March is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Geraldine Brooks that explores the life of Mr. March, the father of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved character Jo March in the classic novel Little Women. The novel follows Mr. March as he leaves his family to serve as a chaplain during the Civil War, exploring themes of love, loss, and the psychological toll of war.
From March, we can draw several valuable mental health lessons:
- The impact of trauma: The novel portrays the lasting impact of trauma on mental health, as Mr. March grapples with the emotional and psychological toll of his experiences during the Civil War.
- The effects of grief and loss: The novel explores the profound impact of grief and loss on mental health, as Mr. March struggles to cope with the death of soldiers under his care and the loss of his own identity and purpose.
- The importance of self-reflection: The novel underscores the importance of self-reflection in promoting mental health, as Mr. March engages in introspection and self-examination in order to better understand his own experiences and emotions.
- The role of relationships: The novel emphasizes the importance of relationships and social support in promoting mental health and wellbeing, as Mr. March relies on the support of his family and fellow soldiers to cope with his experiences.
- The dangers of repression: The novel portrays the dangers of repressing emotions and memories, highlighting the negative impact this can have on mental health and wellbeing.
- The power of storytelling: The novel touches on themes of storytelling and the role of narrative in shaping our experiences and perceptions, showing how telling one’s own story can be a therapeutic and healing act.
- Love and connection can help to alleviate feelings of isolation: Throughout the novel, Cal struggles with feelings of isolation and alienation. It is only through his connections with others, including his family and romantic partners, that he is able to find a sense of belonging.
- The importance of seeking help: The novel underscores the importance of seeking help when struggling with mental health issues, as Mr. March seeks the support of a therapist to help him navigate his experiences and emotions.