Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island Essay

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 patie…

…re a major side effect of a mental illness that severely affects individuals.Obviously, Lehane highlights three effects of a mental disorder that are the most harmful and long-term to an individual. Initially, difficulties with one’s mental state are related to sleep deprivation, for sleep requires an untroubled mind. In addition, responding to a situation violently is common in individuals with a mental illness. Above all, individuals with a mental disorder can experience flashbacks and distorted memories. People with a mental illness often go untreated, are misdiagnosed or feel self-conscious around their peers. However, the stigma today is less severe and individuals have greater access to social and medical programs that allow them to receive correct and necessary treatment.

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Works Cited

Lehane, Dennis. Shutter Island. New York: Harper Collins, 2003. Print.


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