches this scene, the audio from Joel’s final night would be experienced as current by various players. The visionary space archives and makes current a moment of loss.

a) BEAUTIFUL. I choose to think that we can build a temple of visions and make meaning out of loss. (Go to 7)
b)HEARTBREAKING. I choose to think that our minds hallucinate in the face of great loss, to protect ourselves from the painful reality. (Go to 8)

  1. Ludonarrative

The ludic mode of videogames interrogates our notions of agency. Games, after all, are about choices – choices made in someone else’s shoes, an alien agent. Freed from physical and often moral restrictions, many players engage in video games precisely because they expand their agency. Grand Theft Auto provided the thrill of shooting down military helicopters and stealing Porsches. Skyrim gave its players an entire fantasy world to explore. However, Ryan Green’s video game memoir, That Dragon, Cancer, goes the opposite direction; the game limits the agency of the players.

Green, in an interview, describes a day when he could not calm his son, suffering from terminal cancer, no matter what he did. “There’s a process you develop as a parent to keep your child from crying, and that night I couldn’t calm Joel,” Green says. “It made me think, ‘This is like a game where the mechanics are subverted and don’t work.”12

The scene is featured in the game, where the player can employ various methods to calm Joel yet every action works to intensify the nerve-wracking soundbite of Joel’s heart-wrenching wail. While waiting it out is the only way to progress in the game, there is one way to halt the crying temporarily, and that is to click the window and exit the hospital room, abandoning Green’s perspective and occupying, instead, a brief omniscience by looking in from outside of the hospital window. This change of perspective is achieved in-game only by physically escaping the soundscape through abandoning the role of the father and detaching the player from Green’s narrative perspective.

C. Thi Nguyen, in his theory of video game agency, states that: “In aesthetic striving play, we alternate between two very different states of mind. First, we take on the narrowed, practical, focused mode of the in-game agency. Second, we need to step back, to evaluate the experience of narrowed agency in aesthetic terms….When we switch between the narrowed mode and the aesthetic mode, we take a step back from value clarity, to ask questions of value from a subtler perspective.”13 The ludic mode here helps us to achieve the “central task in grieving” which is to “redefine” the “relationship between the grieving persona and the loss-object.”14 The switching of agency enabled in the game mode allows us to alternate between the role of the father and the observer, between the soundscape of Joel’s present suffering and a silent space outside the window that projects into the future loss, in which Joel will be no more, his suffering will be no more, and in which Green’s role as the father must be redefined.

The ludic mode is also at work in 14th century Middle English poem Pearl, when the dreamer, upon encountering his daughter in his vision, expresses his grief in having lost her. In the dialogue of concatenated verse, the Pearl-maiden tells him

Me thynk thee put in a mad porpose
And busyes thee about a raysoun bref.
For that thou lestes was bot a rose
That flowred and fayled as kynde hyt gef;
Now thurgh kynde of the kyste that hyt con close
To a perle of prys hit is put in pref.
And thou has called thy wyrde a thef
That oght of noght has mad thee cler.15[15]

By calling out his view as a “mad porpose” and by using an analogy between a rose and a pearl, the Pearl-maiden instructs the dreamer to construe her earthly death as an exchange of a mortal rose for an eternal pearl in heaven. This language of negotiation elevates the dreamer’s initial lament of loss and reframes it as a superior bargain, urging him to occupy a different perspective, to escape his former identity as Pearl maiden’s father and to inhabit a new identity as a fellow Christian soul. As the dreamer emerges “out of my dream”16, he achieves a moment of alien agency not unlike that of the window-exit in That Dragon, as he redefines his relationship with Pearl and is able to declare that he “sythen to God I hit bytaghte” (I left her amid God’s gleam)17.

a) FIND PEARL. (Go to 3)
c) SKIP TO THE END. (Go to 6)

  1. Terminality

Terminal cancer has stages. Games have stages. As anthropologist Abou Farman writes—himself nursing a terminally ill wife—”Terminality projects an absolute horizon that is close at hand but always shifting, usually moving toward you faster than expected.”18 That Dragon, Cancer, in its videogame format, captures this—unlike a material book, we cannot count the remaining pages to fathom how long we—or Joel—has left. The players progress from a scene to the next without knowing exactly when the end should arrive, only that it will.

Same goes for reading a medieval dream vision. We do not know when the visio, or the dream part of the text will end, and we will be thrusted back to the vita, or outside of the dreamscape. We experience an end poised somewhere in the direction of textual/visionary progression, but without knowing exactly when. In the Middle English poem Pearl, the reader progresses through different spaces, from the fragrant garden where Pearl is buried to the dreamscape of the terrestrial paradise to the New Jerusalem. New spaces are unlocked and a progression occurs as pedagogical goals are achieved. The dreamer starts by grieving the loss of his daughter, Pearl, then gradually understands her death through his dream encounter with the Pearl-maiden, accepting her new identity in heaven as the Bride of Christ. The dreamer finally attempts to swim through a stream dividing him from Pearl in New Jerusalem, and the reader must read on as his “swimming swiftly in frenzied assault”19 fails, and he awakes and finds himself back in the garden. The reader must follow the poem’s trajectory in the unwanted direction, completing the dream vision and, with that, coming to terms with the dreamer’s loss.

In That Dragon, we also see Ryan Green drowning in the flood created by the news of Joel’s terminality. He is deep in water, and no clicking and scrolling can fish him out. The only way to progress is to make Green, counterintuitively, swim downwards and deeper into the water.

In both visions, we are not given choices between winning and losing, between life and death. We are given a choice between stopping and progressing, even though the only progression is in the opposite direction to where we want to go. Such is the limited agency we exercise in the face of terminality: to accept it or refuse. Neither is to win.

Terminal things end, so here is an end.

a) GO BACK TO 1.
b) GO BACK TO 1.
c) GO BACK TO 1. The only way to progress is down. You may go up, but you’ll have to come down again.

  1. Architecture of Heaven

That Dragon is an archive of Joel, including 3-D rendered images of his motions and the sound of his laughter recorded before his death. Yet the vision of That Dragon does more than archive the empirical—it imagines a future Joel didn’t have. In the final vignette of the game, titled “Picnic at the Edge of the World”, we see Joel happily clapping and chatting on a green meadow, surrounded by larger-than-life stacks of pancakes and accompanied by his beloved dog. We see Joel fluently talking about his likes and dislikes—this is important because we were told in the first chapter of the game that due to his brain tumor, Joel was not able to develop language beyond a handful of words. By showing us a developmental stage beyond what Joel had the time and capacity to reach, the game works as a visionary space to stage futurity that didn’t materialize.

Seeta Chaganti argues that the material, manuscript text of the medieval poem Pearl, also about the loss of a child, similarly performs a “poetics of enshrinement,” as it is an “artefact of ink and vellum” that implicates the material text “in the formation of the dream as a visually apprehended event.”20 The accompanying hand-painted illustrations visualizes the dream vision, helping to reimagine the child not as she was in life but as she would be in heaven, as a fully grown and glorified figure of the pearl-maiden as opposed to a two-year old. The text is an architectural artifact, comprised of 1212 lines in 12-line stanzas, numerically mirroring the Revelations’ account of heaven as being “twelve thousand furlongs long, high and deep”21—embodying a textual heaven for Pearl.

So much of parental loss is also future grief, the anticipatory losses for a child that will never grow up. These archived visions of alternative futures in which developmental steps unfulfilled in life are fulfilled in the next world help to realize—in its starkly visual, if not empirically accessible forms—the temporally bound earthly potential of the children. The heaven-scape, then, is not only spatial. It is also temporal.

a) If you’ve been playing for less than 15 minutes, GO TO 5.
If you’ve been playing for more than 15 minutes, GO TO 8.

  1. Grief

Freud, in his essay “Mourning and Melancholia,” observes that “the revolt against the loss of the loved object can be so intense that a turning away from reality takes place, a clinging to the object through the medium of a hallucinatory wishful psychosis.”22 Visions may be what bridge the bereaved subject and the lost object.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross outlines five stages of grief, stages which scholar Karen A. Sylvia maps throughout the Pearl poem, concluding that “the Dreamer has failed to finish the grieving process.”23 In fact, more recent models of bereavement are interested in seeing grief as a non-liner, often cyclical or disjointed process.24 We don’t have to progress in one set fashion, so long as the overall arc is one of recovery. But what do these journeys, from doctor’s office to a drowning river to a church full of wailing, or a journey from a garden with trees of spices to a terrestrial paradise to a vision of the pearly gates, achieve, if not progression? Well, the visionary journeys let us read and re-read some words differently, helping us revisit the same language in a different state of mind, mirroring the repetitive yet progressive waves back and forth that grief often embodies.

Pearl begins with a line “Perle, plesaunte to prynces paye (1)” and ends with the line “And precious perles unto His pay. Amen Amen” (1212). At the beginning of the poem, Pearl is a single child lost, whose value is measured by the earthly judgments of princes. However, by the end of the poem, Pearl is no longer a symbol purely for the lost child, but for all Christians, as the speaker’s personal loss is exchanged for a greater idea of salvation. This is most notable in the shift in plural and singular nouns in the two lines; in the first line, the “prynces” are plural while the “Perle” is singular. Conversely, in line 1211 there are “perles” for “His pay,” “His” here indicating the singular princely figure of Christ. The speaker’s obsessive sorrow at what he thought was a singular gem is alleviated by his realization that true gems are immaterial and multiple, while his earthbound worldview of earthly “prynces” is subjugated to worship of the singular and absolute “prynce.” Through the vision of the pearly gates, symbolizing the multitude of saved souls, the dreamer transcends his loss of Pearl. The word “Pearl” transforms its allegorical and symbolic meaning.

In That Dragon, a similar re-reading takes place. Parodying the arcade convention, one scene depicts Joel as a baby-knight warding off the dragon symbolizing cancer, with the voiceover of the Greens explaining God’s grace protecting Joel. A white-winged bird figure swoops in to save Joel, symbolizing grace. As the arcade battle progresses, although the player can control the mechanics to duck flames and jump across crevices, the only way to progress is to let the dragon win. Amy Green’s voice reappears at that moment, explaining why some still die from cancer despite grace: “It may have seemed like the dragon won because Tim died but we know that Tim’s in heaven and that he’s with God…..So maybe for Tim getting to be done fighting was grace.”

Grace then reappears, this time not as a game-breaking deus ex machina that helps Joel’s fight, but as a ray of light from the top stage of the game map that takes his supine figure away after his defeat by the dragon. The vision redefines the Greens’ interpretation of grace, the way Pearl redefines “pearl”.

GO TO 9.

  1. Resonant Reading

What is the point of interactivity when the outcome is the same? What is the point of reading resonantly two texts that were produced 600 years apart? What lessons can we garner from critical fragments on two drastically different visionary texts centered on losses?

What do we learn from an exercise in helplessness as we jump from one hopeless narrative to another, oscillating between two scenarios of greatly limited agency? What do we learn about stages of grief, stages of cancer, stages of reading and stages of play except that these are, in their different ways, flimsily non-linear experiences with limited agency, like reading a rudimentary essay modeled after a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure format?

Only that you don’t choose your adventures. You don’t choose the whys (Cancer? Plague? Old Age? A car accident?) and whos (Pearl? Joel? Your child? Not your child?) and whens (Now, later? How long?) and wheres (In a hospital? In a garden? Here?) of your adventures—they are all laid out, like a dream or a book or a game screen.

You only choose to progress, or to stop.

I want to go back. (Go to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8).
I want to progress. (Go to 10.)


Thank you for playing.

Don’t read on after the credits. That’s a rule.



American Bible Society. Holy Bible : Containing the Old and New Testaments : King James Version. New York, American Bible Society, 2010.

Andrew, Malcolm and Ronald Waldron, The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, A Prose Translation. Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 2007.

Beal, Jane, and Mark Bradshaw Busbee. Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl. New York, The Modern Language Association Of America, 2018.

Breeze, Andrew. “David K. Coley. Death and the Pearl Maiden: Plague, Poetry, England.” The Review of English Studies, vol. 70, no. 297, 20 June 2019, pp. 957–959.

Chaganti, Seeta. Medieval Poetics of the Reliquary : Enshrinement, Inscription, Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Earl, James W. “Saint Margaret and the Pearl Maiden.” Modern Philology, vol. 70, no. 1, Aug. 1972, pp. 1–8.

Farman, Abou. “Terminality.” Social Text, vol. 35, no. 2 131, June 2017, pp. 93–118.

Freud, Sigmund. “Mourning and Melancholia.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, vol. 56, no. 5, Nov. 1922, pp. 543–545.

Hallenbeck, James L. Palliative Care Perspectives. Oxford University Press, 2022.

Kempe, Margery. The Book of Margery Kempe. Edited by B.A. Windeatt, Penguin, 1994.

Kowalik, Barbara Janina. “Was She a Boy? The Queer Maiden of the Middle English Pearl.” English Studies, vol. 101, no. 2, 7 Aug. 2019, pp. 112–133.

Liebovitz, Liel. God in the Machine: Video Games as Spiritual Pursuit, Templeton Press, 2015.

Markplier. “That Dragon, Cancer.”, 16 July 2016, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

Newman, Barbara. “What Did It Mean to Say ‘I Saw’? The Clash between Theory and Practice in Medieval Visionary Culture.” Speculum, vol. 80, no. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 1–43.

Nguyen, C. Thi. Games Agency as Art.  Oxford University Press, 2020.

Sylvia, Karen. “Living with Dying: Grief and Consolation in the Middle English Pearl“, Honors Projects Overview. 45, 2007.

Tanz, Jason. “A Father, a Dying Son, and the Quest to Make the Most Profound Videogame Ever.” WIRED, 5 Jan. 2016,

Vantuono, William. The Pearl Poem in Middle and Modern English. Lanham, University Press Of America, 1987.

Watson, Nicholas. “Desire for the Past.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer, vol. 21, no. 1, 1991, pp. 59–97.

Worthington, Ralph C. “Models of Linear and Cyclical Grief.” Clinical Pediatrics, vol. 33, no. 5, May 1994, pp. 297–300.

  1. God-games

Liel Liebovitz draws an interesting link between video-game theory and theology.

 “to be compelling, video games must unfold in a way that allows players to continue and believe that the decisions they make are their own, and that the game’s world, preordained as it is, nonetheless allows for expressions of their free will. Video games, in other words, depend much on the sentiment expressed by the Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva, in Pirkei Avot: “Everything is foreseen, and permission is granted.”

You are the father. You are the creator. You build a world of limited agency that allows for some freedom. You make rules. You hope for a player, a reader, to break the rules.

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This is part of the cluster Experimental Criticism. Read the other posts here.

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  1. Beal, Jane, and Mark Bradshaw Busbee. Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl. New York, The Modern Language Association Of America, 2018, p.10. Scholarship disagrees on the exact role of the pearl maiden. While the majority of scholars agree that the poem is about bereavement of a daughter, some have argued that it is for a godchild, a sister, or a lover.
  2. Kowalik, Barbara Janina. “Was She a Boy? The Queer Maiden of the Middle English Pearl.” English Studies, vol. 101, no. 2, 7 Aug. 2019, pp. 112–133.
  3. Beal, Jane, and Mark Bradshaw Busbee. Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl. New York, The Modern Language Association Of America, 2018, p.7.
  4. Earl, James W. “Saint Margaret and the Pearl Maiden.” Modern Philology, vol. 70, no. 1, Aug. 1972, pp. 1–8.
  5. Breeze, Andrew. “David K. Coley. Death and the Pearl Maiden: Plague, Poetry, England.” The Review of English Studies, vol. 70, no. 297, 20 June 2019, pp. 957–959.
  6. Markplier. “That Dragon, Cancer.”, 16 July 2016, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.
  7. Vantuono, William. The Pearl Poem in Middle and Modern English. Lanham, University Press Of America, 1987, p.4.
  8. Watson, Nicholas. “Desire for the Past.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer, vol. 21, no. 1, 1991, p.11.
  9. Newman, Barbara. “What Did It Mean to Say ‘I Saw’? The Clash between Theory and Practice in Medieval Visionary Culture.” Speculum, vol. 80, no. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 1–43.
  10. Watson, Nicholas. “Desire for the Past.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer, vol. 21, no. 1, 1991, p.20.
  11. Kempe, Margery. The Book of Margery Kempe. Edited by B.A. Windeatt, Penguin, 1994, p.286.
  12. Tanz, Jason. “A Father, a Dying Son, and the Quest to Make the Most Profound Videogame Ever.” WIRED, 5 Jan. 2016,
  13. Nguyen, C.Thi. Games Agency as Art. New York, Oxford University Press, 2020, p.216.
  14. Hallenbeck, James. Palliative Care Perspectives. Oxford University Press, 2022, p.136.
  15. Vantuono, William. The Pearl Poem in Middle and Modern English. University Press Of America, 1987, p.18.

    Modern English translation of the verse:

    But, courteous jeweller, if you are going to lose your joy for a gem that was dear to you, it seems to me that you are set on a mad purpose, and concern yourself on account of a transitory cause; for what you lost was only a rose that flowered and withered as nature allowed it; now, through the nature of the chest that encloses it, it is shown to be a precious pearl. And you have called [the Ruler of] your fate a thief, who has clearly made you something out of nothing; you blame the remedy for your misfortune; you are no proper jeweller. (from Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron, The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, A Prose Translation. University of Exeter Press, 2007, p. 6-7)

  16. Ibid, p.68.
  17. Ibid, pp. 70-71.
  18. Farman, Abou. “Terminality.” Social Text, vol. 35, no. 2 131, June 2017, pp. 93–118.
  19. Vantuono, William. The Pearl Poem in Middle and Modern English. University Press Of America, 1987, p.69.
  20. Chaganti, Seeta. Medieval Poetics of the Reliquary : Enshrinement, Inscription, Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, p.95.
  21. Revelation 21:16, American Bible Society. Holy Bible : Containing the Old and New Testaments : King James Version. New York, American Bible Society, 2010.
  22. Freud, Sigmund. “Mourning and Melancholia.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, vol. 56, no. 5, Nov. 1922, pp. 543–545.
  23. Sylvia, Karen. “Living with Dying: Grief and Consolation in the Middle English Pearl”, Honors Projects Overview. 45, 2007.
  24. Worthington, Ralph C. “Models of Linear and Cyclical Grief.” Clinical Pediatrics, vol. 33, no. 5, May 1994, pp. 297–300.