20 December 2011

Characters psychoanalyzed

Sometimes when I'm reading a book or watching a movie the characters grab me, grab me in a way that makes me want to do a little grabbing in return, in this case the psychoanalysis degree off my wall so I can go to town on them. I kid about the degree - I don't really have one :)

Nonetheless I'm clearly not the only one who sometimes wants to have fictional characters lie on the couch and let me dig into their brains, only sometimes the people who do really have those degrees. Not just psychology, but also medical.

Here's a fun spot of couch analysis on Darth Vader, Tintin, Squirrel Nutkin, and some of our other fictional friends.

Darth Vader

Diagnosis: Borderline personality disorder
Discussion: In a letter to Psychiatry Research, French psychiatrist Eric Bui argues that Anakin Skywalker's transformation into the Dark Lord of the Sith shows all the hallmarks of BPD, including lack of impulse control and abandonment issues.

Tiny Tim

Diagnosis: Distal renal tubular acidosis (Type I)
Discussion: D.W. Lewis writes in the American Journal of Diseases of Children that Dickens' young optimist suffered from a rare condition whose symptoms include stunted growth, weak muscles, paralysis, and possible kidney failure.


Diagnosis: Hormone deficiency, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, repeated head trauma
Discussion: The plucky boy reporter (above) displayed "no signs of pubertal development" due to a hormonal imbalance and 43 concussions sustained over his 60-year comic-book career, concludes professor Claude Cyr in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.


Diagnosis: Antisocial personality disorder
Discussion: Dr. Eric Altschuler writes in the Archives of General Psychiatry that the Old Testament strongman displayed many of the behavioral criteria for ASPD, including "fire setting, cruelty to small animals, bullying, initiating physical fights, using a weapon (jawbone of ass), and stealing from a victim."

Bartleby the Scrivener

Diagnosis: Asperger's syndrome
Discussion: Melville's "nonconforming, socially awkward character" likely had "a high-functioning form of autism," according to Dr. Ashley Kern Koegel in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

Squirrel Nutkin

Diagnosis: Tourette's syndrome
Discussion: In the British Medical Journal, Prof. Gareth Williams concludes that the Beatrix Potter rodent's erratic behavior and chattering ("Cuck-cuck-cuck-cur-r-r-cuck-k-k") spoke of "a deeper problem than simple naughtiness and benign adolescent tics."

Analysis from: motherjones.com

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