Victory over the Dark Wood (William Styron).

Essay by tvento13University, Bachelor'sA+, August 2003

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Tiffany Vento

ENB 215 Paper #2

April 6th, 2003

Victory over the Dark Wood

William Styron's fall from grace is a captivating story of the horrors of living with unipolar disorder. After recognizing the symptoms of unipolar disorder, Styron takes us through a terrifying glimpse of his battle to overcome the dark wood.

According to Comer, Unipolar disorder is depression without a history of mania. A major depressive episode consists of many symptoms. The following are the most prominent in Styron's life:


Depressed mood most of the day, nearly everyday

A feeling of worthlessness/helplessness

Diminished ability to think clearly, indecisiveness

Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide attempt, or a specific plan of committing suicide

Styron gives us many examples and insights of the various symptoms that he faces. He speaks extensively about his bout with insomnia. While in Paris he realizes that his sleep disorder was disrupting his daily life.

"It had been my custom of a near lifetime, like that of vast numbers of people, to settle myself into a soothing nap in the late afternoon, but the disruption of normal sleep patterns is a notoriously devastating feature of depression; to the injurious sleeplessness with which I had been afflicted each night was added the insult of this afternoon insomnia, diminutive by comparison but all the more horrendous because it struck during the hours of the most intense misery."(Sytron, Pg.18)

Styron talks about how he had serenity in the mornings and throughout the day it seemed like the gloom would intensify. In the beginning he would nap during the late afternoon hours when his depression was at its height. As the disorder progressed he was unable to escape his scheduled naps due to insomnia.

It is very clear from the beginning of the book that Styron is...