The Lost Mariner Character Analysis

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Korsakov’s Syndrome and Memory Loss
Losing one’s memory can be a mysterious affliction, and the causes can be quite complex. Severe memory loss is introduced in author Oliver Sacks’ collection of stories The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and lectures given by professor Jim Davies can help with understanding of some of the concepts introduced in the book. In chapter two, The Lost Mariner, the patient Jimmie is suffering from aspects of both retrograde and anterograde amnesia, which Davies explained as loss of memory of events or facts learned before an event (the event that caused the amnesia), and loss of ability to create new memories after the event, respectively. In more detail, and in relation to our book (here, the target example), retrograde amnesia would consist of any loss of memory that happened prior to an event, such as an injury or onset of disease in Jimmie’s case. Dr. Davies’ explanation of retrograde amnesia helps to understand Jimmie’s case, where in the year 1975 he is unable to recall any events after 1945. As well, the explanation of anterograde amnesia as including symptoms such as inability to form new memories, learn information or tasks, or to recall the recent past is useful when applied to Jimmie’s experience of not being able to recall events that happened even a few minutes prior. Jimmie’s suffering from both retro and anterograde amnesia, as explained by Sacks, results from Korsakov’s syndrome – a destruction of memory caused by alcoholic
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