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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

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Essay title: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Written By: Dr. Oliver Sacks

Although the title suggests a comical book, Oliver Sacks presents an entirely different look on the mentally challenged/disturbed. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is a book that explains why a patient shows signs of losses, excesses, transports, and simplicity. Coincidentally, the book opens with its titling story, letting the reader explore the mind of an accomplish doctor who seems to have lost his true sight on life. In the following context, the seriousness of the stories and their interpretative breakdowns should only cause a better understanding of how the ever-so-questionable human mind truly works from a professional perspective put into simple words.

The story of “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” is quite an interesting story that opens the reader of the book into a world of confusion: Dr. P.’s world. The man, described in the story, is an accomplished doctor, in fact a teacher at an accomplished music school who seems to be fine on the outside, but with further analyses in Dr. Sacks’ office, he mistakes his foot for his shoe. This is an astonishing mistake that intrigues the doctor and the reader to know why he mistakes objects for other objects. He then later, as he and his wife are preparing to leave; Dr. P. grabs his wife’s head and tries to pull it off as if it were his hat. Later, Dr. Sacks pays a visit to the couple at their home to try and further understand the situation. Dr. Sacks questions him with cartoons, with people on the television, and even resorting to the pictures on his very walls. Dr. P. only recognizes a few faces out of the faces that hang on his very walls. This is quite shocking to the doctor; Mrs. P. then calls them for coffee and cakes.

Strangely enough, Dr. P. goes through the entire process with a rhythm, grabbing a plate, picking up cakes, waiting for coffee, and eating, all while humming a simple tune. Suddenly, the knock on the door stops the doctor in mid bite. He dazes out as if he can’t remember what he was doing or where he is. The pouring of coffee from his wife triggers his mind back into action, and he proceeds as if nothing happened. The final analysis is that Dr. P.’s life has revolved around music for so long, that it must continue through song. Although is mind is still in contact, his inner-sight is distorted. The rhythm of life is a powerful beat that keeps the simplest of problems hidden.

Comically enough, the book is broken down into four parts, the first being of losses (such as described above) and the second being of its opposite: excesses. This brings over to cleverly title story of “Cupid’s Disease.” A woman of ninety, Natasha K., comes to Dr. Sacks with an interesting problem. Soon after her eighty-eighth birthday she felt a change. She soon felt more alive and active than she had in the past twenty years. Soon her friends began to notice the change; the once shy, quite, and calm Natasha, was now a flirtatious, out-going, thrill seeker. The sudden change in her actions and feelings brings her from cloud nine and back into reality of concern, “Why the sudden euphoria?”

She claims she is physically ill, something wrong in her brain; Natasha blames it on Cupid’s Disease. Dr. Sacks is taken aback by her words; ‘”Cupid’s Disease?”’ Natasha then states that around seventy years ago she caught syphilis (Cupid’s Disease) Her husband had her treated and taken care of, but could it have caught up with her by this point in time? She later got tested for it and the results were positive, but she didn’t want it to be taken care of. Natasha liked her new self, but she also didn’t want it to get any worse; she wanted it on hold. Thus brings it to the exceeding point in question. Can too much of a good thing become a bad thing? In relation to this scenario, yes; she could possibly die from this disease that she wanted to keep on hold because she enjoyed the side effects. At Natasha’s age though, she was prepared to die, although her goal was to live to see a hundred. As her parting words to Dr. Sacks she said “Funny thing. You’ve got to give it to Cupid.”

As comical as the last two stories have appeared to be this one deals with murder, ironically enough it is title “Murder” as well. This third part of the book deals with transports, reminiscence, altered perception, imagination and/or dreams. Donald killed a girl while using PCP. He could never recall what he had done, even under hypnosis nor sodium amytal, therefore during his trial it was stated that he suffered from an organic amnesia. He was sent to a mental facility, never understanding why he was there or for what he did. He thrashed and kicked at the guards, who had thought he was an insane killer. He later lost all his passion for

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