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The Terminal Illness of the Main Character

Discuss about the Dying Stages of Life for Last Cab to Darwin.

This movie revolves around taxi driver Rex, an adult person who spends most of his nights drinking alcohol with his friends. He also spends his morning drinking coffee with Polly, his closest aboriginal neighbor with whom he is secretly in love with for long. He was born and raised in Broken Hill, a small town (Bramstedt, 2015). Most of the nights he drinks with a group of close companions John Howard, and David Field occasionally until the late night after which he staggers back home to his cottage house. Rex is known and loved by everybody loves from the Castle. However, Rex discovers that he has terminal stomach cancer and has only a few months to live but does not want to spend those last days of his life in hospital. He is faced with a dilemma on what best he can do to live to the bitter end. His family and friendship relations and taxi driving job are what he has to consider to make a decision on his ageing or dying stages of his lifespan. Several factors including sociocultural perspectives influence development stages of life and play a big role in the psychological well-being and cognitive reasoning of an individual faced with situations (KnigHT, 2016). This paper seeks to identify and describe significant events in his dying stages of his life and the effect of the events on his 

When Rex learns from his doctors that he has terminal cancer at an end stage, his world seems to have come to an end. His timing, gasping with pain, dry as dust in comedy, observing and growing in the last few weeks of his life formed the movie in which his characters are depicted through his dying stages of the terminal illness (Armitage, 2016). The last thing he wants is to spend his last days in a hospital. He is a hardworking taxi driver who tells himself he must continue driving his last cap to the end regardless of his condition. He could only cling to such hopes owing to the eminent death shortly. Rex lived alone with his dog who together with his friends at the club, and friendly neighbors are his only source of strength. He feels his world has fallen apart. Even though he hides his true inner feelings through his fun, good friendships, and had worked as a taxi operator, he has no inner peace. He is psychologically affected by his terminal condition (Burkman, 2016). His terminal cancer condition has placed in at a dying development stage in life, and he, therefore, has to face the problem head on or get overwhelmed and decide to hang his boots and surrendered to the disease. As a man and Rex needs to have a cognitive reasoning capability and prevent himself from psychological torture associated with the reality of dying in few weeks (Cribb, 2002).

Deciding on Euthanasia

Rex has heard on the radio about a Darwin doctor, Nicole Farme, discussing the need for a right-to-die legislation which has been legalized at the Northern Territory. The doctor has developed a device that assists patients to die in a humane manner without being subjected to lots of pain or being overwhelmed by the disease (Maizels, 2016). After hearing that the Northern Territory has altered its laws that now allows euthanasia, and since he has a deep fear of hospitals, Rex thinks of going to the Northern Territory to have himself Euthanized. He has to make a decision at his dying stages of life to continue being with his friends and driving a taxi to the end of his life including going to a hospital when overwhelmed or volunteering to Dr. Farme’s tests of euthanasia to end his life.

Rex has spent all his life in the small town of Broken Hill without moving to any place but now contemplates travelling to another location to meet the doctor.  Rex complains to his neighbour and longtime seasoned lover that he has a problem and cannot keep his food down despite previously being seen alone at home having a drink while dancing to vinyl records, munching on the spam sandwich. Rex makes a phone call to DR. Forme and decides to go to “Darwin” in the Northern Territory. He tells himself he cannot wait, there is no fuss and plans to travel 3000 Km from the next day without telling even Polly. This decision is a hard one for him and the people who love him as well particularly Polly who loves him a lot and his cubing friends (Byrne, 2016). Rex needs to consider the emotional impact on the hearts of the people he loves and those who love him as well. The psychological effects of his conditions make him feel lonely as a bird being rained on with nothing else to do other than cling tightly on an electricity pole ready for whatever outcome.

The following morning, he tells Polly his decision. She is outraged at him as she thinks her decisions are barely considered by the person she dearly loves. Rex is however determined regardless of advice to convince him to stay even though he has never left Broken Hill. He has to face new experiences of a new environmental challenge, as he plans to get out of town with only one critical mission, to die just through a button pressing on a euthanasia machine with the help of Dr Forme, a euthanasia advocate in Darwin, Northern Australian Territory. This decision is based on his inner feeling of being overwhelmed, lonely and the psychological torture of the fact that he is dying, yet he does not want to die in a hospital (Thompson, 2015). He thinks dying through euthanasia would be more dignified than at the hospital feeling overwhelmed.

The Trip to Darwin

In spite of pleas from his longtime neighbour and lover, he takes matters into his hands and quietly embarks on a road journey to meet the doctor who was willing to perform on him a euthanasia procedure and finally control his demise in a dignified manner (Preece, 2016). The trip is along and drives many kilometres while stopping at different places on the way. At one stoppage, he meets a jovial indigenous tourist, Tilly who at first tries to steal from him. Soon afterwards, close ties between the two men develop.  Rex decides to pick him up and offer him lift to Oodnadatta after Tilly fixes his destroyed windscreen as a means of payment for his services.

Their journey together becomes adventurous, as Rex fights to make sense out of his life. His close friendship with Tilly and his experience with Polly and the clubbing friends makes him slowly realize that killing himself through euthanasia is not a simple affair (Kroenert, 2015). This realization transforms him from cranky old bugger to a calmer person with a feeling of what could important and joyous to him in his last days of a dying lifespan rather than taking his life. 

His adventure and realization of killing himself as not being easy as earlier thought he develops little signs of a strong ethical sense, humanity, a caring attitude to those he loves and those who love him as well, and the guts to face life to a bitter end regardless of what happens to him.  Furthermore, on arrival at the Darwin, Northern Territory. Dr Forme’s cautious delay forces give Rex some time to think over again on his decision concerning his life psychosocial effects of terminating his relationships, and whether he is making the right decision to take his life legally. This time allows him to contemplate retreating his decision as he starts asking himself what is important, as he makes his final decision (Blatchford, 2015).

The trip teaches him that before ending your life, one has to live it to the fullest.  Sharing with a friend and having good social connections psychological removes the burden of pain and brings happiness to an individual's life. The journey brings different themes into a person's life including the effects of social interactions. The themes of racism, dignity, Love, racism, and having an ideal friendship with a sense of humour as depicted in the movie permits a confrontation with the mortality associated with psychological effects of terminal chronic diseases like cancers or other causes.

Lessons Learned on the Journey

This story about a critical subject matter of handling dying stages of life with the main character feeling overwhelmed and opted to take his life by accepting euthanasia legally. The key events including strong social relations with his friends, family and the urge to keep a dignified and happy life coupled with humor made the ethical and moral message on euthanasia a success (Gilding, 2015). The issue of whether to legalize euthanasia was also a point of discussion following controversies surrounding its legality in Northern Territory following Dr Forme's radio presentation of his test cases as the law she uses is still in flux (Bramstedt, 2015). His weakness deterioration at the end of the film leaves as in suspense as to whether he finally agrees to die or decides to go back to fight for his life and be with the people his mate Polly and friends.

Conclusion

The characters of Rex in this movie helps in discussing controversial decisions at terminally ill or dying stages of life where an individual overwhelmed feels the need to terminate his or own life. Rex’s character in the movie provides an insight into the role played by love affairs, friendship, and community relations in decision making especially when so many souls are involved. One gets the feeling and a cognitive reasoning that life is not all about oneself, it is about sharing and being happy while fighting situations to the bitter end without giving up.

References

Bramstedt, K. A. (2015). Last Cab to Darwin.

Gilding, M. (2001). Changing families in Australia. Family Matters, (60), 6.

Blatchford, E. (2015). The boy from Broome. Inside Film: If, (165), 28.

Cribb, R. (2002). Last Cab to Darwin. Australian Script Centre.

Thompson, S. J. (2015). On the rough road away from loneliness. News Weekly, (2956), 19.

Kroenert, T. (2015). A euthanasia parable in the outback. Eureka Street, 25(15), 39.

Preece, G. (2016). A culture of choice and the expansion of Euthanasia. Zadok Perspectives, (131), 20.

Byrne, M. (2016). The Outback Within Journeys into the Australian Interior. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Maizels, N. (2016). Beginning at the end. Arena Magazine (Fitzroy, Vic), (143), 49.

Burkman, K. H. (2016). The Drama of the Double. In The Drama of the Double (pp. 1-29). Palgrave Macmillan US.

KnigHT, C. (2017). 1 The History of Psychometrics. Psychometric Testing: Critical Perspectives, 1.

Armitage, A. (2016). Gauguin, Darwin, & Design Thinking: A Solution to the Impasse between Innovation & Regulation.

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