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...