What do you think?
Rate this book
56 pages, Paperback
First published March 15, 1882
Lunatics from all the neighboring towns and villages poured into the Casa Verde. There were the violent, the meek, the monomaniacs, indeed the entire family of all those strangers to reason. By the end of four months, the Casa Verde was a hive of activity.
The terror grew. No one knew any longer who was sane and who was mad. Whenever their husbands left the house, wives would light a candle to the Virgin Mary; and some husbands didn’t even have the courage to venture out without one or two thugs to protect them. Palpable terror reigned. Those who could, left the town. One such fugitive was captured a mere two hundred paces from the town.
Poor Mateus noticed only that he was an object of the curiosity or admiration of the most important figure in Itaguai. He intensified the nobility of his expression, the stateliness of his pose…Alas! He was merely helping to condemn himself. The next day he was admitted to the Green House.One by one, then in large groups, Bacamarte finds a reason (or, perhaps, a motive, as many of the townsfolk suggest) to place them in his asylum.
First, that he had checked the statistics and had found that four-fifths of the population of Itaguai was in the Green House; seconds, that this disproportionately large number of patients had led him to reexamine his fundamental theory of mental illness, a theory that classified as sick all people who were mentaly unbalanced; third, that as a consequence of this reexamination in the light of the statistics he had concluded not only that his theory was unsound but also that the exactly contrary doctrine was true—that is, that normality lay in a lack of equilibrium and that the abnormal, the really sick, were the well balanced.Not only does this passage reflect the intricate sentence structure that the author is able to seemingly effortlessly construct with such excellent flow and balance, but asks the question of ‘what is really normal?’ Perhaps normality is an unreachable ideal and we must take pride in our differences, our quirks, and our unique realms of perspectives on the world. However, there are those who are such outliers that attention truly is warranted. In the early days of psychology, discovering which people were the real outliers must have been an interesting process.
Till now, madness has been thought a small island in an ocean of sanity. I am beginning to suspect that it is not an island at all but a continent.Read and enjoy. Recommended.