Cultural representations of disability- A beautiful mind Essay
The movie “A beautiful Mind’ starring the actor Russell Crower and directed by Ron Howard, is a film that portrays the life of the mathematician Josh Nash. It spans a significant portion of his life. Our first encounter with Nash is as Doctorate student at Princeton University in 1947. He presents as an unusual young man who is obsessively driven by his need to discover an original idea and develop a theory that builds on this idea.
His sense of self-worth seems to hinge on this quest and as such, he abandons classes and lives recursively in his room, observing the outside world wrought his window in a bid to discover a pattern on which to model his theory.
His roommate Charles is his only close friends and his peers view him as an ‘odd’ genius who cannot, by his own admission relate to other people. Nash is struck by his original idea and develops his theory of Governing Dynamics, earning him a research placement at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
During this time Nash he conducts some code-breaking for the Pentagon and this brings about a shift In his life in which he seemingly is recruited as a spy for the department of Defense. Simultaneously he meets and falls in love with Alicia and they marry. His reality starts to unravel at this point and we are made aware that key people In his life such as Charles, Marcel and Archer are hallucinations. Nash Is hospitalized and we are made aware that he has Schizophrenia. The rest of the movie details his Journey to stabilize his life and maintain relationships with his wife and other significant people in his life.
Nash Is eventually appointed to the Mathematics department at Princeton University and is awarded the Nobel peace prize In 1994 for his theory of ‘Governing Dynamics’. Whilst this film explores many positive aspects of Nash, the focus on his mental Illness as something that he must control In order to redeem his social position renders him somewhat of a suppliers. The suppliers Is described (Hairnet, 200,p. 22) as an Individual that triumphs above their disability via their Intense focus and determination.
In the film ‘A Beautiful Mind’ the writers embrace this notion to some degree, portraying Nash as an Individual with Schoolteachers who Is determined to use his mind to control his hallucinations. At the point that he Is being advised to take medication to prevent a relapse Into an alternative reality, he states protests. Unable to work, care for his child or malting Intimate relations with his wife whilst medicated on anta-psychotics, Nash Is looking for an alternative solution and states; ” This Is a problem, a problem with no apparent solution.
But I am a mathematical. That’s what I do, I find solutions. All I have to do Is apply my mind”. HIS wife Local contributes to the notion of Nash triumphing over his mental Illness and supports his quest for an alternative solution. She tells him; “l need to live that something extraordinary Is possible”. The resolution of this dilemma Is a compromise between neurological and cognitive factors, as Nash learns to Ignore his visual hallucinations that are personified by Charles, Marcel and Preacher. Rosenstein (2003, p. 18) describes how people with schizophrenia have leveled criticisms at the film for portraying an overly optimistic picture of life with the Illness. The film depicts for many years,only to remarry him in ????. Additionally, it has been reported that Nash experiences audio, not visual hallucinations. The director Ron Howard has demitted to exercising poetic license to provide a heightened dramatic effect. The additional dimension of Anna’s genius status and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 accentuate the whole Superscript effect as he is portrayed as overcoming his disability to achieve greatness.
Hegemonic concepts of ‘normalcy is thus reinstated to a large degree within Anna’s life and, as Donaldson (2005, p. ) explains, the redemption of self is completed. This is also a reflection of popular culture as projected by the Hollywood movie industry. The formulaic representation of the hero overcoming fallibility to achieve a happy ending is to be examined critically. Interestingly,mental illness has been described (Goldstein, 1979,up. 383-384) as being an ambiguous term with no concrete definition.
It is socially constructed to stigmatize individuals considered to behave in a manner outside of typical social boundaries, and historically was more commonly attributed to the working class and minority groups. Mental illness is overrepresented as a disability within the medium of film, with symptoms of a condition being distorted and the physical appearance of characters bordering on the ridiculous. As such they become useful artifacts to help people to identify stereotypical features and symptoms and compare them to medical representations (Livingston, 2004, up. 19-120). One strength of “A beautiful mind’ is that it allows the viewer to experience the phenomena of stereophonic from the perspective of the individual with the condition which mental health practitioners (Rosenstein, 2003, 117-118) suggest, can be a powerful tool for educating a general audience. It is not until the second half of the movie that we become aware that key figures in Anna’s life are in fact, hallucinations and the importance of this is emphasized by Dry Rosen .
Whilst watching Nash undergo his first electroshock therapy he asks Alicia to consider; muff see the nightmare of stereophonic, is not knowing what is true. Imagine if you had suddenly learnt that the people and places, the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead, but worse, had never been. What kind of hell would that be? ” This film could therefore be used with educators, students, careers and the general public to heighten their awareness of the social and temporal dislocation of individuals within the grip of the hallucinogenic states of stereophonic.
A Beautiful Mind could also be used to educate these people about the impact of medication on the cognitive states and social function of individuals with Schizophrenia. In the film we are witness to scenes in which Nash feels unable to function well as a result of his medication. He indicates to former colleagues that it is difficult to find solutions to mathematical equations and eventually he stops taking his medication. When confronted by his psychiatrist Dry Rosen and asked why he had done this he replies; “l couldn’t do my work, look after my baby. I couldn’t be a man for my wife.