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Book Title: The Snake Pit|
The author of the book: Mary Jane Ward
Edition: Random House
Date of issue: 1946
Loaded: 1494 times
Reader ratings: 4.4
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 936 KB
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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.
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