Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘“The intruder”

Are we intruders? A new description of Alzheimer disease

The book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt contains 8 novellas; they are excellent. I will focus on “The intruder”. 

This novella was a practical eye opener for understanding what Alzheimer disease means.  Recent memory goes first and retrograde to when you were born.  Odile sees her face in the mirror and thinks that an old woman intruder is harassing her and switching and moving around her belongings.  She calls the police and finds no intruder. 

Odile confuses her son for her husband; she thinks that her son’s wife is her long dead husband’s mistress.  Odile is rewriting the introduction of her thesis that she published so many years ago.  Her son, wife, and two grandsons are relieved as Odile returns to the period before her wedding. Soon her son will cuddle his old mother as a newborn lady.

What is that? We are as old as our memory permits it, and as young as it fails? It is a shame that people with Alzheimer cannot write their diaries; we would have great recalling of early childhood emotions and feelings. 

I propose that professional psychologists should study these patients and record what they say as they retrograde in their memory.  We could have excellent descriptions of how children feel and react to adults’ behavior.

Eventually, we die alone: People around us are intruders.  An old dying person saying: “I think I don’t know anything (of life and the universe)” could be related to our dwindling memory capacity:  We can remember what a child knew. 

The worst part is that the rich varieties of colors and sounds that babies are endowed to see and hear, and that grown ups censure at an early stage in order to survive, are lacking to die in wonder and amazement..

Note: You may read the review of another novella in the French book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt : https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/it-is-a-beautiful-rainy-day/

It is a beautiful rainy day; (July 9, 2009)

The book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt contains 8 novellas; they are excellent but I will focus on two of them. 

“It is a beautiful rainy day” is a great novella for character description. Helene is the type of women used to appreciate symmetry in people and in nature.  She dwells on the details of imperfections, such as changing her dresses when noticing any tiny spot, permanently tidying her room, feeling horrified in any asynchronisation in group dancing, and offbeat notes in musical tunes.  She used to cry when receiving returned books with pages marked on the corners.  Most of her potential friends lost her confidence because of imperfect details that did not match her subjective perfection. 

In adolescence Helene realized that nature is as bad as men:  One of her tits was slightly different in form; one of her feet was slightly longer than the other.  Even her height was shocking: it stabilized at 171 cm instead of 170 or 175.

            Helene accumulated many boyfriends; the relationships never lasted more than a couple of days because she seeks idealistic perfection:  She focused on imperfections and she could easily differentiate asymmetric aspects. The two required necessary exigencies, of idealism and lucidity in men, could never be assemble in any one individual.

            By the age of 30, Helene was a cynical and disillusioned woman.  Intelligence in others did not impress her: she mastered several language and she was a lawyer.  Her body was attractive and agile. 

Antoine, a lawyer, fell in love with Helene.  Helene permitted this plain-looking Antoine to press on his initiatives, simply because he was a foot taller than her.  Helene tolerated Antoine for longer than she had the habit of retaining lovers: Antoine was an “agreeable” fellow, though he was a fake slim guy when undressed; he prolonged foreplay so that he won’t have to repeat intercourse; his foreign languages were poor and he was pretty naive.  Helene kept silent as Antoine expressed the intention of including her in his future plans.

            Antoine took Helene to the North Sea instead of the sunny Mediterranean Sea she was used to spend her vacations.  On the first morning, a thunderstorm broke out and it poured rain. Helene was terribly upset.  Antoine retorted: “This is a beautiful rainy day” and explained how they would enjoy this day with new shades of colors that the sky, trees, and nature would take; how they would dry their clothes by the fireplace while taking hot teas; how they will had the opportunity to make love several times, to have lengthy conversation. 

Antoine’s happiness sounded abstract to Helene but she decided to go along.  Optimist Antoine saw the lovely and charming aspects in the streets, the stores, the waitresses, and the food.  Helene was disgusted with everything and could not agree with Antoine happiness.  Helene confined that she never looked at the seas or the waves but was content of enjoying the sun.  Antoine was amused with Helene’s negative comments thinking that she was being purposely funny and ironic and he laughed a lot that day.

            They finally got married. Helene had a boy and a girl but she knew that nothing inside her has changed; she was basically the same Helene with one alteration: Helene refrained from expressing her opinions and learned to keep silent. 

“Agreeable” and happy Antoine allowed Helene to see opposite perspectives and a comfortable joyful family life.  Antoine had to die.  Helene walled her life and then decided to travel the globe; she could not enjoy traveling as Antoine did.  (There is an ending but I prefer the reader to invent an ending and then compare it with the original)

The other novella that I like to review is “The intruder”.  This novella was a practical eye opener for understanding what Alzheimer disease means.  Recent memory goes first and retrograde to when you were born.  Odile sees her face in the mirror and thinks that an old woman intruder is harassing her and switching and moving around her belongings.  She calls the police and finds no intruder. 

Odile confuses her son for her husband; she thinks that her son’s wife is her long dead husband’s mistress.  Odile is rewriting the introduction of her thesis that she published so many years ago.  Her son, wife, and two grandsons are relieved as Odile returns to the period before her wedding. Soon her son will cuddle his old mother as a newborn lady.

            (What is that? We are as old as our memory permits it, and as young as it fails! It is a shame that people with Alzheimer cannot write their diaries; we would have great recalling of early childhood emotions and feelings.  I propose that professional psychologists should study these patients and record what they say as they retrograde in their memory.  We could have excellent descriptions of how children feels and react to adults’ behavior)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2020
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