A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

by

Sylvia Nasar

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Martha Nash Legg is John Nash’s young sister, born in 1930. Martha—described as “tall and striking” and “extremely intelligent”—attends the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and becomes a teacher. As Nash begins to experience symptoms of schizophrenia, Martha and Virginia, Nash’s mother, take over care of Nash, helping to coordinate various hospitalizations. Later, Nash moves to Roanoke, Virginia, where Martha and Virginia live. Nash’s erratic behavior takes a toll on Martha’s life; after Virginia’s death, Nash briefly lives with his sister, but she finds it hard to cope with him and arranges to have him committed to a hospital in Virginia. Nash, who fears hospitalizations, is furious, vowing to cut all ties with Martha. The two reconcile later in Nash’s life, during his remission from schizophrenia, though Martha acknowledges that Nash’s illness greatly affected her own well-being.
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Martha Nash Legg Character Timeline in A Beautiful Mind

The timeline below shows where the character Martha Nash Legg appears in A Beautiful Mind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 18 – Experiments
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
Nash is living in Santa Monica with his younger sister Martha; her college friend, Ruth Hincks, a journalism student at the University of North Carolina; and... (full context)
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Martha and Milnor do not connect romantically in Santa Monica, but Nash and Milnor collaborate on... (full context)
Chapter 22 – A Special Friendship
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
Later in his life, John Nash wrote in a letter to his sister Martha that only three individuals had ever brought him “any real happiness.” Before 1952, Nash had... (full context)
Chapter 40 – Tower of Silence
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
At the end of January 1961, Virginia Nash and Martha arrive in Princeton. They travel to the Trenton State Hospital, where Nash is confined. The... (full context)
Chapter 41 – An Interlude of Enforced Rationality
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
...but Nash insists that he isn’t ill and therefore doesn’t need hospitalization. As a result, Martha, Virginia, and Alicia decided that Nash would again have to be committed to a hospital... (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
...to continue child-support payments, which Virginia had been paying for Nash. Nash moves in with Martha and her husband, but Martha finds the arrangement too difficult; she arranges to have Nash... (full context)
Chapter 50 – Reawakening
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...an effort to reconnect with family, friends, and his community. He speaks with his sister Martha once a week, and he takes care of his son Johnny, who was hospitalized for... (full context)