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light’. Her depression is said to have grown ‘as her goal drew nearer’, culminating in a sense of gladness as her eyes are covered with bandages. It was not a ‘brave new world she was encountering’, says the narrator, but a ‘cold, rather depressing world’ (Sava, 1987: 185-7). Similarly, in the late twentieth- century play Molly Sweeney, Mr Rice remembers the eponymous protagonist’s stay in a psychiatric hospital by saying, ‘I knew I had lost contact with her. She had moved away from us all. She wasn’t in her old blind world - she was exiled from that. And the sighted world, which she had never found hospitable, wasn’t available to her anymore’ (Friel, 1994: 59).

More than with depression, it is sometimes the case that literary depiction links visual restoration with suicide. In the novel La Symphonie Pastorale, for example, subsequent to the restoration of her sight, Gertrude stoops and disappears while crossing the garden bridge, and, though initially it seems that the suicide has been thwarted, dies after ‘a night of delirium and exhaustion’ (Gide, 1919/1963: 66-70). It might also be argued that a suicidal reaction to the restoration of sight is implicit at the end of The Well of the Saints, for Timmy refers to Martin and Mary by saying, ‘I’m thinking the two of them will be drowned together in a short while’, to which the saint says, ‘They have chosen their lot’ (Synge, 1905/1996: 105).

Corresponding with Plato’s Pharmakon, - which will ‘always be apprehended as both antidote and poison’ (Derrida, 1989: 235), the glorious, life-enhancing restoration of vision is evidently problematised in a number of twentieth-century literary works. Though apparently radical, a point to note about these depictions is that notwithstanding the syntagmatic variation in which sight, sightlessness and melancholia becomes sightlessness, sight and melancholia, Gide, Synge, Sava and Friel do not move beyond the paradigm of blindness from which sight, sightlessness and melancholia are all


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