Presentation on theme: "…And Rarely Just Illness Chapter 24 By: Sabrina Campos 3 rd Period 9/28/11."— Presentation transcript:
…And Rarely Just Illness Chapter 24 By: Sabrina Campos 3 rd Period 9/28/11
The main idea of this passage is how authors use illness in literature. Authors present the idea of illness to create imagery. It should be picturesque, mysterious in origin, and its should have a strong symbolic and metaphorical possibility.
For example- The idea of including paralysis. For author James Joyce, throughout his whole career he uses paralysis as physical, moral, social, spiritual, intellectual, and political. In his book “The Sisters” he portrays paralysis in a physical and spiritual manner. For the character, the old priest, has “no hope” ( Foster 213) and is wasting away. He had been deteriorating even before having a physical stroke because “…at the time the priest was relieved of his parish over some incident involving an acolyte” (Foster 214). Which infers that there was some sexual impropriety with a parishioner. Or that he was only going mad, “He was found in the confessional laughing softly and talking to himself” (Foster 214). All this happened before he suffered a physical stroke, portraying that he was suffering emotionally and mentally. Though on the other hand Joyce uses paralysis in a completely different way in his other book “Dubliners”. He presents paralysis as the society affecting its inhabitants through convention, state, and church. With phrases such as “A girl who cannot let go of a railing to board a ship with her lover; men who know the right thing to do but fail because their ability to act” (Foster 214). Men can’t act in their best interest because they’re parlayed by the habits created by the society.
But why? It wasn’t until the 20 th century that diseases had been a mystery. Information about disease wasn’t a common knowledge to the general public. It was only known as people becoming ill, and then dying. Authors wanted the same process in their own work. Stories evolving, and then ending. Authors include illness, not to educate their readers, but to create imagery. For example- Death by Cholera is presented as “…unsightly, painful, smelly, and violent” (Foster 216). It should be picturesque- Authors include symptoms of disease to bring certain appeal to their characters. To suffer tuberculosis gives a sort of eerie beauty through pain, “The skin becomes almost translucent, the eye sockets dark…” (Foster 216).
It should be mysterious in origin- How the “…awful disease sometimes swept through whole families, as it would when one member nursed a dying parent or sibling, coming into daily impact” (Foster 217). Or the way it was spread out, and the impact on the story at different levels was the inspiration to authors.
It should have a strong symbolic or metaphorical possibilities- Such as smallpox. The disease “…was hideous in both the way it presented and the disfigurement it left” (Foster 217). The external aspect that smallpox left was scary, rejectful and disgusting. Though on the other hand tuberculosis “…was a wasting disease, both in terms of the individual, growing thinner and thinner” (Foster 217).
A Quick Look Throughout the Centuries The 19 th centuries were dominated by tuberculosis and cancer. Why? Because the symptoms were known to the audience and that reference was enough for them. Many writers “…suffered from it themselves or watched friends, and loved ones deteriorate in its grasp” (Foster 218). That’s why it’s so familiar in literature. In the late 19 th century syphilis and gonorrhea reached epidemic proportions. But weren't mentioned a lot in literature, with the exception of author Henrik Ibsen. Why? Talking about venereal diseases meant discussing sex out of marriage and moral corruption. Both considered taboo topics. Ibsen uses in his play “A Doll’s House”, that one of his characters Dr. Rank is dying of TB of the spine. Rank says he “inherited the disease from his father’s dissolute living…his condition becomes an incident of parental misdeeds… a coded reference to an entirely different pair of letter. Not TB, but VD” (Foster 221). 20 th century- AIDS: Picturesque? No- But devastating. Mysterious? Yes- When it appeared and how the virus mutates. Symbolic? Yes- It hit the young, the gay community, and the third world countries. It added the political angle and “Its ability…to turn every victim into an unknowing carrier, its virtual one hundred percent mortality rates over the first decade or so of its history” (Foster 222). Though the most effective illness is the one the writer makes up. For example a fever (of non-specific medical nature), but it works exactly how the author wants it to work. “The fever could represent the randomness of fate, the unknown ability of the mind of God…any wide array of possibilities” (Foster 224).
A familiar example of how authors use illness in they’re literature, is how Dickens in his novel Great Expectations gives Miss Havisham a sickness of being mentally crazy. After being left at the alter by her fiancé, Miss Havisham goes mad, and is left heartbroken,“…I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes” (Dickens 56).
Illness In My Life? I started running because my dad is a runner. After attending several races, I realized that a good number of them, raise funds to contribute to the research of illness trying to find a cure. Susan G. Komen for the cure. Race to raise awareness of breast cancer. Run for Diabetes. My dad is part of the Hoyt Foundation. After my grandma passed away from Lymphoma, my dad raced in her memory in one of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored races.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. New York: Bantam Dell, 1986. Print Foster, Thomas C. How To Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: Harper- Collins Publishers, Inc., 2003. Print.