Analysis Of Henry David Thoreau : Did He Have Asperger's Syndrome

Decent Essays

Kaitlin Murphy
Mrs. Crawford
American Literature I
13 October 2017
Henry David Thoreau: Did He Have Asperger’s Syndrome? Early Romantic author Henry David Thoreau is an immensely popular author for students, both high school and beyond, to study. His works, such as “Civil Disobedience” (1849), “Walden” (1854), and “Life without Principle” (1862) delve into subjects such as freedom, deliberate, and righteous living, which is what makes his works so popular. His elaborate writing style and sharp detail in his stories, though, make him seem pretentious to many readers. However, many scholars have come to debate: Was Thoreau pretentious, or did he have Asperger’s syndrome? Asperger’s syndrome is a condition that is on the autism spectrum. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) uses three standard criteria to specify the severity of the condition. In John M. Mahoney’s article, he says that “The core symptoms of the disorder fall into two broad clusters: Criterion A describes qualitative impairment in social interaction; Criterion B contains examples of restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities” (3). Within these clusters, there are multiple ‘classes’ of behavior under criterion A and B. Criterion A1 is described by having shortfalls in social-emotional exchanges. One of the most significant indicators for this criterion is the inability to make and sustain eye

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