Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island Essay

1199 words - 5 pages

Mental disorders can be accompanied by dangerous and harmful side effects. In Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island, there are many effects of a mental illness that are damaging to an individual. However, there are three effects that seem more harmful and long-term. First, many people who are sleep deprived tend to develop difficulties with their mental state. Furthermore, a mental illness can often cause an individual to respond to an emotional situation in a violent fashion. Most importantly, when one’s mental state is damaged, flashbacks and distorted memories are common.
Many people who suffer from psychological problems are often troubles with insomnia as a side effect because sleep requires an untroubled mind. Former United States Marshal, Teddy Daniels, believes he was assigned to find a missing person from a mysterious mental institution, Aschecliffe. Unfortunately, he suffers from a delusional disorder and is really a patient of the institution, known as Andrew Laeddis. He is considered a violent but intelligent patient who re-enacts a fake life that he has created for himself in which he believes that he is a detective trying to locate Andrew Laeddis, who supposedly murdered his wife. One night, as Teddy lies in the room with the other men he believes to be working with, he thinks to himself that “he couldn’t sleep. He listened to the men snore and huff and inhale and exhale, some with faint whistles and heard some talk in their sleep…Dolores. Everything he’d ever needed, and now it had a name” (Lehane 199&204). Although Teddy is not diagnosed with insomnia, he has some symptoms to suggest he struggles with a sleeping problem. The difficulty with insomnia is it cannot be cured with medication and requires effort from the patient. Teddy spends many nights laying awake thinking about his late wife, Dolores Chanel, and does not believe there to be an underlying problem to his sleepless nights. His delusions become worse as a result of not enough sleep and he begins to have trouble keeping his emotions and violence in check. He increasingly becomes more obsessed with trying to find Laeddis and becomes infuriated when questioned about it. In many patients with psychotic symptoms, insomnia is common for the mind must be untroubled to go into Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and patients, like Teddy, cannot calm their mind to sleep. This can cause long-term effects by the patient never developing a proper sleep pattern and having trouble concentrating. Evidently, a lack of sleep is not only a symptom of a mental illness, but it aids in the worsening of a condition.
Violent behavior has a greater tendency to appear in individuals who are suffering from psychotic symptoms that causes them to feel threatened or manipulated. Aschecliffe is separated into three different wards: Ward A for females, Ward B for males and Ward C for the dangerously insane. Teddy resides in Ward C because he cannot control his anger, and as a former marshal, he is skilled in...

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