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Defied: The character makes a conscious decision to keep up personal appearances despite his depression.
Discussed: "What did you expect, to find me sprawled on the couch in despair, not having shaved or washed for weeks? We only went on two dates."
Conversed: "Is this the episode where he starts growing the beard?" "Nope, that was the one where he lost his parents."
Deconstructed: Growing a beard is part of the hero's collapse into outright catatonic stupor, leading to an extended narrative of the miserable life and eventual suicide of an undiagnosed sufferer of bipolar disorder.
Reconstructed: Growing out a beard is a deliberate reaction, a change of appearance that the hero chooses to signify his new mental state. He plans to shave it off if he's ready to feel good again.