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Language of a Broken Mind: Sarah Kane & 4.48 Psichosys

Language of a Broken Mind: Sarah Kane & 4.48 Psichosys

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Essay on "4.48 Psichosys"; Sara Kane's last play
by Gabriel Nicolás Larenas Rosa
Essay on "4.48 Psichosys"; Sara Kane's last play
by Gabriel Nicolás Larenas Rosa

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Gabriel Nicolás Larenas Rosa on Nov 26, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/09/2014

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LarenasLanguage of a Broken Mind: Suicidal Poetic Techniques and Dramatic Dialogue in
4.48 Psychosis
Gabriel Nicolás Larenas Rosa
1
This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary--Sylvia Plath in “The Moon and the Yew Tree”
 Psychosis 4.48
is a play of agony. A thread. The exhausting, ill-tempered world of suicide.
2
A play to think about killing yourself.
4.48 Psychosis
is a claustrophobic dark-room andit doesn’t allow anyone to go out until the curtains are opened. Curtains which might be as wellarm-flesh; the rope to the neck; breath to mouth.Kane masters her 
dramaturgia
by the use of poetic writing techniques. These are used toconstruct a very specific type of dramatic existentialist dialogue. Given that the critics argue that
4.48 Psychosis
is more of a poetic work than a theater play, the following paper will analyze
3
the juxtaposition of poetry and dramatic dialogue in this play, so as to understand it as a visual play.Its studies why the purpose of this dramatic-poetic writing is to achieve a dense psychological,suicidal, atmosphere. The main objective is to explore how
4.48 Psychosis
creates its owndramatic structure so as to create a psychological dialogue through its poetic means. It willconsider, so as to read its psychological meanings, how the play refers to
 psychosis
4
 
without
1
B.A on Literature and Aesthetics, from the Catholic University of Chile, and currently obtening a Master’sdegree inCultural Studies and Gender at the Arcis University of Chile.
2
To think of suicide is exhausting. As a formal process, it has the weight of a final action be remembered by.
3
(Note I wrte at the time I’m revising this paper) It has been over a year since I worked with Sarah Kane’s play. Thiswould not be a complete text without me giving any signs of how much this text demanded from me, and how muchI mentally suffered, even in joy, doing this. I wrote this paper as my final seminar to obtain my B.A in EnglishLiterature. I was 25 years old. I had previously suffered from depression myself; but at the time I had agreeddepression is immanent, some are more articulated than others, and it is not a direct interference with the moments of happyness. I decided to work with this play because of its seductive literary doom. Because it was explicit. Deathlyand unique. It did provoke me a breakdown, and that is something I would like people to pay attention on. Workingwith these kind of literary subjects, if you truly love writing, affects your daily life, affects your sleeping, it gets intoevery nerve. This is not a symptom that something is wrong. It is a good notice that you are becoming passionateabout your research object. Sadly, univesirties and institutions will not even care. Working with Kane and finishingthe paper is surviving Kane. Surviving on your own. Without the help of anybody.
4
Thinking basicly of psychosis as a psychiatric condition of those who loose contact with reality
1
 
Larenasspecifically articulating the pathology but played linguistically. It is done so as to create adialogue that recreates, in the receiver, a mental state of mind.It is agreeable that not all poetry openly declaimed has to be theatrical; as well as notclassic poetry must suit perfectly the written text. A theater play is an organic unit. There issomething beyond its forms that makes them work or not (as if it were that simple). Dialogues areessentials, since it is how the a play breathers out and stops being a form. In this case, the path is poetic, and what is beyond the strategy is to reach into the reader a psychological nerve that willconnect text and reader in the same theatrical room, the same fear of suicide.
4.48 Psychosis
is mainly written in blank verses. The text is visually constructed in unusualforms that will not usually be expected in a dialogue. Added to the overly charged semiotics, thereader is pushed into a strong, written poetic presence that changes the habitual structure of dramatic dialogue. However, it does not change its functions. Kane is not writing a collection of  poems, she is writing a dramatic piece. The voices undergo a poetic state of reasoning, but alwaysin interaction with a none-given receptor. She presents this distinction in contrast, as the playopens. The very first lines indicate the clear presence of dramatic dialogue,(
 A very long silence.)-
But you have friends
.(a long silence)
You have a lot of friends.What do you offer your friends to make them sosupportive? (205)Though it does not say
who
is addressing to
whom
(absence of the specific names of characters),the voices are clearly dialogical and not monological. The dialogue is marked by a hyphen. A2
 
Larenasvoice is addressing another with two statements, a question, and to someone else, not to itself.This is different from the type of dialogue that will follow,a consolidated consciousness resides in a darkened banquetinghall near the ceiling of a mind whose floor shifts as tenthousand cockroaches when a shaft of light enters as allthoughts unite in an instant of accord body no longer expellant as the cockroaches comprise a truthwhich no one ever utters. (205)This is an example of how Kane creates a change throughout a poetic dialogue. She installs theimagery of the subject: the mind, a dark room, fragile floor, invaded with cockroaches; insectsthat bring a message, a truth. These insects could represent in fact words; dark words whichinvade the mind, words that are not pronounced and that are trapped in the body (the truth that isnever uttered) which is a reading of psychosis from Lacan point of view, thinking that for Lacansymptoms are words that the body does not want to expel; words trapped in a body. This is whatthe text wants to portray. If the poetic function is recognized as being predominant in a specifictext, the text can become more cryptic, enigmatic, allowing the reader of the play to manage awider range of interpretations of any read information.If the reader is not able to be interactive with the voices (the non-titled characters) byvisually interpreting the fragments, the dialogue becomes automatically a monologue and it doesnot function. Therefore, Sarah Kane uses very particular words that cannot be easily avoided.Knowing that the crawling cockroaches will call the attention of the reader by physicallyresponding to it, she repeats it twice in the same sentence. She places it next to a word that doesnot have a visual equivalent:
mind 
, hence its visual interpretation must be done by the readers.By forcing them to execute this action, she creates a dialogue.3

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