Beautiful Mind

Beautiful Mind
Background and Activities
In 1947, John Nash (Russell Crowe) arrives at Princeton
University as a new graduate student. He is a recipient of the
prestigious Carnegie Prize for mathematics; although he was
promised a single room, his roommate Charles Herman (Paul
Bettany), a literature student, greets him as he moves in and soon
becomes his best friend. Nash also meets a group of other
promising math and science graduate students, including Martin
Hansen (Josh Lucas), with whom he strikes up an awkward
friendship. Nash admits to Charles that he is better with numbers
than he is with people.
The mathematics department chairman of Princeton informs
Nash, who has missed many of his classes, that he cannot begin
work until he finishes a thesis paper, prompting him to seek a truly
original idea for the paper. A woman at the bar is what ultimately
inspires his fruitful work in the concept of governing dynamics, a
theory in mathematical economics. After the conclusion of Nash's
studies as a student at Princeton, he accepts a prestigious
appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
along with his friends Sol and Bender.
John Nash: protagonist
Charles: literature-studying roommate
Hansen: nemesis and ify friend
Parcher: government worker
Alicia Nash: John’s wife
Marcee: Charles’s niece
Dr. Rosen: John’s psychiatrist
[Packet]“A Brilliant Madness”:
The Real Story
• Read each of the six following parts of the American Experience: A
Brilliant Madness website. Click on “People and Events” if you are
accessing it on your own ( Pace
yourself to spend about 10 minutes on each of the six parts of the
website (about 1 hr total)!
John Nash
Alicia Nash
John Nash and the Nobel Prize
Cold War Hysteria
Recovery from Schizophrenia
Mental Illness in the Film
• For each of the six parts, identify 3 differences between the movie
and the reality or 3 additional facts which don’t appear in the
[Packet] Nash Stories Analysis
• Based on your readings and your 18 facts from the previous
page, ponder the following questions:
Why did the film, A Beautiful Mind, alter some
facts about John Nash’s life and exclude (leave
out) others? Explain.
• What do the changes between A Beautiful Mind
and Nash’s real story indicate about our society’s
view of mental illness? Explain.
• Choose one of these questions and respond to it in a 2-3
paragraph essay. Cite at least 3 pieces of textual evidence and
explain them in order to prove your point.
• Estimated Time: 45 minutes
Peer Reading Activity
• Stay in your seat and switch essays with someone sitting near
• Underline the 3 pieces of evidence they presented.
• Double underline their three citations.
• Respond on their paper to their essay by writing a paragraph
about one or more of the following topics:
1. Do you agree with the author’s thesis statement?
Why or why not?
2. Add some of your own thoughts to the author’s
thoughts regarding this topic.
3. What does the evidence that the author cited signify
to you? Why?
--[Packet] Medical Model of Mental
• Read 561-562 and with the following question in mind: If
mental illness is not “sickness” of the mind, what can it be?
• Develop one alternative model. Explain it in a RACE
paragraph. (20 minutes)
• If any of your questions were answered from your “W” page,
write those answers on your “L” page.
“John Nash: A Nobel Prize Talking”
• This in an interview with John Nash. He will talk about his
assessment of A Beautiful Mind.
• Minute 22-27.37