A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

by

Sylvia Nasar

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A Beautiful Mind: Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Nash returns to Princeton, and Alicia finds a job near Princeton and rents an apartment for her, Nash, and John Charles to share. At first, Princeton offers a “respite” from the anxiety Alicia had faced in Paris, and the couple continue to socialize with Princeton mathematicians. Nash is hired on a one-year consulting contract for the university’s math department, on the condition that Nash is able to “pull out of his present mental depression.”
Nash and Alicia return to Princeton because it offers a supportive academic community for Nash, which Alicia believes will help him to recover. Although initially, Nash seems to get better in Princeton, this “recovery” is only short-lived; it will take Nash decades to pull himself out of psychosis.
Themes
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
After nearly two years of suffering, Nash has been “transformed” physically: he has grown his hair out and seems to be “clearly disturbed,” often walking into restaurants with bare feet and talking to animals on the Princeton campus. Eventually, the consulting job at Princeton falls through, since Nash refuses to fill out tax forms needed to secure his employment, claiming that he is a citizen of Liechtenstein and cannot be taxed. A psychiatrist advises Alicia to have Nash committed again.
Early efforts to help Nash recover from his mental illness are ultimately unsuccessful: after two years of “suffering,” Nash’s behavior has only become more shocking and stranger, demonstrating the severity of his illness.
Themes
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon