In Ron Howard's film "A Beautiful Mind," what techniques portray the struggles that John faces within his journey?

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

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I think that one of the strongest points in the depiction of mathematician John Nash was that it showed psychological illness, social context, and academic drives presenting themselves in opposition with one another and then converging with one another.  Nash's work is at a time when the fear of the Communists was unprecedented.  The use of mathematics and science in this pursuit helped to create the belief that "something was out there."  Combine this with Nash's own perception that there actually as "something out there," and the depiction of his schizophrenic condition is seen as both enhanced by the historical time period and even exacerbated by it.  For all practical purposes, Parcher is a real character.  John might have imagined him, but he is shown in a manner that is reflective of how government officials operated under the fear of Communism.  It is this paranoia that John exhibits in his own mind and the nation faces in its own consciousness that helps to bring out the struggle in both individual and the nation.  John might have suffered from schizophrenia, but the government and its leaders did a sufficient job of ensuring that every American needed to act as a "soldier," creating apparitions to ensure ascent and control were both present.  Yet, it is only when John is able to use logic and reasoning that both the threat of his own condition and the threat of the Communists begin to wane.  This is shown nicely in that John's brilliance at rational thought are the elements that both cause and ease his own condition.

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