Madness: Unfettered Hope & Despair

It was difficult to sink into the story at first. But somewhere past the first fourth of the book, I was caught up. “Is a madman who knows he is mad really mad?”

Doriel, who remembers little of the Holocaust and the Resistance group his mother fought with, is filled with despair. A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel journeys through Doriel’s memories and thoughts as he and his psychoanalyst seek to find the root and cure for his despair. Each chapter is written from the perspective of Doriel or that of his psychoanalyst. Questions are raised during their time together and slowly, piece by piece, Doriel remembers and confronts his past. The final page of the book brings everything into perspective and, similarly to the end of Crime and Punishment, takes the main character from the depths of despair to the heights of hope and happiness.

Gatsby. I had heard mixed reviews of the film but as Kate and I watched it last night, the cinematography and story swept me in. The characters and plot I remembered from high school were brought to life on the screen. At the end of the movie, I had a strong desire to watch it again, the weight of the characters and the story’s meaning filling me.

Careless people. Each character desperate to escape their bored existence. The two characters hungrily reaching up from their meager beginnings are left empty handed and forgotten by the end. Nick Carraway is the perfect narrator for this story. He passively watches and responds to those around him. He cares deeply for Gatsby and his cousin and by the end we are just as haunted as he is about how it all turns out.

The symbolism of the green light, the eyes of God and the marriage kiss were masterfully woven into the screen play. The many lines quoted from the book and the use of text on the screen was masterful. Gatsby. A mad man? He had unfettered hope.

Two stories. One full of hope. One full of despondency. Two endings. The stories switched places. One ends in despair. One ends in hope.

Have you read or watched anything interesting lately?

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