I do love dissecting a good book, and even more so, it’s characters. Which is why this piece by the Wall Street Journal had me at hello. Turns out I’m not the only person who diagnoses fictional characters using the DSM-IV, the bible of psychiatric diagnosis (I also tend to do this to historical figures, just FYI). Turns out, this is a very good teaching tool for psychiatric residents, too. Various universities are now picking apart the neuroses and ticks of your favorite fictional characters. Turns out Twilight’s broody vamp Edward may have a serious case of arrested development, and your favorite Winnie the Pooh characters suffer from everything from generalized anxiety disorder to dysthymia.
I mean, what was up with that Don Quixote? Hearing voices? Believing he’s a knight? Fighting windmills he thinks are actually giants? Clearly delusional disorder, right? As a reader, I find this added layer in character dissection just an interesting topic for discussion. What about you? Any literary characters you would diagnose?