Before I was aware that I had schizophrenia, I was aware that some notable American playwrites used schizophrenics as characters in their plays. That was the teaching I received in high school. I also remember the unsatisfying high school experience of looking up schizophrenia in the dictionary and trying to make sense of the definition there.
I know that the playwrite F. Scott Fitzgerald was married to the lovely schizophrenic Zelda Fitzgerald. Therefore, I wanted to look at some of his work to see a creative writers insight into mental illness.
One notable piece of Fitzgerald’s writings is The Great Gatsby. Tonight I just watched the earlier version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. As an educated viewer looking for traces of schizophrenia, I was not disappointed!
I think the DVD comes from a play. Anyway, the author is F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I watched it looking for it’s intimate knowledge of schizophrenia. Which is to say, F. Scott Fitzgerald married the lovely Zelda Fitzgerald, a for-sure schizophrenic.
It’s a kewl plot, and the author assumes his characters, and by extension his audience, are well aware of mental illness and how devastating it might be.
Tender is the Night deals with mental illness in some form. F. Scott Fitzgerald wasn’t exactly a model of mental stability himself. He was a terrible drunk that went around insulting people when he’d had one too many. He died of alcoholism.
I didn’t like the books somehow. I did read Zelda’s biography and still think of her life and how it ended up wrong. Gertrude Stein went to visit her once and bought two of her paintings of flowers. She said they were pretty pictures.