A Literary Analysis of Still Alice

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Still Alice ( Genova, 2009 ) is a capturing introduction novel about a 50-year-old woman’s sudden diminution into early oncoming Alzheimer’s disease. The book is written by first clip writer Lisa Genova, who holds a PH.D in neuroscience from Harvard University. She’s besides an on-line editorialist for the national Alzheimer’s association. Her other books include Left Neglected and Love Anthony. She lives with her hubby and two kids in Cape Cod. The subject of the book is related to the early oncoming Alzheimer’s disease and how the chief character, Alice Howland’s quality of life or in other words her life style is affected due to the disease she is diagnosed with ( Genova, 2009 ) . The fresh sheds visible radiation on the lives of those fighting with this awful disease of the head and how their lives and people in them are affected and disturbed because of it. The life and day-to-day activities of an early on-set Alzheimer’s disease patient worsens with clip, if proper guidance Sessionss and intervention are non conducted ; their state of affairs will acquire worse and consequence in terrible harm to their mental wellness. As the narrative begins, mundane wrangles reside in the Howland family.

From their youngest girl Lydia’s ongoing difference about her hereafter, to Alice and John’s ain relationship, all while their busy lives ensue. Why couldn’t Lydia be like the remainder of her household? Her brother Tom and sister Anna followed in their parent’s footfalls. Traveling to college and holding successful callings was their manner of life. John is a life scientist and Alice a professor of linguistics, both of them work at Harvard University. Lydia is the castaway of the household. She travels the universe, is worry free, and aspires to be an actress. The feverish lives of both Alice and John weigh on their relationship. Tension additions with the narrative as Alice is diagnosed with early oncoming Alzheimer’s disease. The get bying accomplishments of Alice and her household with her diagnosing set the tone for the narrative. Alice’s internal struggle consumes her, although she tries to ne’er allow Alzheimer’s disease specify her. She is disquieted with herself for burying things, yet tries to come up with grounds as to why she is burying.

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Her male parent takes the brunt of all Alice’s choler. Her hatred for him grows. Why did he hold to take the lives of her female parent and sister? Is it his mistake Alice has Alzheimer’s? Alice continues with a strong desire to lend to society. The one time estranged relationship between Alice and her girl Lydia bit by bit improves, and a girl finds consolation in a female parent she ne’er knew. A hubby, who at one clip stood by his married woman through everything, surprises his household and leaves his ailing married woman behind for a new occupation chance. Still Alice is told in the 3rd individual point of position with limited omniscience. The storyteller is Alice Howland, the chief character of the narrative. Through the book we are able to read the manner Alice is experiencing, looking through her eyes as the narrative unfolds. However, in the concluding chapter of this novel the point of position alterations to her hubby, John Howland. Readers are able to look on as John lives his life off from Alice in New York. The primary scene for still Alice ( Genova, 2009 ) is in Cambridge Massachusetts were the chief character Dr.

Alice Howland lives with her hubby, John Howland, and Teachs cognitive psychological science at Harvard University. Other scenes include their place in Chatham Massachusetts where Alice and John go to holiday. The chief character is Dr. Alice Howland a modern center aged professional adult female. She’s a brilliant professor sing mental bugs like burying a word while giving a talk, mislaying keys, etc. Alice thinks this is due to impending climacteric, in-between age or perchance emphasis. But she hasn’t gone through climacteric and she’s non experiencing stressed. The defining minute is when Alice forgets her manner place while ramble oning in Harvard square ( p. 21 ) . Suspecting that something is incorrect and without stating her hubby, Alice chooses to see Dr. Davis a brain doctor who diagnoses her with early oncoming Alzheimer’s disease ( p. 70 ) .

The diagnosing hits Alice and her household like a decease sentence. Alice realizes that she doesn’t have adequate clip left and decides that it should be spent with her household. Her two older kids Anna and Tom decide to undergo familial testing for the Alzheimer’s cistron. Her oldest girl Anna tests positive for the cistron ( p. 108 ) . Alice becomes wholly reliant on her blackberry to acquire through her twenty-four hours and becomes a great list shaper though she can’t ever make sense of her lists. As the disease progresses Alice resigns her teaching place at Harvard University and gives up jogging because she has lost her sense of deepness perceptual experience. Although the disease robs Alice of her memories, she retains her sense of wit e.g. when she tries to have on her underwear as a athleticss bandeau, “she laughs at her ain absurd madness” ( P. 199 ) . Alice’s character is really compelling, piquant, and holds your attending throughout the book.

John Howland is Alice’s hubby ; he is a professor of biochemistry at Harvard University. When John finds out about Alice’s diagnosing, he thinks that she has been misdiagnosed. He insists on familial testing, which would demo that Alice has the Alzheimer’s cistron. John struggles to cover with Alice’s diagnosing. He becomes her primary caretaker, but refuses to look at Alice when she takes out her pill box. He manages to go on working by go forthing Alice big reminder notes on the icebox non to travel running entirely ( p. 196 ) . John is evidently sorrowing the loss of his married woman but is unable to show his emotions in a positive manner. A discovery eventually happens when John is able to soothe his married woman when she experiences an incontinency episode ( p. 150 ) . Anna is Alice’s oldest girl ; she’s a successful attorney and is married to Charles, besides a attorney.

Anna is strong and ferociously independent merely like her female parent. Anna deals with her mother’s disease by proposing that if her ma “thinks for a second” so possibly she’ll be able to retrieve things ( p. 173 ) . Anna, nevertheless still makes clip to care for her ma when her pa is off. Alice’s merely boy Tom is a minor character in the book. He is present during household assemblages and of import minutes e.g. when Alice discloses that she has Alzheimer’s disease ( p. 103 ) . He deals with his mom‘s diagnosing by being distant. The chief adversary in the book is Alice’s youngest girl Lydia Howland. She defies the family’s educational tradition and chooses to take playing categories in Los Angeles in hopes of going an histrion. Lydia’s determination causes a batch of struggle between her parents.

She’s the lone 1 that refuses to take part in the Alzheimer’s familial testing. However, as Alice’s status deteriorates, Lydia becomes the most valuable participant of the household ; she becomes Alice’s figure one advocator. She doesn’t attempt to “test” Alice’s memory but is at that place for her when she needs her ( p. 162 ) . The relationship between Alice and Lydia improves. Lydia finally listens to her mother’s advice and enrolls at Brandies University to analyze theatre ( p. 258 ) . The imagination in Still Alice is capturing. It keeps the reader on their toes, inquiring what will go on next in the narrative. The narrative is so traveling that the reader can basically visualize the characters and digest their experiences through all five senses. One theoretical account of imagination that is fascinating is when Alice is a invitee talker at Stanford. Her assurance and love for her calling is luring.

She had talked about the peculiar topic legion times and every clip she had done this, she felt respected. Alice had ever talked without reading her notes with easiness. Well into her treatment she all of a sudden becomes puzzled. “The informations uncover that irregular verbs necessitate entree to the mental…” ( p. 10 ) . The word was lost even though she understood to the full what she had intended to state. As the scene is described, the reader can acquire a sense of terror that Alice is sing ( pp. 8-11 ) . An unforgettable illustration of imagination is when Alice goes for a tally through Harvard Square, blocks from her place and can non retrieve her manner back. The description of her milieus is etched in the reader’s head. “Steady watercourse of joggers, Canis familiariss and their proprietors, Walkers, rollerbladers, bicyclers, and adult females forcing babes in jogger saunterers, like an experient driver on a on a regular basis traveled stretch of road” ( pp. 20-21 ) . “The sounds of her Nikes hitting the paving in syncopated beat with the gait of her breath” ( p. 20 ) . “She knew she was in Harvard Square, but she didn’t know which manner was home” ( p.21 ) . “People, autos, coachs, and all sorts of intolerable noise rushed and wove past her” ( p. 22 ) .

The reader can feel Alice’s province of fear during this scene. A memorable case of imagination is when Alice visits her primary attention doctor. At one point and clip Dr. Moyer’s office held no negative links for Alice. “I don’t believe your memory jobs are due to menopause” ( p.41 ) . “She fought the urges turning louder inside her, imploring her to either lie down or acquire the snake pit out of that analyzing room immediately.” The reader can comprehend the province of anxiousness Alice is in ( p.41 ) . Other physician visits were merely as interesting. “Alzheimer’s disease….The words knocked the air current out of her…The sound of her name penetrated her every cell and seemed to disperse her molecules beyond the boundaries of her ain skin” ( pp. 70-71 ) . The visit to Mount Auburn Manor Nursing Center was striking. “Walkers crowded the infinites between the tables…There was no socialization, no conversation…The merely sounds other than eating came from a adult female who sang while she ate” ( p. 113 ) . The reader gets the feeling that Alice feels she doesn’t belong at that place. Another outstanding illustration of imagination is when Alice gets lost in her ain place.

“She hastened back down the hall and opened the door to the bathroom…Only, to her arrant incredulity it wasn’t the bathroom” ( p. 149 ) . The reader understands that Alice’s disease is come oning, particularly when she doesn’t acknowledge her ain girl or her ain household. “Leave me entirely! Get out of my house! I hate you! I don’t want you here” ( p. 211 ) . Alice couldn’t understand that it was her household holding a difference about her, nor did she understand why. “She wasn’t sad or angry or defeated or scared…she was hungry” ( p. 264 ) . The most singular minute in the novel that captures the audience is when Carole returns Alice to her place after their walk. As Carole and Anna converse about Alice, Alice smilings and nods her caput as to agree, non cognizing that they are talking of her. Shortly after, Lydia and Anna converse about their male parent coming to see. “Is Dad coming this weekend? asked the actress” ( p. 291 ) The reader comprehends that John has decided to take the new occupation offer, alternatively of carry throughing Alice’s want for them to remain together.

There are many symbols within the narrative of Alice Howland: objects, actions, or characters that hint a significance beyond themselves. Clocks play a function throughout the full book. For Alice redstem storksbills are guidelines to what she should be making at each minute of the twenty-four hours. In the start of her narrative, the redstem storksbills are more of a mention, but as her disease progresses they are much more than that. Alice becomes dependent on the redstem storksbills to state her the things she is supposed to make harmonizing to clip. Alice’s Blackberry device is likely one of the most important symbols in Still Alice. The Blackberry becomes a portion of her as Alzheimer’s takes over ; Alice refers to her Blackberry for everything. To Alice, if something was non recorded in her device, it ne’er existed. Within the Blackberry, she had an watchful inquiring her five inquiries every twenty-four hours. These five inquiries became a contemplation of her cognitive degree, proving herself to see if her disease has progressed. The inquiries she quizzes herself include a P.S. “if you have problem replying any of these, go to the file named “Butterfly” on your computing machine and follow the instructions at that place immediately” ( p.119 ) .

The file named “Butterfly” signifies self-respect to Alice ; the file instructs her to perpetrate self-destruction when she can no longer retrieve her household. This would hold become the last thing she could make for herself. Alice besides has a butterfly necklace that had been passed down from her female parent. This butterfly necklace seems to quiet Alice and to give her hope, lucidity, and strength. Genova’s usage of figures of address brings the reader into the universe of a individual with Alzheimer’s disease. When Alice foremost suspects that there is something incorrect with her, she is referred to a specializer for proving. Having completed assorted trials, Alice begins to experience overwhelmed, comparing her ideas to a roller coaster that she was siting with her eyes shut, unable to cognize when the following bend would be ( p.40 ) . Subsequently, in the same doctor’s office, Alice learns of her official diagnosing of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and is stunned. With the usage of linguistic communication, Alice and the reader are brought back to the rough world of losing herself. “The sound of her name penetrated her every cell and seemed to disperse her molecules beyond the boundaries of her ain tegument ( p.71 ) .

Genova relates Alzheimer’s disease to a animal that is unable to be slayed, giving the reader the cognition that this disease can non be round. In mention to the medicines Alice is taking to seek to forestall the farther diminution in her mental province she compares them to taking pip-squeak guns at a blaze fire ( p. 117 ) . Throughout the book, Alice feels embarrassed and like a load to those around her. The usage of personification of her disease tells the reader precisely how abashed she is “there it was, her Alzheimer’s, stripped and bare under the fluorescent lighting” ( p.129 ) . It is farther conveyed to the reader when Alice thinks her hubby looks at her the same manner he looks at his labs rats ( p. 135 ) . In a ulterior scene when Alice refuses to travel to dinner with friends the usage of simile brings the disease to colourful life in Alice’s universe. “I’m a cotton confect pink elephant in the room.

I make everyone uncomfortable. I turn dinner into a brainsick circus act, everyone beguiling their nervous commiseration and forced smilings with their cocktail spectacless, forks, and knives” ( p.218 ) . To maintain the book from non being wholly negative, there is wit to Alice’s Alzheimer’s symptoms. When she was unable to remember which door in her house lead to the bathroom, Genova’s usage of wit is precisely what the reader needs to acquire through the scenes. “She swung the door unfastened like an visionary uncovering her most cryptic fast one, but the bathroom didn’t as if by magic appear” ( p.150 ) . Approaching the terminal of the novel, Genova leaves the reader with one last penetration into Alice’s cognitive diminution. In a minute of lucidity Alice reads the screen of the book she wrote with her hubby “The words she read seemed to force past the choking weeds and sludge in her head to a topographic point that was pristine and still integral, hanging on” ( p. 284 ) . The narrative of Still Alice is based on an dry state of affairs.

Dr. Alice Howland is a psychological science professor at Harvard University and an expert in linguistics ( the survey of linguistic communication and its construction ) . She finds herself at a hamlets when she is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 50. Dr. Howland besides keeps singular attention of her well-being by eating healthy, running Harvard square each twenty-four hours, maintaining her head active between learning categories, and go toing conferences. While speaking over her new diagnosing Alice comes to recognize she may hold misjudged her male parent, presuming he was a aggressive alky, in world she realizes he was likely agony from undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease ( p.76 ) . To exceed off the dry concatenation of events Alice receives her diagnosing of Early Onset Alzheimer’s on January 19 ( p. 67 ) which happens to be the day of the month of her female parent and sister’s deceases. Towards the terminal of Alice Howland’s narrative, her disease procedure has taken its toll on Alice’s head and she can no longer care for herself independently.

Dr. Howland becomes dependent on her girls and boy, whom she can no longer place as such, for her attention while her hubby choses to take a occupation in New York ( p.286-292 ) . In decision, Still Alice is the narrative of a merrily married professor with three adult kids at the extremum of her calling who is diagnosed with early oncoming Alzheimer’s disease. As the narrative unravels, Alice struggles to keep her life style, independency, and to populate in the minute. The book non merely brings to illume the annihilating effects of Alzheimer’s disease on its victims, but besides on the lives of their friends, households, and relationships. Tension additions within the narrative from the clip Alice is diagnosed with early oncoming Alzheimer’s disease until her hubby leaves. It was heartbreaking that Alice’s husband take to abandon his darling married woman for a new occupation chance in another metropolis.

He failed to remain by her side as this disease robbed her of herself. Still Alice is a strong and prosecuting fiction work which brings truth to the mean reader about the oncoming and the impact of Alzheimer’s. However, it fails to turn to those households who are non every bit equipped as the Howland’s to care for their loved 1s at place, and are forced to commit them. As Alice’s status deteriorates, her kids begin to worry about their hereafters, fight amongst themselves, and finally change their lives as a consequence of their mother’s disease. This narrative teaches the valuable lesson that no affair how strong relationship or household ties are, the neglecting wellness of a love 1 could hold a annihilating impact on everyone.

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A Literary Analysis of Still Alice. (2017, Jul 06). Retrieved from


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