The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: By Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks wrote a collection of narratives titled, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, we see the suffering of those with neurological diseases, their attempts to cope with these diseases and the conclusions that Sacks makes on their conditions. Sacks is the physician in these narrative stories that tell about his studies of the person behind neurological deficits. Sacks’ interests are not only in the disease itself but also in the person. He writes these stories to teach the reader about the identity of the victims of neurological diseases. He describes the experience of the victim as he or she struggles to survive their disease. Oliver Sacks presents numerous stories where neurological disorders have completely impaired a person’s physical ability; the ability to remember, the ability to comprehend, the ability to speak and hear. These patients, despite their losses, never lost their spiritual ability. The ability to rejoice, to appear spiritually fulfilled, was never lost, just hidden. An example of this was seen in “The Lost Mariner”. Jimmie had suffered from amnesia and could not remember anything for more than two minutes, except things that were 30 years old. Jimmie had no continuity, no reality. He lived in the eighties, but his mind was in the thirties. Jimmie would erupt in panic attacks of confusion and disbelief, only to forget them a few minutes later. After frequent visits with Dr. Sacks, however, Jimmie began to find some continuity, some reality, in what Dr. Sacks referred to as “absoluteness of spiritual attention and act” , Jimmie’s spirit, regardless of the brain disorders, was never completely lost. The narrative “The Lost Mariner” proved to me that there really is a person beneath these neurological diseases. I had always believed that the disease almost became whom the person was and took over their life. In some cases that is true but this narrative made me realize that...
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