Student or Learner
Whether through fear of the emotional depths or because of a drying up of the sluices of religious intensity, the American avoids dwelling on death or even coming to terms with it: he finds it morbid and recoils from it, surrounding it with word avoidance (Americans never die, but "pass away") and various taboos of speech and practice. A "funeral parlor" is decorated to look like a bank; everything in a funeral ceremony is done in hushed tones, as if it were something furtive, to be concealed from the world; there is so much emphasis on being dignified that the ceremony often loses its quality of dignity.
What does the underlined sentence mean?
Thanks for your help!
I have no idea. I have never confused a funeral parlor with a bank. And I don't know how you can put so much emphasis on dignity that you lose your dignity.
The author seems to have lost his ability to find the proper words. You could lose many facets of the contemplation of death by over-emphasizing proper protocol and decorum, but "dignity" is not one of them.