We’re Interested in the Way Psychiatric Minds Work: What’s Your Take?

August 20, 2010
Natalie Timoshin

In reading fiction, we often find very interesting characters, which we suspect may have a psychiatric disorder-whether this is intentional on the part of the author, we’re not sure. As practicing psychiatrists, you are the experts on what ails some of these characters. So, tell us what your take is. If this were someone who came to see you, what would be your diagnosis?

In reading fiction, we often find very interesting characters, which we suspect may have a psychiatric disorder-whether this is intentional on the part of the author, we’re not sure. As practicing psychiatrists, you are the experts on what ails some of these characters. So, tell us what your take is. If this were someone who came to see you, what would be your diagnosis?

Since many of you were at the recent APA meeting in New Orleans, you may have decided to read A Confederacy of Dunces, or you may have read the book when it received the Pulitzer Prize, or even when it was first published, with critical acclaim. So we hope you’ll all be familiar with our first character.

There’s no doubt that all of the characters in this book are interesting, but the story’s protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly, may be the best to start with. We know he’s extremely lazy and a slob, and he’s disdainful of most things modern, but is he delusional, or worse? What is his problem? You tell us.

In the future, we’ll look at other fictional characters for your take on them. And, if you have a well-known fictional character that you’d like us to include, send us a brief description and the title of the book, and he or she may play the leading role in an upcoming installment.