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In the movie A Beautiful Mind, how does johns schizophrenia affect his relationship...

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spontaneousma... | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 20, 2009 at 10:12 AM via web

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In the movie A Beautiful Mind, how does johns schizophrenia affect his relationship with his wife before and after being diagnosed and treated?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 20, 2009 at 10:35 AM (Answer #1)

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John Nash's condition greatly impacts his wife on many levels.  The most evident is that it becomes a challenge to maintain a high level of care for someone who is in such dire need of care.  Alicia becomes the primary caretaker for John and their child, knowing that he is unable to help with simple tasks at home such as taking care of their child as well as earning a substantial income.  John's condition begins to drain on their marriage from an intimate standpoint, as well.  The feelings of love and devotion become supplanted with duty and responsibility.  This transforms their marriage.  On a more symbolic level, I think there is some level of challenge endured with John's condition and the determination of "what is or is not real."  John has an increasingly difficult challenge in distilling reality and this transmits to whether the love both Alicia and John share is real.  Since love itself can present itself to be illusory, then it stands to reason that a condition which masks reality could also serve to be a drain on any relationship and probably causes some level of festering in theirs.  Once John learns to "control" his episodes, we don't really get an indepth examination of their relationship.  We see improvement, but we don't really gain insight into why there is such change.  It is almost presumed that once Nash demonstrates control, his relationship with Alicia resumes its original infatuation.  He does credit Alicia with being critical in understanding his own "beautiful mind" through her "beautiful heart."  Yet, I don't think this adequately articulates the challenge of mental illness, especially one as painful as schizophrenia.

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