That is true with the way historical understanding of the disease is not separated from the experiential description of depression-in Solomon's hands, it is only big thinkers influenced by history, but individuals, too, have a historical understanding of their disease, right or wrong. The clearest contradiction, though, is in the place one would most likely find it: the introduction and conclusion. Solomon presents his thesis in the very first sentence. It is not a big enough thesis to encompass all he will discuss, but it does seem to be the red thread he will try to follow throughout: "Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair." I don't really buy that description, but there it is, his idea. Except that when he concludes, more than four hundred pages later, he offers this: "The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality." These are both poetic expressions, which hides the slippage between them. How does vitality solve love's flaw? It's never quite clear-just as, even after all these pages, it's never quite clear what Solomon is trying to say. And yet, and yet, there is huge wisdom, reviews there is bravery, and there may even be clues to an answer.
Why is there a chapter on populations, but then a separate one on poverty? Does the just-so stories of sociobiology provide any real insight into depression? (It must have been selected for. It must serve some reproductive advantage?) Is this chapter pushed toward the end because of embarrassment? It really makes no sense coming after a chapter on politics. The separation of themes, the scattering of stories, these disguise the fact that the book itself is self-contradictory. Like his spiritual ancestor Robert Burton, solomon sees no problem with proposing a thousand different points, but not bothering to really reconcile any of them.
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He acknowledges this but cannot quite escape the dilemma, though he tries. He has an extended chapter on "alternative" treatments that has him trying out an animistic cure in Senegal. He doesn't think much of the philosophy behind it, but does like the ritual and essay connection it engenders. Indeed, buried in the book is an etiology of depression that escapes much of the talk enforced by discussions of drugs. That depression comes from a lack of connection; and that even faking connection, or doing work, can help overcome it: work short and connection forcefully creates meaning where none seem to exist. It is another one of the subtle threads Solomon does not follow.
Which is a shame, because his best chapters are the ones where the subtle critique breaks through, and Solomon challenges the very categories that his atlas seeks to reify: the paired chapters on addiction and suicide. Solomon covers in these his own extensive experience with drugs and alcohols, and his own suicidal thoughts, measures these against prevailing ideas, and finds the common sense wanting. Addiction, he notes, is very sharply culturally dependent-drunkenness accepted in widely different amounts across space and time-and that therapists and clients often want very different thinks when trying to treat addiction: the therapist aims for abstinence, the addict for control-the ability to imbibe again,. He also rejects out of hand the notion that suicide is necessarily tied to depression, or that it is always and forever a sign of insanity. Sometimes it is impetuous; sometimes it comes from errors of thought; sometimes it is a reasonable option. One wishes, reading this book, that these ideas could have been made in a shorter span, not only condensed but re-organized-the book's organization as an atlas is frustrating to generating meaning and full understanding. Why is the history of depression its own chapter, way at the back of the book?
The book is clearly of the time, published in 2001, but written the five years before, it is impossibly entangled with the question of ssris and drug therapies, which so consumed the nation during that decade. (Anyone remember "Prozac Nation? Drugs brought up a lot of questions about the nature of depression: was it really an organic disorder, or should sufferers just buck up? Was this a "fake" pathology, like chronic fatigue syndrome (which is not fake, but was thought to be)? Were Americans just looking for a quick, technomedical fix to something that needed more intensive intervention?
For many sufferers, the drugs legitimized the disease-it's real, like diabetes!-but were also loathed: making sufferers dependent, maybe even addicted, and twisting their other, seemingly innate, emotions, their sex drive, their sense of joy when they weren't depressed. Solomon's fixation on drugs-heightened no doubt by the fact that his father worked for a pharmaceutical company that puts out one-limits in many ways what he has to say about depression. He is expansive in his definition of what counts as depression-linking bipolar disorder here, too, which feels odd-and relying on scientific definitions. He is insistent that depression is not a disease of modernity but can be found throughout history-which is debatable, but fine. The problem comes from his unwillingness to contextualize the different understanding of disease (except in one balkanized chapter treating it as a transhistorical category, one that would always, everywhere be amenable to drugs. He does very little, in short, to challenge prevailing notions of depression, which means that the disease is always weighted with the moral freight it has carried for a long time.
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Not "Just the facts, ma'm but "all the facts, ma'm and a visible straining for Important Cultural Insights (TM). Which is gpa to say the book is over-written in the extreme, stuffed with anecdotes and every manner of detail. Which is not to say the book doesn't have its subtleties, hidden among the vast acres of verbiage. Solomon does as good a job as possible of describing what depression is like for those who suffer it, reaching for a succession of metaphors: falling, vines, rusting, while admitting that these metaphors are limited in their explanatory power (29). It made me think of Elaine Scary's "The body in pain" and how pain is such a brute, primitive fact that it cannot be put into words except in the form of cliche; depression is pain of different sort: soul pain, solomon suggests, and. He notes both in the early chapters and the the last-on hope-that there is something about depression that makes it recalcitrant to explanation. Cognitive behavior Therapists want to make it into a series of "errors of thought but it is more than that, something that sucks meaning from the inside, leaving the sufferer empty and unconnected. Demon is as good a metaphor as any-perhaps better than most-and Solomon senses this connection, obviously, with the title, but he doesn't follow. Which is a problem more generally with the book: that the subtleties are not fully developed, but remain half-whispered.
How to cite in mla format. "The secret Life of villages Walter Mitty background". Deep in the book, solomon confronts the spiritual ancestor of his own tome, robert Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy and his assessment of it is also an assessment of "The noonday demon mixing "a millennium of thought and a steady supply of scattered personal intuitions, Anatomy. The noonday demon purports to be an atlas, which is a genre not widely written or read anymore-atlases are reference material. But this is a book deep in the book, solomon confronts the spiritual ancestor of his own tome, robert Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy and his assessment of it is also an assessment of "The noonday demon mixing "a millennium of thought and a steady supply. But this is a book that is meant to be read, rather than used to get a lay of the land (or overview of some topic). Solomon had written for the new Yorker by the time this book came out, and his style showed the hallmarks of 1990s New Yorker-style: a really hungry jack webb.
a decade after the story was published, the first film version appeared starring Danny kaye. Notably absent from the plot was Mittys wife—replaced by both a domineering mother and fiancé-which did nothing to stop the movie from becoming a box office hit. A little over a decade later, a stage musical of the story was mounted with Mittys wife returned to a place of prominence in the plot. That version closed after less than 100 performances and essentially disappeared forever. The most recent film version directed by and starring Ben Stiller essentially put the final nail in the coffin to the storys connection to being henpecked by utterly eliminating the presence of a domineering feminine influence on Walters behavior. Perhaps even more significant as an element in the evolution of Walter Mittys status as metaphor, Stillers movie also greatly diminishes the role of fantasy in Mittys life, tossing him headlong into the need to act heroically in real world situations at a point far. You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section. Update this section, after you claim a section youll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.
New Yorker magazine on March 18, 1939, but enough of it remains today to still lend it a universality. Walter Mitty has gone on to become a metaphor for the type of person with a rich and varied life inside their mind that stands in stark contrast to the mundane reality that everybody can clearly see, but, again, hippie the walter Mitty that Thurber created. Henpecked husbands still exist in likely the same rough percentage of the population as they did during Thurbers time. Of course, sociological and psychological advances since then have contributed to transforming the image of this stereotype to a degree. As it relates to The secret Life of Walter Mitty that degree is only relevant to the extent that the passage of time has impacted how the submissive husband married to a dominant wife has no longer become one the central tropes of comedy. At the time Thurber published his short story, mitty was not viewed as such a universal representative of the power of the imagination to allow ordinary people to escape their lives of quiet desperation. Readers in 1939 instantly recognized Mitty as the much more precisely drawn parody of a husband desperately searching for a way to establish autonomy and individuality in the face of a personality far too willing to submit to his wifes own domineering personality.
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These notes were contributed by reviews members of the Gradesaver community. We are thankful of their contributions and encourage you to make your own. The secret to long life of James Thurbers continuously anthologized and adapted short story. The secret Life of Walter Mitty lies in its utter universality. No matter how famous, rich and successful beyond your wildest dreams one may become, each and every human carries around with them a secret fantasy life. Everybody experiences those moments throughout the day when a word or a sound or a scent or memory stimulates a brief escape from reality into that realm of the imagination where all things are possible. That being said, the secret life of the imagination. Walter Mitty into james Thurber affords us access is a very specific type of escape that is coincident with the very specific nature of relationships. That nature has evolved somewhat since the story was first published in the.