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Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Describe the psychological state and behaviors presented in The Beast by Tracy Thompson, and/or The Snake Pit by Mary Jane Ward. How might a doctor describe these "symptoms" differently?

2. How does "mental illness" as portrayed in The Book of Margery Kempe compare with the portrayal found in "Thorazine Shuffle" by Allie Light?

3. Do you believe that mental illness affects the sufferer’s entire family? If so, how? How does the family’s reaction to mental illness in "Isolation" by Martha Ellen Hughes compare with that found in "A Better Place to Live" by Maud Casey?

4. Do you believe that societal pressures affect women’s mental health? Is some "mental illness" actually a manifestation of such pressures? Which selections support your position?

5. What constitutes recovery from mental illness? Is recovery portrayed in "Black Swans" by Lauren Slater? If so, how?

6. Have these writings changed your understanding of mental illness? If so, how?

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