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The Melville House Hybrid Book publication is also very beneficial to any literary enthusiast, offering links to read up about the author as well as read other bits of writing by him. Wildly comic and engaging, this quick little novella has a wealth of ideas to ponder.
I am beginning to suspect that it is not an island at all but a continent. What is truly exciting in The Alientist is de Assis accounts of revolution.
For example, doctors noticed that one of the test patients was taking notes about his stay in the hospital, and assumed it was some pathological writing behavior, further compounding their belief that he was in fact suffering from schizophrenia.
First, that he had checked the statistics and had found that four-fifths of the population of Itaguai was in the Green House; seconds, flirtmoji v day this disproportionately large number of patients had led him to reexamine his fundamental theory of mental illness, a theory that classified as sick all people who were mentaly unbalanced; third, that as a consequence of this reexamination in the light of the statistics he had concluded not only that his theory was unsound but also that the exactly contrary doctrine was true—that is, that normality lay in a lack of equilibrium and that the abnormal, the really sick, were the well balanced.
This witty satire is told from a distance, speedily recounting the events that transpired in Itaguai with respect to the Green House, allowing de Assis to keep a fast progression and paint in broad strokes without seeming neglectful of minor details.
Despite being over a century old, and despite the leaps and bounds that have occurred in all the scientific fields, this story feels just as poignant in the modern day.
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After overthrowing the first local government for supporting the Green House, the new totalitarian regime approaches Bacamarte to use his selection to dispose of political opponents, and then is overthrown for this same reason by another opponent who then tries to align himself with the physician.
The patients stayed an average of 19 days, each being diagnosed with schizophrenia and given antipsychotics. He was merely helping to condemn himself.
An issue accrues for Bacamarte as to where to draw the lines between a normal aberration or clinical disorder. Brilliantly succinct and engaging, The Alienist takes a comical satiric aim at psychology and revolution while managing to remain as poignant and feel as modern as it did when first published over a century ago.
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With each rebellion and reordering of political power, those in control eventually side with the very rhetoric they used to inspire the rebellion. One by one, then in large groups, Bacamarte finds a reason or, perhaps, a motive, as many of the townsfolk suggest to place them in his asylum.
However, there are those who are such outliers that attention truly is warranted. Machado de Assis makes a mockery of these political leaders, and Bacamarte views those who struggle for political power as being excellent subjects to study for possibilities of megalomania and arrogance.
This experiment exposed the dehumanization experienced by the patients, as well as the various hospitals inability to distinguish between actual disorders and fakers.
This pacing and simplicity creates a linguistic ambience akin to a parable, yet, if The Alienist is to be read as an allegorical novella, then it is one content to stand boldly bare of any metaphoric veils masking its naked truths.
A local rich man strikes the physician as odd because the rich man often stands outside admiring his stone mansion, and after reading an article about an illness that causes people to have a catatonic state the early scientific journal he reads phrases it as adopting the posture of a stonedecides this behavior may be indicative of a disorder.
I was reminded of an experiment we had discussed in an Abnormal Psychology course I took a few years back.
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Bacamarte is a clear representative of no-nonsense, indifferent science, with his entire life being in the name of scientific advancement. Poor Mateus noticed only that he was an object of the curiosity or admiration of the most important figure in Itaguai.
If a reader was unaware of the publication date, it would be easy to assume this is an allegory of modern issues set in the past a past that is painted in broad enough strokes to hardly betray the time it is set in.
In the early days of psychology, discovering which people were the real outliers must have been an interesting process. The next day he was admitted to the Green House.
He bluntly addresses his quandaries of psychological investigation and political upheaval, furbishing them instead with comedic properties to expose their absurdities. A major point made by my professor was the dangers of premature diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, as it can often lead to looking for evidence to support the diagnosis instead of properly addressing all the aspects of a patient.
He intensified the nobility of his expression, the stateliness of his pose…Alas!