What's Normal? Narratives of Mental and Emotional Disorders

By Carol Donley; Sheryl Buckley | Go to book overview

Night March

TIM O'BRIEN

THE PLATOON of thirty-two soldiers moved slowly in the dark, single file, not talking. One by one, like sheep in a dream, they passed through the hedgerow, crossed quietly over a meadow and came down to the paddy. There they stopped. Lieutenant Sidney Martin knelt down, motioning with his hand, and one by one the others squatted or knelt or sat in the shadows. For a long time they did not move. Except for the sounds of their breathing, and, once, a soft fluid trickle as one of them urinated, the thirty-two men were silent: some of them excited by the adventure, some afraid, some exhausted by the long march, some of them looking forward to reaching the sea where they would be safe. There was no talking now. No more jokes. At the rear of the column, Private First Class Paul Berlin lay quietly with his forehead resting on the black plastic stock of his rifle. His eyes were closed. He was pretending that he was not in the war. Pretending he had not watched Billy Boy Watkins die of fright on the field of battle. He was pretending he was a boy again, camping with his father in the midnight summer along the Des Moines River. "Be calm," his father said. "Ignore the bad stuff, look for the good." In the dark, eyes closed, he pretended. He pretended that when he opened his eyes his father would be there by the campfire and, father and son, they would begin to talk softly about whatever came to mind, minor things, trivial things, and then roll into their sleeping bags. And later, he pretended, it would be morning and there would not be a war.

In the morning, when they reached the sea, it would be better. He would bathe in the sea. He would shave. Clean his nails, work out the scum. In the morning he would wash himself and brush his teeth. He would forget the first day, and the second day would not be so bad. He would learn.

There was a sound beside him, a movement, then, "Hey," then louder, "Hey!"

He opened his eyes.

"Hey, we're movin'. Get up."

"Okay."

"You sleeping?"

-241-

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What's Normal? Narratives of Mental and Emotional Disorders
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Literature and Medicine ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Editors'' Commentary on Narrative xiii
  • Part One - Clinical & Bioethical Perspectives 1
  • The Meaning of Normal 7
  • From Madness, Heresy, and the Rumor of Angels- The Revolt against the Mental Health System 17
  • From the Flamingo''s Smile- Reflections in Natural History 30
  • From Rewriting the Soul 39
  • From "On Being Sane in Insane Places" 54
  • From Love''s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy 61
  • Three Stories from Cases in Bioethics 68
  • Part Two - Narrative Perspectives 85
  • Section One - Children & Adolescents with Mental Disorders 93
  • Silent Snow, Secret Snow 95
  • The End of the Party 110
  • From Girl, Interrupted 117
  • From Equus 125
  • Section Two - Mental Disability (Retardation) 135
  • Two Stick Drawings 137
  • From Joe Egg 139
  • The Life You Save May Be Your Own 146
  • From of Mice and Men 156
  • Average Waves in Unprotected Waters 165
  • Lily Daw and the Three Ladies 173
  • Section Three - Women''s Experiences with Mental Disorders 183
  • Three Poems 185
  • From like Water for Chocolate 187
  • From Faces in the Water 189
  • The Yellow Wallpaper 201
  • The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window 215
  • The Avalanche 218
  • "No Name Woman," from the Woman Warrior 219
  • Three Poems 229
  • Section Four - Mens Experiences with War Trauma, Including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 233
  • "1919" from Sula 235
  • Night March 241
  • Mental Cases 249
  • From Ceremony 250
  • From Mrs. Dalloway 257
  • Section Five - Men … Mental Disorders 269
  • Panic 271
  • King of the Bingo Game 273
  • "Cash" from as I Lay Dying 281
  • Gogol''s Wife 285
  • The Tell-Taie Heart 295
  • From the Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge 299
  • Section Six - Alzheimer''s & Dementia 301
  • To You My Mother Lost in Time 303
  • From My Journey into Alzheimer''s Disease 305
  • From in a Tangled Wood- An Alzheimer''s Journey 325
  • Two Poems 340
  • A Wonderland Party 343
  • Notes on Contributors 345
  • Permissions Acknowledgments 350
  • Index 354
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