Histrionic Personality Disorder, Applied to Myrtle Wylson and Curley's Wife

Topics: Personality disorder, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Histrionic personality disorder Pages: 7 (1798 words) Published: December 4, 2014
Sruthi Boddapati
English II Honors
Mrs. O’Neill
13 June 2014
When Love Becomes Sin
“Love is blind, and lovers cannot see what petty follies they themselves commit” (Shakespeare). Even Shakespeare, having mastered the art of romance with classically timeless literature, claims that love is blind in that those that are in its grasp cannot see fault within each other. A simple concept, it can have two very distinct meanings, because love is also blinding and makes those previously mentioned, blinded souls, go to astounding lengths for one another. But, how far are they willing to go? Could it be infatuation? When does love, in fact, become sinful? All are questions that plague the minds of two very fragile women, characters of novels that are timeless depictions of romance themselves in their bitter-sweet ways. Myrtle Wilson of the novel, The Great Gatsby, and Curley’s Wife of the novel, Of Mice and Men, both exhibit symptoms and behaviors during the course of the stories, which classify them as having Histrionic personality disorder. To elaborate, the premise of diagnosing these characters as having Histrionic personality disorder requires a description of the ailment itself. It is a disease of the mind, in which the patients are emotionally volatile and overly dramatic in ways that draw attention to themselves (Blais, Ch. 39). The cause is still a mystery, and many experts in the field believe that the answer lies in genes and childhood events. And with no correlation to any of its symptoms or origin, the disorder is more frequently recognized and diagnosed in women, usually manifesting itself in the host by late teens to early twenties. Similar to all other personality disorders, this ailment can also be flatly undetectable to most and bordering all the characteristics of someone who is simply self-indulgent to an extreme extent. As stated in the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, “People with this disorder are usually able to function at a high level and can be successful socially and at work” (Blais, Ch.39). This makes it very difficult to distinguish, let alone, address. And so, with much inquiry and analysis, a running list of symptoms and distinct behaviors have been formed to assist in diagnosis and treatment. Healthcare Providers identify Histrionic personality disorder using the following psychological evaluations: acting or appearing seductive, being highly susceptible to influence from others, being overly concerned with one’s appearance, being dramatic or emotional, being overly sensitive to criticism or disapproval, believing that relationships are more intimate than they truly are, blaming their failure or discontent in their personal lives on others, having low tolerance or delayed satisfaction, exhibiting extreme self-centeredness, and being emotionally volatile (which gives the impression of being shallow to others). The diagnosis is based on behavior, personal history, overall appearance, and psychological evaluation. Without proper treatment, the disorder has the ability to upset a person’s relationships, both social and romantic (Blais, Ch.39). The person would have a rather difficult time confronting and coping with losses or failure, being unable to accept their own faults. Severe forms of the ailment can cause a person to change jobs often out of apathy and not being able to deal with the frustration that comes with a work environment. Patients yearn for excitement in the form of new and material things, which ultimately leads them into risky situations (Blias, Ch.39). And of all these outcomes, eventual depression is the most apparent and imminent, especially in Myrtle and Curley’s Wife. Often referred to as the “tart”, “purty” or just “trouble” in general, Curley’s Wife truly has no name in the novella, with significant meaning. She presents herself as an embodiment of lust, preying on the men of the ranch and dressing for the occasion. Very similar to Myrtle in this way, she appeals to the...

Cited: Steinbeck, J. (1994). Of mice and men. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin Books.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1st ed. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.
Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; (2008):ch. 39.
Kusuma, A. Analysis of “Materialistic Perception” in F. Scott Fitzgerald Using Marxist Literary Criticism, Analysis
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