1211 Section 18
October 13th, 2013
The “Promethic” Illness
Circling a yellow wallpapered room, sticking your head in the oven, running wildly around town in the nude; these are the visions we associate with when the word madness comes to mind.
Entering the taboo world of mental illness, stigmatized as the crazy and psychotic by decades of misunderstanding, Marya Hornbacher takes a step towards reversing those damages by telling her own story in a memoir titled Madness: A Bipolar Life, in an attempt to shed some light and insight on the world of manic depression. She details her struggle with the disease that spawned multitudes of problems for her all throughout her life. To examine how she reconstructs her state of mind more closely, we will focus on a specific section in the memoir. The chapter titled “Oregon” illustrates both her manic and depressive state, illuminating the magnitude of change through extreme contrast. Marya finds herself in her family beach house disorientated and unstable and we follow her downward progression where the chapter ends with the author in a psych ward. Her cyclical extreme up's and down's is much parallel to a familiar Greek mythology of the Titan Prometheus who was forced to endure the lows of vulturous attacks, tearing out his entrails and the highs of immortality. She uses various literary techniques to convey her mental state to the reader, one who might not usually be able to relate to her life and the roller coaster journey her illness had taken her throughout the years.
Focusing on the Chapter “Oregon”, Marya Hornbacher dramatizes her manic state by manipulating sentence structure, employing juxtaposition to emphasize, and using various literary techniques.
To recreate her mental state, Marya Hornbacher cleverly manipulated sentence structures to set the pace. Her usage of comma splice to signify manic thought delineated how fast her thoughts came and went:
Cited: • Hornbacher, Marya. Madness: A Bipolar Life. Boston: Mariner Books, 2009. Print.