By ELYSSA RENEE MADSEN
Mid-terms and semester projects have you feeling a little crazy? Looking for a means of escape, validation that you aren’t the only psychotic person on the planet?
Look to literature; it’s teeming with psychopaths. Problems with mid-terms and papers seem petty and insignificant when compared to the grand-scale craziness contained in the classics. So relax, wrap yourself in cellophane, stick Q-tips in all your facial orifices, and read stories about:
Crazy Parisians: The consummate deranged author, all of Edgar Allen Poe’s works deal with insanity, often in France. To express their craziness, Poe’s characters bury each other alive in random household areas: behind walls, under floorboards, in the wine cellar. As a manifestation of further psychosis, the deranged/buried characters often escape their household graves and walk around,moaning and looking scary.
Crazy Red-Heads: Set in a “mental recovery ward”, Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” will delight readers with its copious descriptions of shock-therapy and witty conversations between mental patients. Those considering shock therapy, take note. It may not be as fufilling as it sounds.
Crazy Spaniard Scholars: Readers should carefully observe Don Quixote’s digression from avid reader to societal threat in “Don Quixote,” by Miguel de Cervantez. In Quixote’s world, everyone is either a knight (himself), a maiden (all females), or an evil threat to the empire (goats, windmills, the butcher.) One should note that Quixote’s break from reality was a direct result of studying too much.
Crazy Wallpaper: Actually, the wallpaper isn’t crazy in Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” but the women who live inside the wallpaper are. So is the narrator, who de-wallpapers her entire house in an attempt to free the women she is sure are trapped inside. She also crawls around on all fours and gnaws on the bedpost. Men have often cited this story as proof they are not the only deranged gender.
Crazy Magazine Interns: Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel, “The Bell Jar,” lends all sorts of suggestions for going insane. The two most important aspects involve believing yourself continually covered by a metaphorical piece of glassware, and having an insatiable fixation with razors and bathtubs.
Crazy Medieval Kings/Nobility/Jugglers: Since all of William Shakespeare’s characters have at least some degree of psychosis, students can choose from any one of his plays. His tragedies paint the most compelling picture of mental illness: people talk to witches, dead relatives, themselves, and everybody dies.
Reading Shakespeare’s love sonnets can also drive the bitter and cynnical crazy.
If, after reading all the suggested literature, students still feel mentally competent, they should forgoe further reading in favor of watching the construction pit. Hours of mesmerizing pit-watching can drive anyone crazy, as can trying to manuever through the throngs of students surrounding the it.