Melancholy, By Carina Del Valle Schorske

Decent Essays

“Melancholy,” written by Carina del Valle Schorske, presents the reader with the mystery of melancholy and its relation to clinical depression—a relevant, urgent issue that should indeed be addressed. However, the mystery remains unsolved as the piece progresses, and not in a way that promotes open-ended discussion. The opening paragraph contains four central themes: melancholy does not equate to depression; depression is hard to define; a number of well-known artists and writers deal with this affliction and try to capture the feeling in their work; melancholy’s difference from depression lies in its charms. As an introduction to the piece, the themes clearly display del Valle Schorske’s thoughts on melancholy and depression. It’s the body paragraphs that spawn confusion between the four main ideas. Del Valle Schorske states: “The charms of melancholy seem to be the charms of van Gogh’s quietly kaleidoscopic color palette: in one self-portrait, every color used on his face is echoed elsewhere in the surroundings.” In only the second paragraph, del Valle Schorske tackles two of her four themes—artists suffer and melancholy charms—in a single sentence. And a few lines later, she throws in a third: melancholy is not depression: “The charms of his work become the charms of his persona and his predicament.” Here is where confusion begins to complicate the main thesis; van Gogh’s work is simultaneously melancholic and a product of depression, which is a direct contradiction of,

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