The Snake Pit

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❴Read❵ ➫ The Snake Pit Author Mary Jane Ward –
  • Hardcover
  • 278 pages
  • The Snake Pit
  • Mary Jane Ward
  • English
  • 06 March 2018

10 thoughts on “The Snake Pit

  1. says:

    The Snake Pit begins like so many social comedies, with a woman called Virginia newly arrived in New York from the Midwest wondering about all the crazy city people around her We learn she is a journalist, that she is waiting for her husband who is unaccountably and irritatingly late, and that she is sharp and funny and accomplished though a little confused by her surroundings A few pages in we realize Virginia isn t sitting in a park in Manhattan She s a patient in an insane asylum.Ward makes craziness uncomfortably natural, as well as breathtakingly surreal real At several points in the book I convinced myself that Virginia was completely recovered, only for Ward to slap me with the realization that what I had taken for sanity was a deepening of her madness Ward recognizes the inherent craziness of sanity at one point Virginia knows she is getting better because she feels normally petty, selfish and secretive again At the same time, she depicts the nightmare whirl of madness as vividly as Antonia White did in Beyond the Glass Ward is also better than White on the humanity, good and bad, of the caregivers, and I loved the way that she left us with no pat solution to Virginia s collapse or to her recovery, but instead with clues, ideas, vague feelings and suspicions If that wasn t enough, this is also a very funny, witty and clever book It could almost be read as the satirical social comedy I thought it was when I picked it up.

  2. says:

    I am just me, Virginia Stuart Cunningham There is only one of me and it is having a hard enough time thinking for one, let alone splitting into two The Snake Pit was written in 1946 and details a journalists nervous breakdown into multiple personalities I ve seen the film which is quite depressing though Olivia D Havilland is fantastic, and I picked up the book at an antique store or somewhere Once I got through the first quarter of it the story picked up It s a well written, albeit depressing novel I like old books that make you think and realize what life used to be like, and this is certainly an example of what institutions were like in the past Thank goodness such things don t happen or to that extent in mental health facilities today Definitely thought provoking and recommended.

  3. says:

    I picked this up because I found out it was based on a hospital about 10 minutes away from where I live It s an interesting look at how mental illness was treated less than a century ago and a good reminder that though we ve come very far in many medical areas, mental illness is still not always well understood and remains a social stigma Also, let me just say that I m glad we no longer go with the idea of well, if this would make a sane person insane, then maybe it will make a insane person sane Really, who decided you could shock someone back into sanity by throwing them in a pit of snakes

  4. says:

    An important book, to be sure, but I m not so sure about the pacing and overall structure Maybe I m missing something.I love the film starring Olivia de Havilland though it made me cry and doubt my sanity.

  5. says:

    Don t let this author die Read.

  6. says:

    Rating 4.5 5The most impressive thing about this book in my opinion that I would like to point out is the writing style, and how original it is, and how well it matches with the subject matter of the story.To briefly describe it, this is a first book in which I have encountered all three points of view being used, all in a jumble, and yet quite effectively and understandably first person, as in a train of thought, second person, as though someone is describing your life to you, and third person, as a narrator telling the events of the story at hand Now, I have heard of extreme novels like James Joyce s Ulysses as employing such tactics, almost to a maddening degree, but as I have not yet been acquainted with the gentleman s work, I cannot judge anything in comparison to it Suffice to say, that for my first experience of a mixed person narration, I was quite impressed and able to follow along with the story quite well.Centering around Virginia, a patient at the mental hospital of Juniper Hill, the events are revealed through her perspective, or, at least, even the third person narration is limited to her point of view For the first forty pages or so, she doesn t even realize where she is or, as she admits, she has been creating an alternate reality for herself to escape what she knows to be the truth of her situation Virginia, like apparently most of the patients there, is not mentally ill with something like schizophrenia or dyslexia or anything like that all of the patients have just had nervous breakdowns , which they need time to help and cure Virginia is the hospital s own Lady Innocent, not knowing why precisely she is there, but admitting that there is something wrong with her, though she attributes it to forgetfulness.Indeed, as the reader goes through the story, sometimes at a slower pace than most readers have patience for, Virginia s forgetfulness becomes maddening for the reader as well as for Virginia, as it seems to hold up the story and take away from filling in blanks that we desperately want to be filled We want Virginia to get well, as she does indeed have a charming personality, but when seeing things from Virginia s limited perspective, this becomes rather difficult in seeing the end goal.Coming across a variety of characters, some crazy and others not, we experience Virginia s climb back to sanity at a slow pace, but understandably so My praises for this book consist mainly in the way in which is it was written, but also for the story The only reason that I ve taken away from giving it the full five stars is that it is slow at parts, and while I understand and appreciate this as being part of the story, as a reader, I myself personally found that I set it down than once after finishing every chapter With patience and interest though, this proves to be a rare and highly underrated treat.

  7. says:

    3.5 Very interesting, unique way of describing insanity You could actually feel how it would be to experience this Very sad.

  8. says:

    I read this book after I read an article stating that Sylvia Plath had read it and used it as inspiration for The Bell Jar I could see the similarities in the two books Overall I really enjoyed the book I had to search to find it as it appears that it is not published any What a shame The first chapter was difficult to read, but once you get into the book you understand the first chapter It was interesting to read about some of the therapies used such as the tubs and how crude ECT was at the time But one wonders whether treatment has improved much since them as we tend to use chemical lobotomies now I also found it interesting how overall her doctor s would not listen to her or see that she was struggling I think this book should be considered on the same level as The Bell Jar as for me Mary Jane Ward was able to capture the pain she was feeling, even if it was emotional pain For me, The Bell Jar lacked some of that aspect.

  9. says:

    What made me give this book 5 stars Honestly, I have a hard time describing why I give a books 4 instead of a 5 Usually my 4s are books I really really enjoyed, with well drawn characters and a writing style I like 5s tend to be the ones which really stick with me, in addition to the aforementioned book traits.This is a book which I have a hard time outlining, but also one which I remember putting down various times and thinking very hard about what was just written I ll definitely read it again It s unfortunate it seems to be difficult to get copiesI needed to get mine from a seller.

  10. says:

    I read this book as a young haunted me for a long time..later down the road in my thirties I re read itonce again it haunted menow in my sixties if something brings it to the forefront I think about for a few daysneedless to say this book made a real impression on me.not for good nor for bad Probably as a young teen I couldn t understand most of what I read but it left me scarred inside

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