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selected. Indeed, Gide and Synge make a further selection from that very same paradigm by including the act of suicide in their depictions of visual impairment. In other words, although it is not always apparent, these depictions relate to, and thus refer the reader to, those that define visual impairment as a socially acceptable reason for suicide.

Suicide and Visual Restoration

Again it is worth comparing fiction with facts, “the blind” with people who have impaired vision, for according to one study (Lester, 1971), a woman with a forty-five-year history of deteriorating vision is found to have dislocated lenses, but after having her vision partially restored by glasses becomes distraught and depressed. Another woman complains to her father that everything she sees causes her a disagreeable emotion, saying that she had been much more at ease in her blindness. The research also refers to a large proportion of senile patients who have undergone cataract operations and become psychiatrically disturbed. Moreover, according to a subsequent study (Lester, 1972), a man whose occipital lobe is injured in a car crash denies his visual impairment until it passes and then becomes severely depressed, as does a thirty- three-year-old man who has his sight restored after twenty- seven years of visual impairment.

As well as with depression, visual restoration has been linked with suicide, for, according to the first of these studies, a farmer jumps to his death four days after having cataracts removed, a couple of people attempt to take their lives after similarly successful surgery and a fifty-two-year-old man kills himself within a year of having his vision restored (Lester, 1971). The second study refers to a woman who becomes suicidal after the restoration of an appreciable amount of vision without which she has been since childhood, concluding that visual restoration constitutes the removal of a ‘crutch’, that


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