Nguyen: Martian Time Slip

I thought I wasn’t going to like this novel only because I have never been interested in reading this genre. Overall, I thought it was an interesting take on mental illnesses. I wanted to try to look into Philip K. Dick’s background and how he got the idea. Philip started his teen years by developing two disorders: a serious swallowing disorder that would prevent him from being able to eat in public and a severe vertigo of feeling disconnected from the world. Later on Phillip became increasingly paranoid and kept fearing that he suffered from schizophrenia. This was around the time when he wrote Martian Time-Slip which helped express his concern for it. According to the Encyclopedia website, “Dick experienced a series of visions, dreams, and a hallucination involving a “pink light” beam transmitting information directly into his mind. He later used the shorthand “2-3-74” to describe this time period and spent the remainder of his life trying to decipher the meaning of these events” (Encyclopedia). I thought how he incorporated in autism was really interesting and it reminded me of most of the readings we’ve had in class and the Refrigerator Mom film. In Martian Time-Slip, there was a quote that said, “to have an autistic child was a special shame…” (Dick 37). This reminds me of the Refrigerator Moms video because Manfred’s mom was believed to not have given him enough attention and love that he needed so he naturally became autistic. I remembered in class we talked about because of this belief, most of the blame for this is are on the mothers which was what Steiner was doing. On the same page, Dick writes, “Steiner blamed it all on his wife; when Manfred was a baby, she never talked to him or shown him any affection. Having been trained as a chemist, she had an intellectual, matter-of-fact attitude, inappropriate for a mother” (Dick 37). So not only was it because of Bettleheim’s theory but also Steiner blames that it was because she was smart and had a high education which made her unfit to be a mother because she was challenging gender roles. A couple sentences after he has this feeling of regret of marrying this woman because of her high education and her “cold personality” towards her own son that it was the reason why Manfred became autistic. Given the time period when this was written (1964) there wasn’t much information about this disorder than from what Philip K Dick was working with except for what he probably heard from media and the resources that he had at the time. Later on in the book, he shows a different understanding in autism by having Arnie get frustrated by how Manfred has a lack of communication and he describes him as almost being machine-like. This shows a new understanding for Dick on autism that the disorder is not in anyway a relation to schizophrenia but more of a neurological disorder. Overall just a lot of connections with the readings and films that were presented in class.

“Martian Time-Slip.” Novels for Students. . Retrieved November 07, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/martian-time-slip

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