Often, a psychoanalytic criticism of a piece of literature will consist of the author of the piece showing how the literature, or rather the characters therein, fit into Freud’s theory of personality. The theory of id, ego, and superego are an interesting, even if outdated, theory to read about. In the book Mockingbird, however, the main character is really someone special, unique. Caitlin, is a fifth grade girl that has Asperger Syndrome. It would be a great injustice to the story not to discuss some of the struggles that Caitlin faces as part of her Asperger’s. Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of Autism. As defined by the Mayo Clinic, “Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others.” (Staff, “Diseases and Conditions: Asperger’s Syndrome”). Caitlin is no exception to this definition. Throughout the story she faces difficulties with sensitivity to the senses, eye contact, and anxiety.
The first issue Caitlin experiences as part of her Asperger’s, is sensitivity to the senses. Children on the autism scale often have hypersensitivity to one, a few, or all of the five senses. In an article on the Autism.org website, it is suggested that sensitivity to sound “is the most commonly recognized form of sensory impairment.” (unknown, “Living with Autism”). Caitlin clearly has issues with sensitivity to sound. In the story she says, “I don’t like very outgoing. Or efFUSive. Or EXtroverted. Or greGARious. Or any of those words that mean their loudness fills up my ears and hurts.” (Erskine 44). Caitlin is expressing that she dislikes loud things and loud people. Another sense that Caitlin struggles with is the sense of touch. She clearly states in the story, “I don’t like anyone to touch me” (Erskine 9). While this is not typical of most children, Caitlin is showing a typical personality of someone with Asperger’s; sensory input