<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Genova (Lisa) - Still Alice (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20926.htm">Still Alice</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/G/Author_Genova (Lisa).htm">Genova (Lisa)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Genova (Lisa) - Still Alice</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=400><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20926.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><u>Notes</u><ol type="1"><li>I read this book after seeing the film. Having therefore invested quite a lot of time on the topic, I d better invest a bit more writing a file note before  like Alice herself  I forget all about it. </li><li>The book is well written and the topic interesting. There are some Discussion Questions at the end, together with an interview with Lisa Genova, which are helpful for reflection. </li><li>My interest in the book is from the angle of my research  that of Personal Identity. No doubt the book is trying to say that Alice  while increasingly demented  is  still Alice because there s enough <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_16.htm">psychological continuity</A><SUP>1</SUP> for her first-person perspective (<a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_22.htm">Click here for Note</A>)  even if attenuated  to be retained. </li><li>Obviously, Alice remains the same <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_12/Notes_1265.htm">human animal</A><SUP>2</SUP>  so (as the <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_24.htm">animalists</A><SUP>3</SUP>, including me, would say) she is  however far the metal deterioration goes   still Alice . Whether Genova would accept this is unclear, as the book ends  before the end , whatever that might be. </li><li>There are lots of interesting issues raised by the book to do with plot, characterisation, social import and the like that time forbids that I should comment on. </li><li>One issue was taking the experience personally. After all, I m nearly 62 and can only expect cognitive decline. One worrying aspect was how highly intelligent people have coping strategies that disguise the symptoms (at least to third parties) so the disease ultimately appears to arise and progress very rapidly when In fact it s been on-going for years. A passage in the book has a psychologist saying that while an ordinary person might have ten cognitive pathways supporting a particular function, a highly intelligent person might have 50  so complete decay takes longer, though the end result is the same. It is difficult not to take this to <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P20926_4">heart</A></U><SUB>4</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P20926_4"></A>. </li><li>The book is cleverly  and convincingly  written from Alice s perspective. But I thought that it implied that the central core of Alice remained, while various modules  in particular memory and recognition  started to malfunction. I m sure this is correct for the early stages  and even later on  like where she s informed that her mother and sister are dead (their death was around 30 years ago). She is still Alice, and reacts to this  news as anyone would. But the fact that this is news  and that the  checks and balances have gone  may ultimately mean that the most central aspects of Alice also go, so that she s no longer (psychologically) Alice  or indeed  anyone  even to herself. Ultimately she will lose the qualities of personhood altogether (one imagines - <a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_9.htm">Click here for Note</A>). </li><li>The question of suicide differs somewhat between the film and the book. In the film, Alice is caught in the act by the home help and drops the tablets in surprise. In the book, her husband asks her what she s doing  she s probably forgotten what she s looking for  and gives her her normal pills, and in the process she forgets all about it  or, maybe, thinks she s done what she was supposed to do in taking the pills; it s unclear but  <FONT COLOR = "800080">She lay down on the bed next to the former contents of the drawer and closed her eyes, feeling sad and proud, powerful and relieved as she waited. </FONT> But it s unclear whether she s waiting for death, or for her husband to return from a brief errand. Maybe it s supposed to be unclear. Anyway, a message implicit in the film and explicit in the book is that the suicide instructions need take into account the short term memory problems of the person whose time it is to follow them. Lisa Genova says she worried about including the suicide self-pact, and attempt. What decided her to cover the issue was that everyone she knew under the age of 65 diagnosed with Alzheimer s had considered suicide. </li><li>When asked about her choice of character  a 50-year-old Harvard psychology professor  Lisa Genova says lots of sensible things: to see the early stages of the disease, you need someone who s expected to  deliver cognitively, and who would notice and act on early symptoms rather than take them as a natural concomitant of old age. But we all know she s writing about someone who could be her future self (she was 37 when the book was published in 2007). </li></ol><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P20926_4"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P20926_4"><B>Footnote 4</B></A></U>: <ul type="disc"><li>And to perceive symptoms in oneself that may not be there. </li><li>Autobiographically, I do think my short term memory is nowhere near what it was, but I do remember that I intended to do things that I forgot at the time, which is taken to be a good sign. Also, my medium and long-term memory is fine  exceptional, even. </li><li>But I am adopting  coping strategies for short-term forgetfulness. That said, the forgetfulness is all  absent-minded professor stuff  routine things forgotten while I m thinking of something more interesting. </li></ul><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-02T09:28" pubdate>02/08/2018 09:28:27</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>