In Amy Bloom’s short story, “Silver Water”, Violet, the youngest daughter describes the effects that the mental illness of her older sister Rose has on her and her family. She recalls the struggles with finding a suitable therapists, hospitals, as well as the rollercoaster ordeal of coming to some sort of wellness in her sister, only to have her slip back into debilitating mental illness. (74). In order to bring the reader closer to the experience of mental illness, Amy Bloom uses a first person narrative to show us the pain of having a loved one with mental illness.
Using the voice of Violet, the reader sees how mental illness changes her big sister Rose, and the effect on the family. Being two years younger, Violet idolized Rose,” my beautiful defender, my guide to Tampax, and my mother’s moods.” (72)In this statement, Bloom illustrates how much admiration the narrator has for her big sister.
Rose was blond and beautiful with a voice that could make “Jesus come off the cross and clap (73). Here again, Bloom uses beautiful symbolism and imagery to describe Violet’s reverence for Rose. At the age of 15, mental illness sets upon Rose, and she spends the next ten years in many different hospitals, with many different therapists. The best being Dr. Thorne, who refers to Violet as, “No One’s Nut, which summed up both my sanity and loneliness’ (74). Here we get a glimpse into how Violet feels on the inside.
Rose’s mental health improved under Dr. Thorne and she even joined a black church choir.Although she’d have her episodes here and there, she had people who would help her steer the ship back right. After Dr. Thorne died, Rose stopped taking her meds and was kicked out of her halfway house.