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Symbolism In Ann Beattie's Janus

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Bipolar disorder is “a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and/or behavior” (What 1). People think this disorder is a myth or a scam for people to get out of a sticky situation, however, due to the fact there are a multitude of tests to determine if someone has a bipolar disorder this assumption is false. There is a Roman God that represents this kind of two sided concept, this is the god of doors, gates, and places of passages known as Janus, like the story “Janus” by Ann Beattie (Janus 1). The short story gives perspective to a bowl that at first seems like nothing but another piece of furniture, when in fact it has much more importance to some individuals. When a person becomes obsessed…show more content…
The bowl sits on “Andrea’s coffee table at home”, indicating she wants it to be in her proximity wherever she is (Beattie 121). The husband doesn’t give the bowl the time of day other than to acknowledge how it was “pretty” and left it at that, not paying attention to his wife’s obsession with the bowl (Beattie 121). He represents the half that doesn't pay attention to the mynute changes, obsessions, etc. in his life and sees the big picture rather than small individual paint marks. The husband gets an advantage and disadvantage to having this idea of the world in his mind. On one hand, when he notices something majorly different, he is quick to adjust or dismiss the problem and make it work for him, which he does do at the end of the story. On the other hand, he is oblivious to small problems, like the slow growing obsession of his wife’s attachment to the bowl. With problems like these, he doesn’t do anything with them until it’s too late and becomes a huge problem, also like the bowl and the wife problem. The author creates a two-way thought process for the husband which has a disadvantage and an advantage to any given…show more content…
According to legend of the Roman God Janus, he represents the transition from “one condition to another”, hence why the story is titled “Janus” to represent how Andrea slowly transitions into a condition of obsession and BPD (Janus 3). The main character, Andrea, slowly goes from the obsession of her job to the obsession of a bowl that keeps her job afloat which brings the condition better known as BPD. The dream that Andrea has about the bowl gives shows the peak of her obsession and how it soon affects both her and her life around her. Andrea soon comes to the realization that the only thing in life that makes her happy is the bowl and she decides to get rid of everything else in her life, including the husband. Janus, being the God of beginnings and endings, shows how BPD can affect someone such as Andrea by completely changing her lifestyle to suit her and her
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