To some extend, Lori's parents illustrate the different worldview of the 1970s, regarding mental illness. As manifest in the perspective of Lori's father, there was still a tendency to blame parents for 'creating' schizophrenia in their children: Lori's father blamed himself. And as is notable in the perspective of Lori's mother, the role of heredity in schizophrenia was not fully understood. Today, a family with a genetic legacy of schizophrenia might be more apt to be watchful of the possibility of an adolescent such as Lori developing symptoms.
Yet other facets of Lori's treatment indicate that some aspects of the mental health experience of schizophrenics have not altered. Drug treatment is often 'hit or miss' in terms of how it remedies the sufferer's condition. The drugs that control the disease are often emotionally flattening and cause severe weight gain and motor spasms that 'mark' the individual as 'different' just as much as the illness itself. At the end of the Quiet Room, Lori portrays herself as saved by a drug, not a psychiatrist: the clozapine's lack of severe side effects, in contrast to other drugs, set her free and allow her to eventually return to a normal life.
The Quiet Room is very unsentimental about madness. Lori's insanity takes her outside of her desired life trajectory: during the fullest flowering of her illness, she is unable to relate to others or to concentrate. Her attempts to return to school are a failure because of her clouded mind. She turns to cocaine as a source of self-medication. Her brothers, who used to admire her, fear they will become like her. However, the 'happy ending' of finding the right drug may itself seem too neat, to 'pat' to many readers, given that managing schizophrenia with medication remains a highly imperfect science -- and art -- and few drugs 'work' for a patient throughout the duration of his or her lifespan.
Schiller, Lori & Amanda Bennett. (1996).The Quiet Room. Grand…
Sources Used in Document:
Schiller, Lori & Amanda Bennett. (1996).The Quiet Room. Grand Central Publishing.