The film Girl, Interrupted focused on an eighteen year old girl by the name Susanna that was admitted into a private mental hospital after being accused of a suicidal attempt. The movie follows Susanna on her journey in the institution as she encounters women with different admittance stories. The one who intrigues Susanna the most is Lisa. Lisa is thought to be a sociopath with the way she manipulates those around her to get her way. She is constantly in and out of the institution causing those around to fear, yet admire her. My main focus will be on Lisa and although it was not specified in the film just how old she is, she seemed to be around the same age group as Susanna. This means that, according to Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, she is on stage five or six. Stage five happens during adolescence where ones primary task is their identity versus their own role in society whereas stage six happens in young adulthood and one faces intimacy versus isolation. The article incorporated gives more insight on how Erikson’s stages play hand in hand with one another and can potentially affect the mental state of someone if not successfully fulfilled. There is also a possibility that, with the ‘symptoms’ of a sociopath, Lisa could have had past problems during what Sigmund Freud considered the anal stage of her childhood.
Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half (2013) is a compilation of short personal occurrences that Brosh experienced in her life. This book takes on a unique format in that rather than just text, it is composed of short sentences and paragraphs combined with little drawings of the scenes described. Her frank language and juvenile drawing style allows all different types of readers access to the genuine heart that is portrayed during each snippet of time. While an enjoyable read solely for the depictions and sometimes-comic storytelling, the book also addresses very serious subjects such as depression and identity. Having been published in 2013, this book appeals to contemporary readers and it is necessary to analyze it in its historical context in order to understand its true significance. For many people, it is difficult to address serious concerns regarding mental health and this book makes it available in a form that is both casual and real. As opposed to medical journals or psychologists who will provide a scientific explanation, this publication provides people with a relatable experience that promotes comprehension rather than correct terminology. Ultimately, Hyperbole and a Half tells the story of a woman trying to cope with the difficulties and conundrums of everyday life, but its real significance cannot be understood without insight into the twenty-first century person struggling to understand and confront their own or another’s mental illness.
Edgar Allen Poe had once said, "I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched”. Some might say the same, including the infamous Medea. Medea was a married woman and a mother of two who was left alone, heartbroken, and seeking revenge after her husband left her for a woman of higher status. Acting impulsively and irrationally, she executes a murderous plan, leaving her old lover with the funeral plans of both his new princess and their children. At first glance, one might say that she is heartless, evil, and spiteful; however, once analyzed using the psychoanalytic theory, one can quickly change their perspective to understand her better. Sigmund Freud developed the concept that one’s personality is classified
Inside his mind, he finds all these evil from his thoughts that he had repressed and locked away all these years cause of his strict religious beliefs. The evil is represented by a devil he met in his unconscious mind. The devil holds in his hands a staff that resembles a serpent is similar to the story of Adam and Eve where the snake leads them away from being the purest of man and in Young Goodman Brown where the devil with the serpent staff leads Brown deeper into the forest. All his thoughts that were considered wrong by his religion were repressed and forgotten. These thoughts which he thought were forgotten are actually locked deep into the “forest” part of his mind and the opening of that door will only take a matter of time before the mind can’t take anymore. Once the door creaks open from the pressure of the thoughts, the person becomes hysterical unless a method of mental solution provided in Freud theory is utilized. Proven by Sigmund Freud, hysteria is not at all physical and is indeed a mental condition.
“He said hello and then said, “What are you up to now?” “I’m still crazy.” (Bradbury, 61). In other people’s perspective, they refer to her as an “abnormal”. But to her and her family, it’s just rare. Peculiar, but rare (Bradbury, 25). She walks and thinks, taste and dance under the rain (Bradbury, 64), listen to people’s conversation on subways (Bradbury, 69), “Hike around the forests”, “Watch the birds”, “Collect butterflies” (Bradbury, 74). And for that, they make her go see a psychiatrist. Clarisse has always been curious, like a sponge. A sponge that soaks in every new information of knowledge that she is informed of. Every single new, little ideas, sticks to her mind. She has an unbelievable tsunami of thoughts. Thoughts and wonders of “how” and “why” such thing happened. Her mind wanders deftly into ideas such as, “Jet cars racing on the boulevards”, or the “Dew on the grass in the morning” (Bradbury 25), or if you look at the sky, “There’s a man in the moon” (Bradbury, 26). Clarisse asked Montag if he was happy (Bradbury 28) and not only
Since she has internalized society's expectations of women, this conflict is felt as a schizoid within herself” (Quawas, 44). This supporting evidence helps give bigger insight of a deeper meaning to the correlation of insanity and symbols in the actual text.
Until the medical breakthroughs that we have made in the modern day, psychology as a science was not fully understood. Modern technology has given us a clearer idea of psychology, but in the past there was less known about the science. This alongside a predominantly male medical discourse led to a medical diagnosis in many women called hysteria. Female hysteria was a medical diagnosis given to specifically women as far back as the ancient Greek civilization. Hysteria started as a supernatural phenomena, but as medicine evolved it would be described as a mental disorder, (Tasca). Hysteria. in actuality, is an absurd and fabricated diagnosis that institutionalized and discriminated countless women. The way it makes a women feel, and the fact that it strips a woman of any sort of free will is a sickening display of blatant misogyny. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman perfectly displays not only the misogyny, but the torture a woman must face trapped under a hysteria diagnosis. Hysteria as a diagnoses fails to effectively treat many women, instead leading to the mistreatment and wrongful institutionalization of women.
Hysteria was the “go-to, catchall diagnosis” for all women, consisting of any “problem” including, but not limited to, nervousness, faintness, loss of appetite, (lack of) sexual desire, headaches, insomnia, muscle spasms, and trouble-making. For centuries, literature portrayed as submissive and obedient to men and oppressed by society, culture, and even men. In The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman presents readers with a story of a woman suffering from depression, possibly post-partum, but whose remedy is “rest cure,” a treatment invented by Silas Weir Mitchell for neurasthenia involving isolation and rest as a cure for hysteria in all its forms. The Yellow Wallpaper is a narrative concerning the gradual demise of the mental stability of an unnamed, newly married upper-middle class woman in late nineteenth century rural America. Gilman uses psychological terror to not only portray the narrator’s fall to insanity, but also to shed light on the rather unfortunate role of women in the institution of marriage. The narrator’s husband, John, is a physician who firmly expresses disbelief in his wife’s claims of depression. From the beginning of the story, the reader can tell immediately that the narrator has absolutely no voice. John assures her and others that nothing is wrong but “temporary nervous
Girl, Interrupted discusses extremely abstract ideas, so it is necessary to include narratives, figurative language, and comparisons for readers to fully appreciate the work. Kaysen utilizes a metaphor when describing insanity. She writes, “Insanity comes in two basic varieties: slow and fast… The predominant quality of the slow form is viscosity. Experience is thick… In contrast to viscosity’s cellular coma, velocity endows every platelet and muscle fiber with a mind of its own…” (75). This comparison of insanity to velocity and viscosity allows readers to visualize the abstract topic much more easily. It is difficult for many people to understand insanity because the mind is so difficult to comprehend. In order for Kaysen to attempt to explain such an abstract concept to her audience, she must utilize these types of comparisons as well as her own
She constantly tried to harm her brother and showed signs of dominance when she would abuse him and hurt his genitals. Since she was so engrossed on her body and discovering herself, she became stuck in this stage and as a result of not being able to move on she became aggressive, abusive, and wanting to harm others. Since she was so fixated on harming others, it led to this sadistic behavior and she had this conflict between the drives of the Id and the drives of the Ego. She had impulses to harm others as a result of her being harmed as a child. Being as though she wasn 't cared for and nurtured, she didn 't have loving relationships. She didn 't have the ability to trust others nor did she have the ability to be caring, towards anybody. Since she dealt with a lot of traumatic experiences, she’s been having the same recurring nightmares. She said she has this nightmare where “a man is falling on her and hurting her with a part of himself.” This was a familiar story that I 've once done but on Hysteria with a girl by the name of Bertha Pappenheim. She suffered from hysteria her symptoms are often the surface manifestations of deeply repressed conflicts. I later wrote about her in Studies in Hysteria” (1895). Bertha’s symptoms of this surface manifestation were due to her being sexually abused.
Daphne Scholinski documents her experiences through multiple psychiatric institutions in her gripping and light-hearted memoir titled, “The Last Time I Wore A Dress”. Published in 1997, her memoir establishes a strong connection with readers, thereby allowing them to be present within her plot; watching her story unfold from above. By analyzing the plot, characters, themes, and setting of “The Last Time I Wore A Dress”, I seek to draw a connection between Scholinski’s memoir and the mental model of madness. In doing so, this paper aims to shed light upon the hardships faced by Scholinski and her survival through it all.
In Charlotte Gilman’s short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," Jane, the main character, is a good example of Sigmund Freud’s Studies In Hysteria. Jane suffers from symptoms such as story making and daydreaming. Jane has a nervous weakness throughout the story.
In Amy Bloom’s short story, “Silver Waters”, the narrator, Violet, reveals the struggles of mental illnesses that Rose, her sister, suffers with. Violet discusses the many psychiatric wards Rose ends up in and the therapists that the family hates. More times than not, the family ends up protecting Rose from many of the dangers that the world possesses, like confusing insurance policies. Throughout the novel, the psychiatrists and therapists do not seem to care about Rose or the fact that she is more than just her mental illness; she has a complex personality. In “Silver Water”, Bloom uses the characterization of psychiatrists and therapists who interact with Rose to demonstrate that people with mental illnesses are not taken seriously; the symbolism of silver water proves that Rose has a complex personality with a beautiful voice, which proves that she deserves to be taken seriously.
A comparative literary study of the effect of mental illness on the central characters is the semi-autobiographical novels The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. Comparing two women trying to deal with mental illness and are trying to cope with the mental pressures they put on themselves and by other people. Although the differences between these two novels are The Bell Jar shows Esther’s life before she descends into mental illness whereas Susanna’s story is about her time in a mental institution and experiencing other patients who are in similar situations.