In this chapter the selected text of Jojo Moyes’s Me before you has been analyzed by applying the theory Shneidmen’s Psychache theory focusing on the problems of the suicidal people. This theory focuses on the people who suffer from psychological pain. The purpose of this research is to highlight the mental pain of a disable person.
The novel Me before you is about the life of a disable person who wants to get rid of his life.
In this novel Moyes has discussed the suffering of a quadriplegic person. The protagonist of the novel Will belongs to a wealthy family. He was very adventurous. He was very social before his accident. His whole life changed after the accident. After his accident he became C65 quadriplegic. A quadriplegic person cannot use his four limbs. It is due to the injury or illness especially as a result of spinal cord injury. Shaap says that Me before you a problem novel, a story that lies itself so closely to a particular social problem in this case euthanasia, assisted suicide, mercy killing, call it what you want-that the immense question pervading the story takes over(pro Rege 32).
Shneidman theory of psychache is applied on this novel. This theory deals with the unbearable pain, despair, hopelessness, shame and depression. The selected text is going to analyze in the light of this theory. The theory deals with three things that are press, perturbation and psychache.
Psychache is the unbearable guilt, despair, hopelessness, shame, pain, depression, and press one feels when thinking about suicide.
Shneidman describes twenty reasons when people are suicidal. Most of them are not twenty but five or six as it pertains to the individual.
Autonomy is the state of independent and free. And Will lost that state after his accident. Will cannot live alone. His mother explains his condition to Lou:
My son-Will- was injured in a road accident almost two years ago. He requires twenty-four-hour care, the majority of which is provided by a trained nurse. I have recently returned towork, and the carer would be required to be here throughout the day to keep him company, help him with food and drink, generally provide an extra pair of hands,..(chp 2 Moyes 30).
He cannot move without help. So, he lost his sense of an independent person. He suffers frommental as well in mental pain. His mother says to Lou that: His life is. . . complicated, and it is very important that he is encouraged to. She further says that well, let’s just say that his mental welfare is as important to us as his physical welfare.(chp 2 Moyes 30).
He suffers from psychological pain and his mother explains these things to Lou his caretaker. Will is not the easiest person to be around to the moment, Miss Clark. This job is going to be mental attitude as much as any professional skills you might have. (chp 2 Moyes 31).
Will feels so much that he cannot do anything by himself. He said to Lou that: I don’t do anything, Miss Clark. I can’t do anything anymore. I sit. I just exist.(chp 3 Moyes 50). Lou describes the condition to treen that He is so miserable. He can’t move. Of course he’s miserable. ( chp 3 Moyes 52). Will traynor has decided to end his life because he is fed up of his dependence on others. He is unable to perform his own tasks. In the novel Louisa’s boyfriend , Patrick, imagines himself a quadriplegic and says:
I wouldn’t want to live. Relying on other people for every little thing. Having strangers wipe your arse – Will’s fate. Jesus think of all things you couldn’t do No more running, no more cycling, No more sex.(chp 4 Moyes 69).
He cannot change his position. He totally depends on others. When he wanted to change his position he request for help to Louisa:
I need to change position … lift and turn me, then raise the back of the bed.. put your arms under mine, link your hands behind my back and then pull back. He suffers so much pain physical as well in mental pain. Because he has no ability to change his position. He feels himself burden on others. He has totally depend on others. Before the accident he has a very luxurious life. He was living his life according to their own desire. But now his condition is so pitiable. He cannot even stand by himself. As his mother describes about his situation that:
There are two steps between the annexe and the main house, and without Nathan’s help he could not traverse them. ( chp 8 Moyes 140). His mother suffers a lot of pain when he thought about his son she says that: my son- my vital, charismatic, beautiful boy – was just this thing.
Immobile, wilted, bloodied, suffering. ( chp 8 Moyes 142). She knows that now his son totally depend on others. His life totally change after the accident. She becomes so much conscious about Will. Lou wanted to do something for Will. So , that he can change his decision of commiting suicide he planned different outing schedules. But Will’s mother said to his husband:
Will can’t do it by himself, Steven. There is an awful lot that needs to be considered when Will goes anywhere. It’s complicated. I don’t think we can really leave it to (chp 10 Moyes 167). When Lou starts some efforts to bring meaning in Will’s life she thinks that : I could summon up for a man whose powerless arms and legs meant he could no longer make them happen by himself (chp 10 Moyes 177).
Will enjoys his life before accident but now he confined himself in a room. He doesnot want to go anywhere because he has no ability to do anything. Lou arranges for Will to visit outside but there also he feels so much about his dependence on others. There his caretaker Nathan helps him in removing coat. Nathan was helping remove Will’s coat.(chp 11 Moyes 189). And these things stress him. Will let out an audible sigh. He looked about as fed up as I had ever seen.. Will closed his eyes his jaws..( chp 11 Moyes 194). Outing makes him more sad due to the reactions of the people. They feel pity for them because he do nothing. He needs a caretaker all the time.
Will asked Lou for help. He needs full care and all the time. Because he has no power to do his own tasks. He oftens needs help.Put some music on for me, Clark (chp 12 Moyes 204). When he goes outside a woman said that: the disabled entrance is over there Lou thinks about it.
She thinks about Will because woman said these words after seeing Will. She feels for Will and thinks that as he were of different species. (chp 12 Moyes 206). Hands, feet and our parts of body are the blessings of God. We cannot do anything without it. Again and again Will has to suffer because he has lost his precious gift. He again and again need help.
“do you need anything ?. I whispered. No, he shook his head. He swallowed. Actually, Yes. Something’s digging into my collar a nylon tag had left inside. I pulled at it, hoping to snap it, but proved it stubbornly resistant. new shirt. Is it really troubling you?.( chp 12 Moyes 211).
He always need his caretaker for help. It gives him so much pain to live like that. He doesn’t want to live his life like that. He doesn’t want to depend on others all the time. He wants to end his life because he had a beautiful life before the life. And he becomes totally paralyzed. Lou helps Will in every task : Sandwich please, Clark. And more pickle on the next bit. ( chp13 Moyes 224). His caretaker Nathan helps him in many ways. Will haven’t capacity to exercise.
Nathan completes his tasks: Nathan was doing Will’s physio, gently moving his knees up and down towards his chest, While Will lay on the blanket, his face turned to the sun..Nathan released Will’s leg. He pulled Will’s arm straight and began massaging it from the wrist up. ( chp 15 Moyes 260-261).
Narrator Lou explains all these situations. Nathan helps Will. Will wanted to commit suicide so Lou tries to change his mind. She start searching the ways how she changes his mind. She starts research on laptop. She finds a website where she finds help. She messages there. She tells the about the situation. A disabled man shows his dependence on others and how he feels:
I have been stuck in his chair eight years now, and my life is a constant round of humiliations and frustrations. Can you really put yourself in his shoes? Do you know how it feels to not even be able to empty your bowls without help? To know that forever after you are going to stuck in your bedunable to eat, dress, communicate with the outside world without someone to help you. everything else, is out of control- who feeds us, dresses us, washes us, dictates our medication. Living with that knowledge is very hard. (chp 15 Moyes 270).
He describes the condition of Will. He can explain it because he himself faces that situation. His condition is pitiable. He feels that he has lost his independence power. Lou decides everything for Will. When he needs something he asks Lou for favours: “hey, Clark, do me a favour” – he said, just as I was about to pull away. reach into the backpack for me. The zipped pocket. ( chp 15 Moyes 278). Without the help of Nathan lou also faces problems in helping Will. Nathan explains this situation that: it had taken Louisa almost half of an hour just to get him out of his chair and into bed ( chp 19 Moyes 355).
If Nathan becomes late Will’s father see if he needs some help. His father Steven thinks about will and narrates that: I walked into the annexe on Saturday morning still in my pyjamas to see if Will needed any help as Nathan was delayed .( chp 21 Moyes 381). Everyone knows that he always need help due to disability. Depend on others is the worst thing. Lou decides a trip for Will so that he changes his mind. During trip he needs help in every enjoyment. And he is bound to take help from others. There Nadil and Nathan help Will as describes that: he and Nathan would ease Will into the warm water of the smaller pool, Nathan holding him under his head so that he could float. ( chp 23 Moyes 412). Will needs help all the time even in enjoyment. He has to depend on others forever. So that’s why he wanted to commit suicide. He wanted to get rid from all these disabilities.
Shame avoidance is also the reason behind suicide. Shneidman explains it to avoid humiliation and embarrassment. This is very pitiable condition for Will. He cannot eat by himself: He could move his hands a little, but not his arm, so he had to be fed forkful by forkful. This was the worst part of the day; it seemed wrong, somehow, spoon-feeding a grown man, and my embarrassment made me clumsy and awkward. Will hated it so much he wouldn’t even meet my eye while I was doing it. (chp 4 Moyes 55).
He feels embarrassment that he cannot even eat by himself. When Nathan explains the things to Lou she feels that : Will wasn’t really watching me not just because he would have made some sharp comment, but because I felt that me witnessing some part of this intimate routine would in some way have embarrassed him too. (chp 6 Moyes 101).
He cannot enjoy the outdoor activities due to disability. Will confined himself to his room after the accident. He doesnot visit anyone of his family members or friends. Will feels uncomfortable in the public place due to the reaction of the people. He feels shame in public places. When Lou decides some outing for Will it also becomes an embarrassment for Will. the wheel sank several inches into the mud. Will said nothing. He looked uncomfortable, and had been silent for much of the half-hour drive. We tilted Will backwards. I took one handle and Nathan took the other and we dragged the chair towards the path.(chp 11 Moyes 183). Will’s wheelchair stuck in the mud. He feels so much worse. He said nothing but his expressions show. He never goes outside places after the accident to these reasons. That’s why he confines himself in his room. And Lou tries to visit him outside. But he becomes more upset. He again feels about his disability. Will’s blanket had half slipped off him and had somehow got caught up in his wheels, leaving one corner torn and muddy. the disabled entrance is over there.( chp 11 moyes 183-184).
Will’s blanket becomes muddy but he doesn’t behave rudely. But he feels embarrassment. When a woman describes that disabled entrance is over there its very embarrassing for a disabled man. He, again and again, realizes that he is disabled. And his every task done by Lou and Nathan is also embarrassing for him at public places. Lou narrator describes that: I wheeled Will out to a sheltered area just to the side of the main stand. While Nathan sorted out Will’s drink. (chp 11 Moyes 184).
Will hates spoon-fed in front of the strangers. He rejects the idea of eating outside and says that: strangely , I am not overly fond of being spoon-fed in front of strangers ( chp 11 Moyes 188). People feel pity for him. And will hates this act of people. Lou wants to eat in a restaurant. But premier badge is important for eating in that restaurant. They have not that badge. Will feels embarrassment because everyone sees him Nathan said to Louisa that: Louisa, I think Will really wants to go home. Then the narrator Lou explains the situation: we were now the focus of the whole restaurant. The gaze of the diners swept over us and travelled pass me to Will, where they clouded with faint pity or distaste. I felt that for him. (chp 11 Moyes 192).
Lou wanted to do something for Will to change his mind. But now he feels more embarrassing.He needs help all the time. So he feels embarrassment in front of society. When Will needs help in eating Lou helps him.