Imagine you are a healthcare professional (doctor, nurse, psychologist, social worker, or another healthcare worker), and you have been appointed to explain the recently diagnosed psychological disorder of one of the main characters in the stories from our textbook, Mental Health in Literature, Literary Lunacy and Lucidity.
Select from the following list of stories and settle on a “patient” in the narrative (and his/her family, friends, and/or acquaintances) who need your expert opinion: Theodore Dreiser, “The Lost Phoebe” After analyzing the behavior of the narrator and the characters in your selected story, diagnosis their behaviors and interactions.
Then, write a two-three page essay, of at least 750 to 1000 words, with you, the author, (as the doctor, nurse, psychologist, social worker, and/or healthcare advocate) describing and diagnosing the mental and/or physical impairments of the character(s) in your story. Write what you would say to the family, if the main character had one, to explain the individual’s illness, focusing on his/her seemingly bizarre behaviors.
You will want to address such questions: What behaviors are troubling and/or self-destructive? Is medication an option? Is the s/he a danger to him/herself or to the family and friends? Will the patient be able to live by his/herself, at home, or in a group home and/or hospital? Will the patient ever get better? If the patient has children, how will the disease affect them? Is the disease genetically or behaviorally inheritable?
What is your prognosis for the character and his or her acquaintances and loved ones? Try to remain “in character” for the entire composition, playing the role of the healthcare professional who imaginatively enters the story to assess and even advocate for the characters in the literature. An exemplary essay will be evaluated strongly in terms of content, organization, style, grammar, and MLA format, sufficiently citing key passages, incidents, and descriptions from the literature in our textbook.