Archive for psychology

Language within Relationships

Rawd Alach

Language within Relationships

Language plays a huge role in every society.

It defines personalities, shapes thoughts, and effects human relationships. In the play Translations, by Brian Friel, the Irish language is notionally represented by the English language. Although Irish is no longer spoken by the majority in Ireland, the language is very much alive in its sense of wonder, curiosity, and wittiness.

The Irish characters in the play are supposedly speaking Irish throughout most of scenes although on some instances Latin and Greek are used in script. Through the characters’ dialogue and actions, ordinary relationships, like the relationship between father and son, are exposed in their raw form and can be analyzed for the distinction they express due to the use of language.

One can say that all the characters starring in this play are important but for the purpose of this analysis of language and the gestures that accompany it, only certain characters will be focused on.

Manus is the first character introduced in the beginning of the play. Hence, due to his strong and reoccurring presence in the play it is essential to focus on several of his relationships with other prominent characters like Hugh, Maire, and Owen. On the other hand, Yolland brings great insight into the play because of his role as the English military man. His relationship with Maire is especially interesting because it illustrates how two people of different tongues can communicate. Doalty and Bridget bring to light the relationship of peers who communicate only in one language, their native tongue of Irish. Their relationship is that of lighthearted friends who through the notionally Irish language, make many a funny scene together.

All these characters contribute to the representation of the Irish language in this play. Through their conversation and written gestures they illuminate the implication of the function of language in their relationships.

Manus deals with all the prominent characters of this play. His relationship with Maire is that of girlfriend and boyfriend. But their words to each other are not soft like the words of two people deeply in love. Rather, they are short and impatient almost exuding frustration. Manus is tense in his dealings with Marie: for example after he hands Maire a bowl of milk he says, “I’m sorry I couldn’t get up last night.” These words are cautious and slow.

Upon reading one would imagine him saying them quietly as to not cause an explosion with loudness. To respond, Maire dismissingly says “doesn’t matter” (9). Their dialogue is always very brief, using short, fast phrases; as seen in perhaps the longest of their conversations when they discuss the future of the hedge-school (16).

With Manus, Maire always takes on an epigrammatic demeanor. This irritates Manus as shown Act One when he says to Maire, “What the hell are you so crabbed about?!” (10).

His arrangement and choice of words shows that he is “crabbed” as well. Maire and Manus do not exchange happy, charming words with one another like couples often do. Even when Manus had the good news of his new employment kind words were not passed between them. Also, Owen was the one who actually broke the good news to Maire, showing that Manus and Maire’s exchange of words lack real communication and connection (59).

In contrast to her tense relationship with Manus, Maire had a special bond with Yolland. They were able communicate despite their lack of a common language. Unlike her dialogue with Manus, Maire’s discourse with Yolland was done in a patient manner. Maire did not mind repeating what she said more than once. As in their conversation about the waving to each other across the fields (59) and about the dance (60); reiteration was the theme. Also, with Yolland, Maire is soft, gentle, and kind in her words. She compliments Yolland saying, “I love the sound of your speech” (63) and that he has “soft hands; a gentleman’s hands” (66). Maire even tries to speak in Latin to communicate with Yolland (63, 64). A sign that she is willing to leave a language she is comfortable with in order to strengthen her relationship with Yolland. But, through their use of several languages it is apparent that Maire and Yolland communicated more through intuition about language than through an actual verbal language. Maire also uses gestures to get Yolland to understand, such as when she picks up a handful of dirt and says, “Earth” (64). It took greater effort on Maire and Yolland’s part for them to communicate but they did despite their different native tongues.

As for dialogue and interaction between Manus and Hugh it is that of mutual understanding. Hugh enters the play and immediately hands his hat and coat to Manus “as if to a footman” (21). Manus and Hugh exchange no greeting words.

In fact, they exchange very few words throughout the whole play. Mostly, Hugh orders Manus around and Manus obliges. In that way their words to one another are very few in number but from these words a lot is understood. Manus is extremely loyal to Hugh and in return Hugh trusts and relies on Manus. Hugh’s reliance on Manus is apparent whenever he addresses Manus. He only ever talks to Manus when he is asking him for something, such as when he asks for “a bowl of tea…” (23) or “ …a slice of soda bread” (85). Hugh does not ask for anything from anyone, except Manus.

Being brothers, one would think that Manus and Owen have many things in common. In fact, throughout the majority of the play, they do not. Through language and gesture, they are shown as very different characters with many dissimilar traits. But their relationship evolves through development of the play. By their early verbal exchange it is apparent that Manus and Owen do not have high opinions of one another. The first thing Manus says to his brother is, “You’re welcome, Owen,” (27).

It is as if Manus is already sick of Owen even upon his arrival. The disapproval Manus has for Owen is apparent in their conversation with Manus scolding Owen for mistranslation. Manus exclaims: “You weren’t saying what Lancey was saying!” (36). In this conversation Manus’s words are questioning and critical, while Owen’s comebacks are slick and unconcerned, showing that the brothers’ relationship is not playful and lighthearted, rather it is critical and serious. Near the end of the play, their relationship is transformed when Manus decides to leave.

Their dialogue is no longer conveying disapproval of one another. It becomes that of two brothers who care about one another. Owen says, “You’re being damned stupid, Manus,” (69). This statement stands as advice and concern when coming from Owen, a worried brother. The last interactions between Manus and Owen convey the new status of their relationship, shown in large part by the language used by Manus. He talks the most in this interaction than he has throughout the whole play, using passionate, detailed statements, showing his newfound trust in Owen.

Exchanges between Doalty and Bridget bring comedic relief to the play.

They use witty statements appropriate for use among friends who are comfortable with one another. Bridget enters Act One saying Doalty is “full as a pig” (10). Banter between Bridget and Doalty comes in playful teasing phrases. Bridget jokes with Doalty saying, “you dirty brute” (12) and, “That’s the point, you donkey you,” (13). As only a friend can, Doalty asks Bridget, “Are you stupid?” (18) and, “Who told you that yarn?” (19). At one point Doalty reacts physically to their exchange grabbing Bridget around the waist (12). The pair is flamboyant with their language, interacting with humor and pleasantry. Their relationship with each other is like their relationship with the Irish language: quick and smart.

Language contributes to every relationship as seen in the play. Through choice of words, arrangement of words, and execution of words one can easily make certain judgments about the status of any relationship. Language is the gateway to communication in every country and with every people. Hence, it must be used wisely.

Work Cited
Friel, Brian. Translations. London: Faber, 2000.

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The Role of Gender in Depression

Rawd Alach

The Role of Gender in Depression

Brooke Shields, Jim Carrey, Princess Diana, and Van Gogh, all had something in common. Besides being famous, they all suffered from depression.

Depression affects 18.8 million people a year. A medical working definition states that “depression is a psychological disorder characterized by long bouts of severe mood disturbance or excessive elation” (Downing-Orr 26). Depression interferes with an individual’s ability to function. It disturbs both the mind and the body, sufferers’ thoughts change, their mood shifts, and even the way they feel about themselves distorts.

A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. People with depression with feel extremely unhappy in such a way that there is no comfort or relief available to alleviate their sadness. However, with the “blues” one can find happiness and pleasure through time, within periods and moments.

With depression, there is no happiness or relief from the extreme sadness (Downing-Orr 30). Symptoms include anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or pessimism; lose of interest in hobbies, decreased sex drive, and fatigue. Depressives often have trouble sleeping and they experience changes in their weight and appetite, either gaining or losing weight. If depression goes untreated, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years.

Doctor JM Ussher states, “Surveys, hospital admissions, and statistics…all concur: adult women report more mental health problems than men, and are more likely to be diagnosed and treated for madness” (Caplan 127). His assertion has been reinforced all over the globe. More and more studies, rates, and research show that depression is twice as likely to occur in women then in men. In children, depression occurs in mostly the same rate between genders until the age of twelve, and if anything boys show more depressive symptoms than girls at that age (Mazure 10). However after the age of twelve, depression becomes twice more prevalent in females than in males.

This two-to-one ratio exists regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status. The same ratio has been reported in eleven other countries all over the globe (Franklin). So why are women more susceptible to depression than men? What role does gender play in the onset and experience of depression? How does depression differ across gender? There are several components within the answer to these questions. The causes of depression, the way it appears, and the way it is dealt with all factor into why more women suffer from depressive disorders than men.

First, there are three primary types of depression: major depression, dysthymia, and manic depression (Behrman). Major depression is the most common type of depression (Blehar). It is more intense than dysthymia which is where sufferers walk around feeling simply sad.

They are not even aware of their disorder; they assume their state is a normal state of mind. The most powerful form of depression is manic depression, also called bipolar disorder. It is not as common as major depression or dysthymia but it is the most severe. A sufferer of manic depression experiences quick and sudden changes of intense mood, ranging from extreme sadness to euphoria. A greater number of women experience manic depression than men. Generally, they have more depressive episodes than manic ones. Differences in the type of depression more common among particular genders are generally due to the severity of the causes that induced the disorder.

The causes of depression in women are much more biologically intense than in men. There are always genetic factors involved which apply to both men and women, however biochemical bodily changes apply for women only. Each woman must go through processes which disrupt the secretion of hormones, chemicals which regulate mood (Downing-Orr 35). These processes include menstruation, childbirth, postpartum, menopause, etc. They also affect neurotransmitters, brain chemicals which help balance moods, to be deregulated (Belhar). Therefore, depression becomes a highly likely disorder after these aspects come into play. Obviously, many of the biological factors causing women’s depression are nonexistent for men simply because of gender.

A huge cause of depression in both men and women is the stress of social and gender roles. It appears that negative thinking patterns typically develop in childhood or adolescence (Mazure 12). Therefore research suggests that the traditional upbringing of girls might foster traits of negative thinking which help result in higher rates of depression for women. Females grow up with the pressures of self-image, self-esteem, and beauty being pushed upon them. Sometimes girls are told they are not good enough, not pretty enough, or simply not worth it. These issues contribute to their negative thinking patterns, causing pessimism which helps with the onset of depressive thoughts then depressive disorders. Therefore, after the age of twelve, after puberty, when gender roles become more defined, depression rates in women increase significantly.

Due to all the roles women must juggle and sort, many women often feel as though they have little control over life events. These feelings along with the traditional, stereotypical upbringings of women as limited to their sex role expectations increase the stressors which lead to depression. These stresses include major responsibilities at home and at work, parenthood, caring for children and aging parents. In many families, even though both the male and the female working, the woman often has the greater responsibility in the child care and in the household. Therefore, many women must juggle the roles of wife, mother and career women all at once. This often causes role conflict which increases any stressors that are already existent, helping with the onset of depression.

Men must also deal with their gender roles appropriately. Typically they have to be the provider for the family and the protector. Cultural factors and status factors state that they must always be strong. However, for men, the major cause of depression is work stress. A work stress study was done using the Job Strain Model which attempts to show that high job strain leads to mental health problems. This study did not plan to distinguish between men and women; however in analyzing the results, it was necessary to do so in order to accurately present the data, showing that the difference between depressive disorders in men and women is clear and crucial. Results showed that women tended to have higher job strain then men (Work). They were often placed in more active jobs with lower job control, causing a high amount of job strain which led to depressive disorders. As for men, their jobs had high job control and mostly low job strain. Men with high grade jobs and non-manual jobs had more job strain and more depressive systems then men in other types of jobs.

These results led to an important finding. Men deal with their depression differently then women. Men in non-manual jobs had more depressive disorders than men in manual jobs because men tend to actively deal with their depression. Therefore, with a manual job, a man can release his frustration and decrease his stress.

As mentioned, women’s depression rates become twice that of men’s after age of twelve, but also after that age, males began to show much more violent tendencies then before, showing that depression may often go undetected in males because of the way they deal with it. They are less likely to think about and mull over their depressed feelings, instead they outwardly channel their emotions.

Men often use drugs and alcohol to deal with their depression. Unlike women, they do not easily acknowledge or admit to their disorder. Instead they drink to get numb, exercise, watch TV, and engage in more violent activities (Davis). Women, on the other hand, want to think things over, talk, express their feelings, etc. Many depressives deal with their depression by attempting suicide.

Women attempt it more then men, but men succeed four times more then women (Caplan 27). Because of these differences in dealing methods, it is harder to detect depression in men than in women. Therefore one must ask the question: are women really more depressed than men or are the rates skewed just because it is harder to diagnose depression in men due to the way they deal with their symptoms?
It is clear that gender plays a significant role in the onset and experience of depression. Men have less physical and biological factors leading to depression which give them a higher tolerance to the disorder.

Their depression is mostly brought on by work stress while women’s is induced by biological factors and sex role intensities. Women tend to inwardly direct their depressive symptoms, while males tend to deal with the disorder outwardly and actively. Since, depression can be fatal it should be taken seriously and treated appropriately.

Even treating depression across genders differs. Some drugs have been found to work on women and not on men.

In a comparison anti-depressive agents of sertraline and imipramine, it was found that women responded to sertraline more then men and vice versa (Mazure 47). There are often sex-specific processes that affect the way treatments work.

Brain function or structure may relate to the different responses in men and women. Also, some medications are distributed and metabolized differently in men than in women. Many times hormone receptors interact with the drug-related receptors causing a variation in treatment success across genders.

Hence, in treating depression, gender must be taken into consideration.
The role that gender plays in depression cannot be ignored. Social factors, gender roles, and coping skills increase the divide between men and women in depression.

However, is the divide as deep as it appears? Depression is harder to detect in men because of the way men deal with their symptoms. Therefore, there should be a greater effort to find out how many men are really suffering from depression because for depression to be treated, it must first be detected.

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