Intoxicated by My Illness and Other Writings on Life and Death Symbols & Objects

Anatole Broyard
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The Catheter

Symbolically, the catheter represents the beginning of what Broyard refers to as "the diminished self": his genitalia no longer function and he must rely on medical aids. It furthermore represents the impotence that comes with male aging and illness. When Anatole Broyard was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he had a catheter inserted into his urethra while the doctors ran tests. The catheter hurt and even caused him to go to the emergency room once, as a scab had formed around it.

The Transit of Venus

The Transit of Venus represents the importance of art and literature in the healing process and rebukes what Broyard sees as an overly rationalized approach to medicine. In "Part Two: Toward a Literature of Illness," Broyard describes his experience reading Shirley Hazzard's book, The Transit of Venus while in the hospital. This work allowed Broyard to transcend his circumstances by...

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This section contains 926 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Intoxicated by My Illness and Other Writings on Life and Death Study Guide
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