Tell Me Im Here Anne Deveson Essay - Essays Changed …
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is a passionate account. How could it be otherwise when minds, hearts and lives are breaking apart? It would be neither possible nor truthful to discuss it dispassionately here. We come to know Jonathan both through and beyond his illness. We also come to know Anne both through and beyond her powerful narration. She allows this, and it’s impossible not to feel awed by the courage it must have taken to record, recall, analyse and tell. Her detailed, riveting, quietly insistent picture of what life with and also alongside schizophrenia really adds up to explicitly defies the stereotyping, prejudice, ignorance and indifference so bleakly demonstrated by many professionals in this 1980s period. Her storytelling skills mean that we cannot turn away, and nor do we want to.
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Our effortless absorption into Jonathan’s story is in part because while Anne Deveson was, and is, an immensely accomplished researcher and writer, this private, highly professional woman also writes as and reveals herself to be a fiercely loyal, committed and sometimes conflicted mother. This offers a depth and honesty of insight that, as a writer and critic who is also a mother, I particularly value. Through the power of Anne’s maternal gaze, we never lose sight of Jonathan, the eldest of three children, as a complex, much-loved human being. We come to know him as a son, brother, friend. (His life as brother to Georgia and Joshua is especially poignant.) We see him as someone shaped by high intelligence, tenderness, playfulness and humour as well as by madness. When his psychosis is florid he is sometimes very frightening, and is himself often frightened. But Jonathan is always more than his illness. And, in the context of an inner tumult that in the worst phases strips sufferers of a familiarly coherent or predictable self, that is a remarkably moving achievement.