View Full Version : Does Amory Blaine have Borderline Personality Disorder?

08-05-2013, 12:17 PM
Does anyone else think that Amory Blaine has borderline personality disorder? For those of you unfamilar with BPD, here is the diagnostic criteria (at least five must be met for a diagnosis):

1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

7. chronic feelings of emptiness

8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

I'll need to read the book again, as it has been a few years, but I recall that Amory's struggles with his identity were a key part of the novel. He also tended to idealize certain people, his emotions were unstable and he was particularily prone to depression, he was easily angered, possibly experienced feelings of emptiness, and he had an "episode" in which he believed "the devil" was following him.

Does anyone agree with this or have an alternative theory?

08-05-2013, 04:44 PM
I also read it a few years ago, so my memory may be shaky. I agree that he struggled to understand himself, but he was graduating from college. At this point in life, it seems normal to go through all the struggles that Amory went through. He was also somewhat unstable from the death of his mother and father and a lack of inheritance.

He may have met 5 of these criteria, but it may be due more to his environmental factors than a true mental illness. Another factor to consider is that the book was practically an autobiography of Fitzgerald. I know that Fitzgerald was not the most stable guy. So maybe you aren't too far off the mark. I don't diagnose emotional disturbances, but if I did I would probably be more conservative and say no.

10-02-2013, 09:36 PM
No, these kind of 'personality disorders' are gross simplifications and a very rarely true to life. To boil down the complexity of an individuals life, thought processes and consequent emotions to some collection of qualities arbitrary classified as a 'disorder' is to commit a gross reductionism.