Besides that effect, and despite the actual illness that it depicts, this memoir also gives a good picture of what it was (is) like to be a creative person, to create towards sanity, in a uncreative world. This quote breaks my heart with truth: "I gave little thought to the effect my experiments might have on the humans by whom I was surrounded, and, in the end, they won."
To the left is a map, a drawing made of the boundaries of Carrington's prison. It shows how hard she was trying to make a story out of the terrible things happening to her. It freaks me out with its details--the same reality as the clandestine cigarettes and paralyzing injections, but not the same at all.
How others view her sanity or insanity is totally informed by her femaleness, and this comes through in how she is treated and mistreated. Everybody just wants her to be quiet, maybe get better, maybe not. I wish I had some more quotes for this, but the library police were breathing down my neck... The second section of the memoir, all about the time shortly after the institution, is shocking in its clarity about the concessions one has to make for safety in wartime and how shitty it is to have a family that cares more about propriety than your health and happiness. There is much more to say about Notes from Down Below—it demands a reread some time when I can think about it more.