A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

by

Sylvia Nasar

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Eleanor Stier and John Nash meet in 1952 when Nash visits the Boston hospital where Stier is employed as a nurse to have some varicose veins removed. Eleanor is an “attractive, hardworking, tenderhearted woman” from a working-class background, five years older than Nash. She is attracted to Nash, a MIT professor from an upper-class background, despite their dissimilarities. After meeting again by chance, Stier and Nash begin dating. Eleanor later becomes pregnant, and although she hopes that Nash will decide to marry her, he chooses not to. Eleanor and Nash’s relationship grows troubled, and they fight frequently: Nash often belittles Eleanor for her lower-class status and lack of education, and he keeps their relationship a secret from his friends, family, and colleagues. John David Stier, their son, is born in June 1953. Nash refuses to pay child support, leading to the dissolution of his relationship with Eleanor, who reacts angrily by informing Nash’s parents—who didn’t know about their grandson—of Nash’s “secret.” As Nash begins to recover from schizophrenia in the 1980s and 1990s, he makes some conciliatory visits to Eleanor and John David, who live together in Boston, though Eleanor remains frustrated with his behavior as a father.

Eleanor Stier Quotes in A Beautiful Mind

The A Beautiful Mind quotes below are all either spoken by Eleanor Stier or refer to Eleanor Stier . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of A Beautiful Mind published in 1998.
Prologue Quotes

Underneath the brilliant surface of [Nash’s] life, all was chaos and contradiction: his involvements with other men; a secret mistress and a neglected illegitimate son; a deep ambivalence toward the wife who adored him, the university that nurtured him, even his country; and, increasingly, a haunting fear of failure. And the chaos eventually welled up, spilled over, and swept away the fragile edifice of his carefully constructed life.

Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

Nash displayed a rather curious inconsistency in his attitude and behavior toward his son. At the time of his birth, he had reacted in neither of the ways one might have expected of a young man confronted with the pregnancy of a woman with whom he has recently begun sleeping, eschewing both the high road that would have led to a shotgun wedding, as well as the more commonly elected low road of flat-out denying his paternity and simply vanishing from his girlfriend’s life. He doubtless behaved selfishly, even callously […] But…it is natural to conclude that Nash, like the rest of us, needed to love and be loved, and that a tiny, helpless infant, his son, drew him irresistibly.

Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
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Eleanor Stier Character Timeline in A Beautiful Mind

The timeline below shows where the character Eleanor Stier appears in A Beautiful Mind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23 - Eleanor
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
...night once to hear a sound coming from Nash’s room: a woman’s giggle. This is Eleanor Stier, Nash’s first female love interest. Nash meet Eleanor, a nurse, when he goes to... (full context)
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Eleanor is 29, an “attractive, hardworking, tenderhearted woman” who had a difficult childhood. She feels protective... (full context)
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
In November 1952, Eleanor realizes that she is pregnant. To her surprise, Nash is “pleased” and “proud” of having... (full context)
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Eleanor is devastated by the idea of giving up her child and begins to feel resentful... (full context)
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Eventually, Nash suggests to Eleanor that she put John David up for adoption, and their relationship falls apart shortly thereafter:... (full context)
Chapter 24 – Jack
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...could be “beautifully sweet one moment and very bitter the next.” Bricker is unaware of Eleanor’s existence until Nash lets him in on the “secret” in the spring of 1952. Bricker—who... (full context)
Chapter 25 – The Arrest
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
...Nash is fired, though he immediately denies being a homosexual—even pulling out an image of Eleanor and John David to show to the security officers who come to remove him from... (full context)
Chapter 27 – The Courtship
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
In February 1956, Alicia and Nash are in bed together at his apartment when Eleanor walks in unannounced: seeing Alicia there, she begins crying and screaming. Angry and despondent, Eleanor... (full context)
Chapter 28 – Seattle
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
That summer, Nash receives a call from his father, John Sr.: Eleanor had contacted Nash’s parents to tell them about their grandson. In July, Nash returns to... (full context)
Chapter 29 – Death and Marriage
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...work, which worries Nash: he believes that they might try to convince him to marry Eleanor. (full context)
Chapter 41 – An Interlude of Enforced Rationality
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
...with Alicia’s parents. Nash attempts to care for his son and makes some visits to Eleanor and John Stier. At last, Nash is able to work again, and he finishes a... (full context)
Chapter 43 – Solitude
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...he feels that he has forfeited his former status in the mathematical community. Nash visits Eleanor and John David every week, and though these visits are mostly pleasant, old tensions between... (full context)
Chapter 44 – A Man All Alone in a Strange World
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
...he would have become a shell of his former self. In 1969, Virginia Nash dies. Eleanor obtains a court order to force Nash to continue child-support payments, which Virginia had been... (full context)
Chapter 46 – A Quiet Life
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...comes to visit Nash in Princeton; the following year, Johnny goes to Boston to visit Eleanor and John David. John Stier and Nash do not see each other again for another... (full context)