Inventing the Self

Studying the ‘voices’

October 16th, 2013 by Sabrina Smith · No Comments

I find the study of individuals with psychiatric diagnoses to be fascinating, and both Wray and McCarthy provided us with a diary of explanation for the everyday life of voice-hearers or schizophrenics. One text is more observational and than less creative than the other but they both capture the sense of what it’s like to perform daily function and interact in the ‘norm’ society.

For McCarthy the information is very linear and resembles the format of a patient-doctor study. One interesting note that she mentions in regards to voices is the fact that individuals who hear voices develop relationships with their counterparts and verbalize conversation as if it were a real person in front of them. Sometimes there is a change in identity. These are certainly not new analyses because I’m sure we’ve witnessed this type of behavior at some point, but I appreciate the way in which McCartthy puts it into perspective. What’s even more insightful is the fact that we can link majority of her points to the character of Wray’s Lowboy.

As a young paranoid schizophrenic, Lowboy believes that the world is in danger of climate change and he has the answer to cooling everything down (i.e loss of hope). The fact that his setting is in and out of the train stations sets the tone for the type of out-of-this-world behavior and the mind-blowing conversations that he has been himself and his alters Skull & Bones. What I thought was also interesting is the sense of  experiences with medication for both Lowboy and Heather (i.e maybe the sense of loss of homeostasis). On page 42, he says “The explanation was plausible and clean, an educated guess, the kind that they approved of at the school. A Clorazil-flavored answer, he said to himself. Clorazil with the Thorazine on top.” In fact the drugs become creative motifs throughout the story which was just brilliant. Also, the fact that Lowboy also speaks in code is great because it plays on the idea of his own identity as an individual even though he s considered unstable.

Without getting too detailed (because let’s face it both texts will allow you to do so) I will conclude with the fact that both McCarthy and Wray go hand-in-hand in observing the behaviors and identity of self when it comes to psychological disruptions.




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